As I sit here, coffee in hand, poised in front of the keyboard, I’m already looking forward to the nap I’m going to give myself after I write about my sleep experiences. As a mom of four kids under 10, with all the schedules, activities, appointments, drop offs, pick-ups, daily household chores and constant wondering if I’m doing an adequate job at this parenting thing, I actually think about sleep A LOT : How can I get more sleep? How can I improve the sleep I’m already getting? Will I be able to squeeze in a nap today? Will that 7pm coffee I so desperately crave to make it through the kids’ bedtime routine ruin my own eventual sleep tonight?
It’s only natural I guess—tiredness is one of those things I feel so acutely, no matter the degree. There’s the “I can make it through the day on coffee” level, the “I will definitely need an afternoon nap to recharge” level and the rare but very significant “I am going straight back to bed after I drop off the kids at school” level. OK let’s be real: that last one isn’t actually so rare…!
In the bigger, long-term picture, I can’t wait for the day when my toddler no longer cries out 4-5 times a night or uses my body as his pillow. I know, I know, these moments when he needs me are fleeting but truth be told, ask me what my deepest fantasy is and I’ll tell you this: An uninterrupted, solid 8 hours of sleep, where I wake up feeling refreshed and well-rested BEFORE the alarm goes off. You know, those pictures of people stretching out in bed with a smile on their face as the morning sun streams through the window? Can’t a mom fantasize a little bit?
It’s been reported that one of the biggest wellness trends in 2019 is Sleep Hygiene. Honestly, I find the term “trend” very misleading. Getting better sleep is not a trend that comes and goes like stilettos or dark lipstick, but rather, should be something we make concrete, lasting changes about. The impact is, quite frankly, critical to our overall health. In my experience, when sleep is low on my priority list, there are no benefits to reap: I can eat right and exercise regularly but a lack of sleep will show up right on my face, in the form of dark circles and dull skin. If I don’t let myself rest when I’m coming down with something, it takes me longer to recover, and, in most cases, I get worse before I get better- no matter how many ColdFX or Echinacea pills I pop. And let’s not forget the emotional and mental repercussions. I can be cranky and downright snappy, it takes me longer to remember things, I make poorer decisions (box of donuts anyone?) and I’m less able to be my joyful, juggling, multi-tasking self.
So while I still walk around in a zombie-like state some days, I have started to make small but significant changes to my sleep habits. I'll share them with you throughout this blog and at the same time I’d love to hear your own tips and tricks for better sleep -- in the hopes that we can make our sleep dreams come true!