Holy heck. Day Light Saving is messing with me big time. I am essentially a walking-talking mombie this week, going through the motions and being minimally productive at home, at work, and every where in between. Don't mind me wearing my pajamas to school drop off and pick up--I couldn't be bothered to shower/dress/brush my hair. Never mind the fact that we're eating spaghetti every night for dinner, I didn't make it to the store and could not muster the energy to order groceries online. Don't judge me if this post laden with spelling and grammatical errors, it's not my fault. I'm just super tired.
I blame Day Light Saving, but I also fault some poor recent decisions, insomnia-driven patterns, and a teething almost one year old. While there are plenty of factors I can't control, like the twice annual changing of the clocks, there are others steps I can proactively take to get more (and better quality) sleep.
It's Really a Matter of Habit
You know how we make a big thing of getting our little ones off to dream land at the same time each night? "Bed time, 7:30 p.m. sharp, Mister." Well, it turns out this level of discipline would be beneficial for resistant grown-ups, as well. Getting our bodies to used to a rhythm reverberates with lots of benefits beyond basic shut-eye from an improved mood to a decrease in risk to getting Type 2 diabetes. And while it's hard to adjust your schedule at first, it basically boils down to establishing a routine. Just like our kids eventually stop fighting the bath to book to bed regimen, adults learn to like a regularly scheduled bedtime as well.
Sleep Time > Me Time
I used to grapple weighing the pros and cons of more sleep verses more "me time." I wanted to stay up late to watch television, deep scrub the house, catch up on work. I didn't want to sacrifice a precious hour or two of decompressing. It's hard to decide: do you want to stay up late to be productive on your own or do you want to get more sleep so you'll hopefully be more productive the next day? Ultimately, I've come to the decision that while we can't have it all (don't I know it!), me-time and sleep time don't have to be mutually exclusive. While I have to be more creative about carving out me time during the day, I can also be more purposeful with the limited time that allows me. What's more: sleep time is me time. It's the most fundamental form of self care.
Prioritize Quality Couple Time
If you're part of a couple, then you might want to spend some time together after the kids go to sleep. Instead of staying up to watch movies and drink wine together, try going to bed an hour earlier at the same time. There's something so nice about climbing into a big freshly made bed as a team, peeling down the sheets and removing the throw pillows. You might even find an earlier mutual bedtime might afford you the opportunity to be intimate, whether that means quality cuddle time--or more.
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So, how can you go about getting to bed earlier? Get over the mental barrier and then take a few simple actions. It's really pretty simple.
1. Set a bed time. If you need to transition slowly, then bump it back by 15 minutes each night until you get to your desired time.
2. Start a routine. Have a cup of decaffeinated tea, put on actual pajamas, take a bath, do some meditative breathing--any of these ritualistic activities can help set the sleepy tone.
3. Avoid caffeine after noon and exercise in the morning--so you're not amped up when you're settling in for the night.
4. There's an app for that! Listen to a relaxing grownup bed time story, practice guided meditation, or just breathe.
5. Set an alarm so that you can get used to, not only, going to sleep at the same time, but also waking up at the same time each day.
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