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February 3, 2017

How To Start Getting More Sleep At Night

 Health

When you have a two year old and run a business, getting a good night’s rest seems like a unicorn.

I reeeeeeeeally like sleep. More than the normal person. And if I’m being honest, I wear that trait like a badge of honor. The cool of the pillow. My trusty fetal position under the covers that ensures I fall asleep. It’s all fantastic if you ask me.

But after having a baby, my back hasn’t been the same it once was and my mattress to pillow height ratio determined how good my sleep was. (Not even really sure if it was childbirth or getting older that has my back acting up when I try to sleep. I blame both.)

When Sleep Number sent me their it bed, I was excited to give it a try. The mattress is so fantastic – it perfect molds to my body, giving my back the break it desperately needed. Plus they have an app that tracks how much sleep and the quality of sleep you’re getting everyday. Instead of saying “I want to get a good night’s rest,” the Sleep IQ app shows what’s working and what’s not. The end of the year was a stressful and hectic one with a loss in the family a couple of weeks ago. Needless to say, a good night’s rest not only was necessity at this point, but a much needed luxury.

While I’m not one to experience insomnia regularly, high stress plus the relaunch of my business has certainly kept me up some nights I really needed the sleep a few weeks ago. However, I noticed that when I did certain things, I always not only fell asleep when I went to bed but also got some high quality zzz’s.

GO TO BED EARLY
This seems like a no brainer, but a lot of us are not using our brains when it comes to this rule. Buckling down and disciplining myself to go to bed by a certain time has given me the best sleep ever. Adulting is hard enough – why do it on minimal sleep? Because I’m an early riser nowadays (5a is my preferred wake up time), making sure I’m in the bed by 10:30p the latest is a must. Like, seriously. It’s not optional.

I shut down the computer, TV and whatever else can be a distraction to me getting quality sleep. Thank goodness for DVR, Netflix and the convenience of technology. Whatever I’m “missing” after 10p, will be there in the morning or at a later date when I have the time.

Of course, there are some nights that are the exception, but for the most part 10p is bedtime for me. Point blank period.

CREATE A NIGHTTIME ROUTINE
It’s funny because as a parent, I am a stickler for making sure Maizah takes a warm bath every night along with prayer and reading time. The consistency of her routine has made her a great sleeper. So, if my two year old needs a routine to sleep well, why wouldn’t 32 year old me need one?

Yeah. Groundbreaking.

Washing the day off of me and getting into my skin care routine relaxes me, setting me up for some awesome sleep. I’ve been reading a lot more since my 21 day social media detox, and so getting a chapter or two in before I lay it down also helps to relax me.

There was a time when I would shut my computer and then try to jump in bed. Or tweet up a storm right before trying to go to sleep. It just wasn’t fair to me. Or my brain. Routine is necessary for quality results, sleep included. Make the decision to do certain things that relax you and physically prepare you for bed. It’s totally worth it.

PUT YOUR PHONE IN ANOTHER ROOM
For a lot of you this rule is going to sting. GOOD. It’s necessary. But just put your phone in another room once it’s time for bed. Actually put it in another room 30 minutes before you want to fall asleep. This rule was a game changer for me. Not only did it force me to turn my brain off for real, for real when it was time for bed, but it also helped me wake up early because I have to get out of my bed to turn the alarm off.

Yes, girl. It’s that real.

Because what happens is you say you’ll only scroll Instagram for another 5 minutes and that five minute window turns into an hour that you could’ve been sleeping. And I’ll be the first one to admit, the scrolling was never worth it. And here’s the truth that a lot of us are trying to avoid: your brain MUST shut down and decompress if you want to get a good night’s rest. Many of us are going to bed wired AND not getting enough sleep. It’s a lose-lose.

There was a point that I was a slave to my phone and letting it take over the time in my life when I should’ve been sleeping. When I got tired of being tired, I made the decision to make a noticeable change and separate from my phone. The result? Amazing sleep.

STAY HYDRATED
Being hydrated – you know the kind of hydrated where your pee is clear? – by the time I go to bed helps me go to bed what seems immediately. It’s like my body is regulated and all parts of it are functioning at an optimal level. I know it might seem like a stretch, but here’s how water helps you sleep better…

Water makes up 60% of your body, 75% of your muscles, 85% of your brain. For your brain to be functioning at an optimal level – yes, even to turn off and sleep – it needs water. Many of us can’t fall asleep because we’re dehydrated. Dehydration is disruptive, hence no sleep.

