Every August, the planet tilts a little more towards chaos. After a summer full of sun and fun, all of us need a reality check on what our habits look like, including our sleep habits. If they're not serving you anymore, the time to change them is now. No matter where you're at in the journey, September means change is on the horizon.
The transformation that occurs from staying up late with no routine, to a lifestyle that works for everyone in the family, can happen with less stress and more enjoyment when you follow these simple tips...
Tip #1 - Choose a bedtime and stick to it!
Choosing a bedtime for YOU and your children will be the key to success. Even if you are an empty nester who somehow got off of this one incredibly important habit, the time is now, when the days are getting shorter to LISTEN to your body and pick a time that works best for you. I like to work backwards... how many hours of sleep do you need. The recommended amount is 8 hours, but you might be different - for instance, I need 7.5. hours of sleep. I literally cannot stay in bed any longer! Pick a time that feels good and stick to it!
Tip #2 - Create a nighttime routine that you look forward to.
So many adults get into this mindset that bedtime has to be awful. With young children, it may feel that way at first, but it doesn't have to be. Observing your child and also becoming mindful of your own actions will help you choose a bedtime routine that works wonders for the quality of your sleep. Little things, giving yourself time to reflect on the day, stretching your body, or even getting a special beverage to snuggle up with (for my kids it was warm honey milk) and for me, I love a glass of merlot in the fall. Giving yourself time to thoroughly slow down and fully enjoy moments allows your body and your mind to get ready for sleep. Limiting screen time has such a huge benefit as well.
"Studies indicate that screen time before bed can increase the amount of time it takes to fall asleep, reduce sleep quality, and affect attentiveness the following day. In the long term, nightly exposure to light in the evening may increase the risk of certain sleep disorders and cancers." Michael Breus - The Sleep Doctor.
Tip #3 - Do what's best for YOU
I live in a house of night owls and I am not an night owl. I get tired around 9:30 pm and I'm ready to go sleep by 10:30 pm. For years, I tried to stay up later - with my husband and later, my adult kids who didn't mind at all staying up until 11 sometimes midnight before heading off to bed. They seemed to have their best conversations then. I wanted to be a part of those conversations, but my health was suffering. I would get sick often, I would be tired all day. I also would be up at 6 am because that's what time I naturally wake up. When I started going to bed earlier so that I could get better sleep, I was amazed at how much better I felt. Choosing a time to go to bed that matches how much sleep you need will make a huge difference in how you feel when you're awake. Imagine being a child who's not getting enough sleep... cranky, not able to pay attention, careless with their homework, careless with their actions.... it all adds up.
Tip #4 - Your bedroom is your sanctuary
And that goes for kids too! How many times does your bedroom become an office, a storage unit, a workshop or place to do projects. Your bedroom is meant to be your sanctuary. It is a place where you should LOVE going. If it means a total remodel of fresh paint, new sheets, and brand new pillows, do it. Keep all other things out of there. It should be a place for you to truly REST, recharge, and enjoy your time. This goes for kids too... Help them to see a clean, organized bedroom FEELS good.
Tip #5 - Be honest with yourself
Give yourself time to adjust... Some people like to jump in head first. "Tonight, I'm going to bed at 10 pm." and they can just do it that way and stick with it. Other people need to plan it out. Each night, they go to bed a little earlier and wake up a little earlier. Some people know a change in their schedule is coming (like starting school or a new job) and they just wait for it to happen. However you decide to take care of yourself is truly YOUR CHOICE. In the end, you can feel good about the choices you make when they are the very best for you!
Better Sleep = Better Life
Giving yourself the time to be mindful about your sleep habits is one step in living your best life while you're awake! Need help getting started? Click Here to choose a coaching style that works for you!