My husband and I did our usual morning greetings this morning, but the conversation was a little different than usual.
Him: “Morning. How are you?”
I was tempted to come back with a smart-aleck reply, but I remembered that I woke up exhausted Sunday morning too. And not because I partied hard at the Garth Brooks concert. (I was there with you in spirit, Garth.) It was because I have a bad habit of staying up late even though my wake-up time doesn’t change. And 5:30 a.m. isn’t a pretty hour when you stay up late the night before.
I’m not one of those people who can get by on five hours of sleep. A sleepy Ashley is a dangerous Ashley, because I:
- want to buy things i don’t need
- eat things that aren’t great for me
- get irritated by little things
- have zero comprehension (not good for Sunday morning sermons)
I’ve learned that in order to function at my best, I have to make sleep a priority. Here are a few ways I’ve found to get more and better sleep:
- Prepare for sleep.
Start winding down early. If you’re anything like me, you can’t go from tackling work projects and house chores to immediately falling sleep. I always read before bed to relax my mind so I can sleep. Which means if I want to read for 30 minutes before going to sleep, I need to be in bed with my book at 9 p.m.
- Cool down.
The National Sleep Foundation says the ideal temperature for optimal sleep is between 60-67 degrees. I completely agree. We use ceiling fans about 9 months out of the year, and I usually sleep in summer pajamas, even in winter.
- Find the right pillow.
I could write a whole post on pillow shopping. The short version is to find the right pillow for the way you sleep– back, side or stomach. I advise buying pillows in person at a brick and mortar store, so you avoid the hassle and shipping expense of returning a pillow you don’t like. And my personal favorite pillow is my knee pillow that goes under my knees and keeps my back pressed into the bed.
- Buy a sound machine.
My toddler loves her sound machine and my parents even have a backup in case theirs breaks, so I’d say it’s a must for all ages. It blocks out ticking clocks, outside noises and the voices in your head. Ha!
- End your day on a good note.
Some Harvard studies have shown that what you think about right before you fall asleep can affect your dreams. (And if you’ve ever dreamed your husband cheated on you, you know your dreams can affect your attitude the following day. Ha!) This is a great reason to end your day by journaling a couple of things you are thankful for and praying before going to bed.
- Turn off electronics 1-2 hours before bed.
We’ve all likely heard this one. Blue light emitted from digital screens (TVs, computers, laptops, smart phones, tablets, etc.) and fluorescent and LED lighting boost alertness, which is the opposite of what you need at bedtime.
- Block the light.
Buy blackout curtains or a sleep mask to block any light coming in. And if your alarm clock display bothers you, cover it with a scarf or move it somewhere you can’t see it when lying down.
What about you all? Anyone else deal get slangry (sleepy + angry)? I’m a big believer in the 20 minute nap when needed. Set a timer for 30 minutes and have 10 minutes to fall asleep.