I’ve had trouble sleeping lately. I sleep late, get up early and drag myself through the day fuelled by coffee and an endless list of things that need to be done. I’d never had trouble sleeping in the past. I always fell asleep easily, often had siestas and loved to sleep in. Obviously this changed post-kids but the kids sleep well and have done for a while so there’s really no reason for me not to get enough sleep.
The fact that I wasn’t sleeping not only affected my energy level but also my mood. I was more easily irritated and instead of looking for the next fun activity to do with the kids I was looking for the next opportunity to rest. This wasn’t the type of mother, wife, friend or daughter that I wanted to be.
Something changed when I was lucky enough to attend an event hosted by Protect-A-Bed. Wellness Coach, Camilla Thompson was one of the guest speakers and spoke of the concept of a bedtime routine for grown ups. We’ve had a bedtime routine for the kids for a while now: dinner > shower > downtime > bed, but it had never occurred to me that I might benefit from something similar. Studies show that the body responds to routine cues that signal that it’s time to wind down. I’ve seen proof of this in the kids so why couldn’t it work for me?
I decided that this is what I needed and I immediately felt optimistic. The first thing I needed to do was attack my bedroom so that I had a nice space to rest after a long day. I uncluttered and cleared out every inch of the room so that the space felt and looked clean and organised. It was a big job and took several days but made such a difference to the feel of the room.
I also got my hands on some new bedding and mattress protectors. The ones I chose are by Protect-A-Bed and they’re made from Tencel which is perfect for summer nights and sensitive skin. The fabric is breathable and protects us from all sorts of allergens, bacteria and dust mites. They’re also silent so you don’t get that noisy, crunchy sound when you roll over in the middle of the night.
Once the space was taken care of I set out to get into a routine that would cue my body to wind down, relax and get a good night’s sleep. I typically eat and shower around the same time as the kids so following is what I use as my new bedtime routine once they’re asleep:
Tidy the house with a limit of 20 minutes. I can’t sleep properly if the house is still a bomb site so I need to allow myself time to put things away and set up for the next day. The key here is to limit the time I spend on cleaning so that I don’t spend the entire night folding washing.
Tea Time. I’d recently developed a love for Soothing Tea after a neighbour introduced me to it so I incorporated this into my routine. It’s a great little time out and I’ll often sip while I tidy so that I’m nice and chill by the time I’ve finished with the house.
To do lists, TV and replies. I was having trouble sleeping before because I had a lot on my mind and I was also spending so much time having “me time” once the kids were asleep. I’d spend hours watching my favourite reality shows so that I’d end up awake till midnight watching rubbish (fun rubbish but rubbish nonetheless). So, again I set myself a time limit: 1-1.5 hours to watch what I want, reply to emails that I hadn’t gotten to and also compile my to-do list for the next day. Once I have my tasks written down I find they no longer consume my mind and I’m more easily able to rest.
There’s a lot to be said about getting a great night’s sleep. I love my “new room” and changing up our bed to include a great quality mattress protector has made it feel all the more inviting. I feel the difference particularly when the nights are warm and I’m still able to breathe easily and stay cool.
It’s been about 10 days since I embarked on my new bedtime routine and I really feel great. I get up in the morning with so much more energy and my general attitude is much more optimistic. I should have done this months ago but sometimes when we’re going about our business day-to-day it’s hard to see any other way of doing things. I’m so grateful for that first initial tip to get my own bedtime routine that set me on this path to being much more rested but also a happier and healthier mama to my boys.
Goodnight, sleep tight & don’t let the bed bugs bite!