I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with sleep. I love to sleep, and I hate when I can’t get enough of it.
I also love, love, love when my children sleep through the night or sleep in late (I’m talking 6:30 or 7 am late,) or take a nap. They are more pleasant to be around, they are less demanding, and they have more energy (if that’s possible?) in a good way.
I hate when they go to bed super late, when they wake up for some strange reason in the middle of the night, or when they wake up early (you don’t even want to know what time that is!) Without enough sleep, my children are “challenging,” and that’s putting it mildly.
While I don’t always have the answers as to why my children aren’t sleeping, I do know why I’m not sleeping. I’m going to share the 4 reasons I haven’t been sleeping, and also share what I’ve decided to do about it. I’m hoping that writing it all out will be the final push I need to finally get some good sleep…and to help you too.
After all the children are finally sleeping, me and my husband finally feel like we can relax. It takes both of us a little time to unwind from our days, so we need a good hour or two before we even think about bed. The bedtime process for the kids has been going on longer and longer lately, so this then pushes our bedtime back too.
The twins used to go to bed nice and early. Around 6 pm, we used to get them started on their routine, and by 6:30, they were in bed. About 10 minutes later, all quiet.
Now that they are older, they don’t get into bed until at least 7 pm. 7 still isn’t super late, and would give me and my husband plenty of quiet time, however, they have not been going right to sleep.
The other night, they were still playing around, and it was 10:30 pm!
So, we’ve been trying different things…taking away toys, closing the door, and shutting off the hallway light. They hate all of these things, and it usually doesn’t work. So, we’re going to have to figure out something new.
As for our oldest, Mr. B tends to stay up later. He likes to have some quiet time without his brothers, and watch a show or two. This is actually OK because he and my husband usually watch something like NOVA or a cooking show together. When he then goes to bed, he is out right away.
When the kids are finally sleeping, or at least in their rooms, it’s time to unwind. The problem is that I then turn to technology…TV, laptop, and phone.
I like to get a little work done while watching TV. I can’t just sit and mindlessly watch a show.
So, I write a blog post, or do some blog promotion, with the TV going on in the background. I usually get distracted on Facebook, and browse for a while. I also might play the occasional game of Spider Solitaire.
OK. I do this almost every night lately.
I know from all the things that I’ve read on sleep, technology is no good right before bed. It doesn’t help you unwind or shut off your brain. Which leads right into my next reason…
When I do finally decide to shut off the TV, my laptop, and my phone, my brain is still going.
I’m putting together lists of what I need to do the next day, I’m thinking about everything I didn’t get done that day, or I’m trying to remember something I know I’ve forgotten.
Basically, my mind just runs in circles. I’m writing blog posts in my head, thinking of what I can make for dinner the next night, and I’m trying to remember which meeting is happening on Friday night.
You’re probably thinking, “Get a calendar!”
I have three.
On the rare night that I don’t turn to technology, instead I turn to the mountains of laundry piled up in our room.
It’s actually easier to match up socks when someone is not throwing them around, or to put away dishes when someone is not screaming for a glass of milk from the living room.
Now, this housework can almost become relaxing, until I realize just how much more there is to be done. Instead of being satisfied with putting away one big pile, I look at the 10 others and try to keep going.
All of a sudden it’s way past a normal person’s bedtime, and there are still 8 piles.
Solutions to get better Sleep
Knowing the obstacles to getting to sleep are more than half the battle, but I’ve also come up with other ways to get myself to bed earlier in a more relaxed state of mind.
- Have a set time to shut off all technology
It’s so tempting to just check one more email, or look at one more story on Facebook, and all of a sudden it’s an hour later. If I set a time to shut everything down, I can give my brain some time to stop too.
I’m thinking at least a half hour before bed. I would say an hour, but I’m being realistic, and I’m going to ease into this.
- Actually make lists and use calendar
Instead of thinking about everything, I’m going to use 15 minutes to write down things I need to do, appointments I have, or anything else on my mind. Instead of keeping it in my head, I’ll get it out on paper. I can put it in my Google calendar in the morning. Paper is just fine.
Since I’m not one to just sit for a half hour, I’m going to designate this as reading time. This will really give me time to unwind and get me out of my own head. It doesn’t even have to be a book. It can be one of my magazines I have been waiting to read forever.
- Make our bed/bedroom more relaxing
I need to get rid of the clutter, get a new pillow, and start using our essential oil diffuser. A calm environment can’t hurt.
I’m hoping these things will help me get to sleep earlier, sleep better, and put me in a better mood. A well rested mom is a much happier mom.
Do you get enough sleep? What do you do to ensure you are well-rested?