Picture the scene. It's 2 am, you're lying awake, and despite your best efforts to send yourself into LaLa Land (the sleep state, not the musical), you just can't get to sleep. You're not alone, of course. Many people suffer from the same problem, and while there are often reasons why people struggle to sleep at night – stress, outside noises, a too-active mind – sometimes, we only have ourselves to blame.
- We eat and drink too much before going to bed
Before going to bed, we need to go easy on food and drink. If we indulge too heavily, not only will we be up and down like a yo-yo going to the bathroom during the night, but we might also suffer from heartburn and uncomfortable feelings of fullness as the food we ate rests on our stomach. Caffeinated drinks are a real problem too, as they can energize our minds; not helpful, when we are supposed to be winding down for the night. Be mindful of what you eat and drink then, and cut out heavy and caffeinated items in favor of the food and drink examples here; https://www.sleepfoundation.org/articles/food-and-drink-promote-good-nights-sleep. Hopefully, you will then drift off to sleep sooner rather than later.
- We engage in screen time before hitting the pillow
Sleep experts suggest we curb screen time at least an hour before bedtime. This includes avoiding our phone, television, and computer screens. This is for two reasons. Firstly, the bright light of our screens can disrupt the sleep hormone melatonin, which is essential for maintaining and regulating our sleep-wake cycle, and secondly, the activity we see or read on screen can over-stimulate our minds. Turn your screens off then ahead of time, but if you do use your laptop or tablet at bedtime, perhaps to read an eBook or something, activate night mode on your computer to benefit your chances of going to sleep. You can find the option on your device settings page, though there are detailed instructions for Mac users, https://setapp.com/how-to/use-night-shift-for-mac.
- We let our kids into bed with us
As any parent knows, it's not easy getting kids into bed. And even when they are, they don't stay there for long. Those words “Mommy/daddy, can I sleep next to you” are familiar ones, and while we shouldn't give in to our kids and let them snuggle up next to us, many of us do. Not only have they woken us up to get into bed with us, but they will probably disrupt our sleep pattern for the rest of the night, as they toss and turn and steal our blankets. To improve your night's sleep, you need to put your foot down and say ‘no' to your kids. If you don't do it early enough, your children's nighttime intrusion into your bedroom will become a habit, and that will have longer-term consequences for your sleep pattern. Check out one of our previous articles on the matter, https://whatutalkingboutwillis.com/3-tips-getting-kids-sleep-night-room/, and make changes now if this point applies to you.
Have you related to any of the above? If so, and especially if you struggle to sleep of a night time, you only have yourself to blame. Follow our suggestions then, and hopefully, your night's of lying awake long into the early hours will become a thing of the past.
Wife, mother, grandma, blogger, all wrapped into one person, although it does not define her these are roles that are important to her. From empty nesters to living with our oldest and 2 grandchildren while our house is rebuilt after a house fire in 10/2018 my life is something new each day.