And while it’s tempting to gulp a whole bunch of water at the end of the day to meet your daily H20 quota, it’s best you sip generously throughout the day. Ideally, you want to drink half of your body weight in ounces when it comes to water. (EX: If you’re 130 pounds, you should be drinking 65oz a day.) What helps me? I drink a cup of water every working hour. Every waking hour if I’m feeling ambitious. For a typical 8 hour day, that’s 64oz on average! But beware, if you are in fact drinking the amount of water you’re supposed to, chill out about 2 hours before bedtime so you can empty your bladder by the time you lay it down.

PREP FOR THE NEXT DAY
Again – this is something we know but do not do most of the time. Me included. But here’s what I’ve found: every time I do prep the night before, it’s like I’m freeing my brain from open tab prison. Every open tab in our brain is essentially a task we haven’t completed, written down or started. When you prep for tomorrow the night before, you’re allowing your brain to not worry about it. And I’m no doctor, but it’s way easier to fall sound asleep when you know exactly what to expect the next day.

This post was sponsored by Sleep Number. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Thanks so much for supporting the brands that support the site!

comments +

  1. Lee Colquitt

    February 6th, 2017 at 3:54 pm

    This was an on time post! I have been wondering what I can do to try to go to sleep earlier. I have a 3 year old and a 6 month old, and sometimes I get my best work done at night, and while that is okay most nights sometimes I am exhausted during the day. I think, even if I do decide to do some work st night that I can still set a time to go to sleep instead of winging it. I am loving your new content and site! Great job and keep ascending!

  2. AChrysantheMOM

    February 6th, 2017 at 4:08 pm

    I really appreciate you for this, Mattie. I’m a mother of two (ages 2 & 5), and getting enough sleep is as challenging as running a three-legged race. My kids have been getting the best sleep since being on a strict bedtime routine. In the beginning, this was not the easiest task to attain but consistency is key, as with everything else in life. Now, the kids tell me when it’s time to get ready for bed and sometimes ask if they can go to bed! I cannot make this stuff up. Routines are important. Bath time, prayer time, and bedtime stories are a must every night in that exact order. The icing on the cake is the Christian instrumentals/hymnals I play through the night from my phone. I used to sync my phone to their radio player, but I just got a new phone and haven’t adjusted my settings. However, this forces me to leave my phone in my kid’s bedroom. Since doing this, I have no choice but to forget about social media/email/text until the next day, and it’s been such a big help to acquiring a good night’s rest. Glad to know I’m the only one taking extreme measures in order to get some sleep. Lol. ????

  3. Osahon

    February 6th, 2017 at 7:33 pm

    Couldn’t have read this at a better time! I was annoyed this afternoon bc I had planned to wake up around 6:30am to head to the gym, then complete blog and YouTube content throughout the day…tell me why after hitting the snooze button on all three alarm my clock struck 1pm???…YEP 1PM!…I’m definitely gonna try putting it in another room or another side of my room so it forces me to get up bc do you see how much time I missed out on???…Tragic.

  4. LaQuita

    February 6th, 2017 at 8:05 pm

    This was a good read. My biggest issue is disciplining myself to go to bed earlier. I wake up at 4am to workout before heading off to work. One night I went to bed at 8:30 and felt incredible the next day. I’m going to keep at it every week until it becomes routine. Tonight I’m going to try to leave my phone in another room for 30 minutes before bedtime.

  5. Jodi-Kay Edwards

    February 7th, 2017 at 7:50 pm

    Creating a nighttime routine has been so important for me, I need to learn how to put the phone down and just unwind.
    http://lifestylefinesse.com/progress/

  6. Heather

    February 8th, 2017 at 3:15 am

    I should be prepping but I’m up with my phone 5 minutes before my bedtime reading your post drinking wine (and not water) LOL. Great post!

  7. Officiallychic1

    February 8th, 2017 at 3:28 pm

    I think I have to work on the routine part the most. I feel like I’m over the place when I get home from picking my son up from daycare. I don’t really have a plan, I just do what comes to mind first which is usually feeding him and taking care of his every need. I kind of forget about myself. Somethings that I do try to do is prepare his things the night before and I try to have my outfit already picked out too. This has made a huge difference in my mornings. But I’m really going to try to create a routine for him and for myself. I’m sure it’s going to make both of our lives much easier. I’m definitely going to print off this post though. There are so many good tidbits of information that I want to apply to my nightly routine!

    https://officiallychic.com/

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