As a parent, getting a good night sleep is hard at any stage of your child’s development. Whether they are toddlers climbing in bed with you at all hours of the night or they are teens out with friends past curfew. To help give myself the best opportunity for rest, my bedtime ritual starts after I have successfully put the kids to sleep. The time between then and when I venture to my bedroom, I am intentional about engaging in restorative activities to replenish some of the physical and emotional energy that was used during the day. Whether it’s meditation or prayer, reading a book, watching television, or catching up with a loved one, feeling like I had time to myself or some emotional connection at the end of a long day helps me recharge and feel mentally prepared for the next day. By carving out the time to take care of my needs, I am better able to fully “shut down” and fall asleep.
As I look to forward to sleep, I enjoy topical or diffused essential oils such as lavender or peppermint oil to help reduce tension. I also rely on blackout curtains and the white noise application on my iPhone. Ever since I could remember, I have loved the sound of pouring rain. Although I have tried a few machines, I love the sound of “extreme rain pouring” on the white noise application, it almost immediately relaxes me. I keep my phone on silent and try not to compulsively glance at it. Also, if there are lingering thoughts or feelings I have from the day, I write them down in a journal I keep on my nightstand to process at a later time.
In the last 5 years, what new belief, behavior or habit has most improved your sleep?
Managing my expectations! I have accepted that each night is not going to be perfect and the type of sleep I end up with in the morning may not be what I need to get through the day. Knowing this, takes the pressure off and allows me to let go of the things I cannot control with sleep. Focusing on gratitude can help as well, where each morning I feel blessed to have a fresh start and each night I try my best to get rest.