Sleep and the musings household has a bit of a love hate relationship. We are very rarely in sync together but when we are, it’s magical. A few weeks ago my sleep got completely turned on it’s head. I was barely sleep at night, stealing a few hours during the day and starting the process all over again. Nothing was getting done and something had to give.
I started doing things differently in the lead up to sleep and I changed my thoughts about sleep. I have written before about getting better sleep. I often find that I have the most issues with actually getting to sleep. Once I am asleep I am generally fine. Funnily enough that is also Mr 5’s issue. Here are the things that have worked for me over the last couple of weeks.
Get over the idea that it’s too early to go to bed.
This was my biggest hurdle to getting to sleep at a decent hour. It sounds strange but it was such a psychological hurdle for me. I found myself watching ridiculous things on TV because it was too early to go to bed. I started off small and told myself that I would go to bed to read, with the idea that if I went to bed earlier then I would have more time to read. I was then finished reading earlier that usual. It was a game changer.
If you really want to watch a show, record it or use catch up TV.
Are you finding yourself telling yourself that after your favourite show is finished that you will go to bed, only to find it’s been pushed back to 10:30pm? I like TV, I like getting lost in fiction shows and falling in love with the characters. So I was staying up later and later to watch shows that I loved, but the ratings didn’t. Now I just record it or use catch up TV. The best part about that is that I can fast forward through the ads too!
Write down those thoughts swirling around your head.
Another barrier for me getting to sleep is over thinking stuff. I think about everything from what I am having for dinner tomorrow to that stupid thing I said in 9th grade. When I write this stuff down then I am postponing the thought pattern. It’s a psychological cue to my brain that I got your message, but I don’t have time for it right now. More often than not it works. It has the added bonus of creating blog post ideas too.
If it’s going to bother you, get those jobs done before bed.
If I had a dollar for every time I laid in bed at night and thought about the stuff I didn’t do today and need to do tomorrow instead…well I would have enough to employ a full time cleaner. It’s ridiculous because I spend an hour in bed stressing about the stuff I have to do the next day, when in reality I could just have done them.
Set yourself an alarm for when you want to switch off the lights.
I don’t always stick to this one. However I do notice the difference when I do. If you are used to going to bed at 2am then start somewhere that is achievable. If the alarm goes off at 10pm then chances are you are going to ignore it. Set the alarm for 30 minutes before you normally switch off the lights. Then move this time backwards by 30 minutes each week. It doesn’t feel like such a shock to the system.
What are your tips for better sleep?
Do you struggle with getting to sleep or staying asleep?
Linking up with Jess for IBOT!
As I haven’t actually managed to grab any sleep overnight, this is a rather timely post. At 4:40am I’m wondering if I shouldn’t just give up, ply myself with coffee and then head to bed early tonight.
Great advice. I stopped forcing myself to stay awake for ‘live’ tv shows ages ago, it was the best decision ever! I often struggle to fall asleep because my mind is racing with thoughts so I always tend to read myself to sleep.
Great tips. I am big on shutting down the lights at 7.30pm so that the whole family starts to get into sleepy mode. Plus turning down the volume on the TV. But to be honest, I usually fall asleep really easily. It’s the staying asleep tht eludes me …
Sometimes. I get up and have a bath and read – it shuts out those swirling thoughts….
Love being able to record anything and everything at the touch of a button and also I allow myself some reading time for my brain to calm down when I get to bed. If I don’t read it takes me forever to drop off.
Great tips. As a shift worker my sleep has been out of whack for most of my adult life!
I’ve been having a horrible time sleeping lately, but mainly due to coughing. I’m so exhausted. Luckily the last two nights have been good and I’ve caught up on some sleep. I still feel a little washed out though. I agree with the reading, it actually makes me sleepy as it relaxes me and takes my mind away. Generally I have a good night’s sleep after I’ve read in bed.
