I talk about sleep quite often. Usually I’m talking about the lack of sleep or inability to get to sleep or stay asleep. Check out a sleep post and a nap post and another one about how great naps are!
Lately, I’ve been studying more nutrition courses and one of the hugest components of having a nutritious life is . . . you guessed it, sleep! Sleep issues lead to so many problems, as I’ve said before, and one of them is also weight gain. If you have gained a little weight and cannot figure out what is new or if you are trying to lose some weight, looking at your sleep habits might just be the missing link.
Casper Sleep Inc. , a company making mattresses, sheets and pillows, contacted me recently about bedtime challenges and solutions. Since their goal is to spread awareness about ways to get a good night’s sleep, I was happy to work with them in sharing their message.
From the minute your feet hit the floor in the morning until you can finally crawl back into your bed at night, your entire day and your health of that day is determined by your sleep. Everyone sleeps differently. I have really worked on my own sleep issues over the past year and have actually seen some improvement. I always thought that I would always be one of those poor sleepers and suffer forever. I blamed this all on my dad. We used to pass each other in the hall at night as neither of us could sleep through the night! I still do not sleep through the night, but have realized I do need more than five hours of sleep when possible (as do all people. It really is true that we all need at least 7-8 hours a night!) and have found ways to feel more rested.
Casper has come up with a great sleep guide pointing out most issues that affect sleep and solutions to help. I can relate with almost all of them! I wonder if you can, also. Hopefully, some of these tips will help you get the sleep you need.
1. Overthinking. This is my number one problem. Always has been. Once my mind starts going it is like one of those crazy wind up tops – it just spins out of control. What to do? Give your mind something to do. Casper says treat your brain like a toddler. Give it something constructive to do to tire itself out. “Developing a fixed 10-15 minute routine before settling down can help prepare your mind for rest.”
I always go to bed around the same time at night and always have something to read, (and not a laptop or IPad or anything electronic) especially if I can predict it’s going to be one of those nights. Now that my children are older I have more time in the evenings and often take a warm bath. Sometimes I do some yoga and light stretching before crawling into bed. I usually crawl in the bed with two dogs to cuddle with to get settled down and then the big dog goes to his own bed at 10 pm. That has been our ritual and it seems to have helped clear my mind and help me get settled each night.
2. Tossing and Turning. This is not really one of my issues, unless I am tossing because of other issues, like the over thinking thing. If you just can’t get comfortable, what to do? Casper offers a solution of doing a few yoga poses to work out any kinks, avoid caffeine 4-6 hours before bed. That is a no brainer, people! Also, lavender oils can help calm and soothe nerves.
3. Stomach Pangs. If the kitchen calls your name. . . this one is The Husband’s issue. He gets up every single night and makes a raid on the kitchen. And since he wakes me up when he gets up and then falls back into the bed, it becomes my issue. What to do? I say have a light, healthy snack before bedtime so you will feel satiated and can ignore any leftovers calling your name. Casper also says to “Stay away from high-fat foods at night. If a snack attack hits, eat something high in magnesium, such as a banana or some almonds.” Good idea. Maybe The Husband should just keep that banana or almonds on his bedside table so he doesn’t have to shuffle across the room, turn on the light, open the door . . . .
Now we move on to sleep issues caused by sharing the bed. I share a bed with The Husband, until the nights his noises, kicks, and snores chases me out, and my 12 pound border terrier Lu. I could NEVER sleep with a child in the bed, so those little boys were promptly taken back to their own bed. I was guilty of crawling into their bed with them, though. Back to the present sleeping situation, Lu began sleeping at the foot of our bed at our feet and we didn’t even know she was there. She has now creeped up to about hip level and rests her little head right on a hip. I’m thinking the sleep experts would say keep the dogs out of the bed. . . .
5. The Blanket Hog. I’m one of those people who likes lots of covers. Even in the dead of summer, I want covers covering me. Sometimes The Husband steals those covers and it makes me really mad. Then I start the covers war. I bet you know this routine. He steals the covers and you steal them right back. Only to have him steal them again. Solution? Casper says BYOB. And, not the bottle. This is easy to remember: Bring Your Own Blanket. Problem solved.
6. The Lumberjack. Do you sleep with a snorer? Sometimes I do and it can be pretty miserable. The Husband is not as bad as my own dad was. Growing up, with my door closed, and my parents’ door closed, I could hear my dad snoring all night long. I mean all night. It was miserable. What in the world can you do about that? I try turning The Husband over but it’s like trying to move an oak tree. Casper suggests getting earplugs. Good idea. And rolling your partner on their side. Good luck with that one.
7. The Jitterbug. Do you sleep with a flailer? Someone who slings their arms and legs all around the bed? For example, the other night, The Husband clonked me right in the nose with his elbow. Ouch! Of course I woke up! And, of course, it too FOREVER to fall back asleep! What does Casper suggest? “Maybe the old sitcoms were onto something with the whole separate beds thing . . . ” I say, “Yes!” or at least, go to the guest room, child’s spare twin bed, sofa, or wherever you can find some peace.
8. Too hot? Are you hot at night? Here’s the deal in our home. The Husband likes it nice and cool, which is recommended for a good night’s sleep. This is okay with me as long as I have covers. However, lately, I’ve been a little too hot at night. If you are female and a certain age, you get my drift. Other than changing clothes a few times at night I don’t know how to solve this issue. If it is just normal getting too hot, then a fan can do wonders or a mattress that sleeps cool may be your answer.
9. Retina Unrest. Does the light coming into your room disturb your sleep? It might and you might not even realize it. I am one of those folks who likes it absolutely black to be able to sleep. I am known to put a cloth over our cable box to cover up the little lighted dots from the cable box. Other lights? Put your electronics in another room! Use a sleep mask if necessary! Get the lights out of your room!
10. Night Noises. Do you hear trucks going by? Dogs barking? Music or horns blowing? Casper says, “We continue to perceive sounds and process them while sleeping. Mask the night-time racket with a white noise machine or ear plugs. Embrace Nature. Soothing nature sounds can help you drift off to dreamland.”
Lastly, a huge tip for helping your sleep, and my all time best rule, GO TO BED AT THE SAME TIME EACH NIGHT, which helps regulate your circadian rhythm.
How do you sleep? What is your biggest issue? Have you tried any of these tips? What works for you?