I think that my number one tip would be……… Don’t have children! Oh the sleep that I used to enjoy, I could sob….. I haven’t slept through the night, or been woken less than 2 times, but more like 6 for 3 years next week! I get sleep anxiety when I go to bed, fretting on how little sleep I will get before the first awakening. I laugh at new parents complaining of being woken every 3 hours, that is such a luxurious stretch of slumber…. Can you tell that I have been blessed with 2 shocking sleepers? It’s my punishment for my former love of napping…
Gets back in corner haha. Great post Tegan, thanks 🙂
I still struggle with the going to bed early Tegan … My kids are up so late now that the only time I get to myself is late at night
First time visit to your blog and I enjoyed this post! My children seem to have finally reached an age where night waking has stopped and I have silently been praying for this day for 9 years! Only thing is that I don’t seem to need as much sleep as I did before children! My body seems to have adjusted to interrupted sleep. But I do find incorporating exercise into my day certainly helps me to feel dead tired in the evening and I can’t wait to go to bed! If I can get the first 5 hours of sleep undisturbed I feel pretty good. Exercise for me is a walk 6-7am in the morning before the house wakes. It’s the only time I can manage to squeeze it in! But I feel all the better for it. I guess that would be my tip! Early to bed and exercise! They go hand in hand for me. Doesn’t happen every day though 😉
My problem is getting over the thinking its too early to go to bed barrier. Even if I go to bed earlier I stay awake thinking its too early.
I feel really grateful that I have always been a “head hits the pillow” kind of sleeper. I thought it was normal, but from what I hear it’s not all that common! It’s one thing I have been really lucky with.
Aha! Thank you! My husband needs to get over thinking it’s too early to go to bed. He’s been leaving for work at 3.30am the past few weeks and really should go to bed early to make sure he gets enough sleep, but he just can’t let himself. Very silly. Great tips.
I was once the best sleeper in the world but in the last couple of years I think hormones have messed that up a bit. I’m fine getting to sleep but wake at 3am and can’t get back to sleep for two hours or so. However, this month I have been participating in the Mindful in May meditation challenge and have used an audio meditation download to meditate each night for at least ten minutes before bed and I have slept better than I have for ages! Bad sleep is crap. These are great tips. Thanks!
I’m a night owl. And like ^ Natalie above, find myself staying up super late after the kids are finally asleep, so I can have ME time. (And also that’s when I have to do my work).
I’d have to be really unwell to put myself to bed before 11pm. :-O
Some great tips!
My problem is that if I go to bed too early I will wake up early 🙁 I’d love a work around for that!! Haven’t found one yet.
I’m so exhausted at night I fall asleep as soon as my head hits the pillow. I think to get more sleep you need to switch off the screens earlier. I still struggle with this one but it’s really a choice that I can make most nights should I choose.
ditto the ‘too early to go to bed’ team. Or I start thinking I’ll head to bed now at 9pm, I’ll just quickly turn on dishwasher/take dogs out/have shower/put junk away – suddenly it’s midnight and I’m still not in bed. I’m also finding now that as a new mum, I’m absolutely exhausted by the end of the day but when the household is asleep is the only time I get to myself to catch up on blogging/tv shows/reading. Ahhh sleep…I miss you!
Great post. I’ve been an insomniac my entire life – even as a kid – and it’s worse in times of stress. My new anti-depressants are helping with my sleeping patterns but last week, I actually had quite a bit of work on and I think I worked too late. I was exhausted and yet still couldn’t sleep … it was a reminder of how bad things are when you just can’t sleep and how much worse everything feels when you are constantly tired. I think for me, one of the best strategies is going to bed when the ‘wave’ of fatigue hits. Too bad if it’s in the middle of the show, or too early or whatever (although that can be bad if you have company over or you are out LOL). But if you miss that natural indication that your body wants to sleep you might miss it altogether. For me anyway. And the other thing I’ve found is, like you suggest, to try not to get wound up by it. Catch up on some telly or some reading. I try to stay away from the computer because apparently that wakes the brain up even more … but a little camping on the couch with a good book or a trashy TV show isn’t the worst thing in the world.
Where are you? You’ve been quiet of late!