As a mom of a 5 and almost 3 year old, sleep is beginning to be a regular thing for us after years of waking up several times every night. If you’re still in that phase, be encouraged!! It will soon pass! While you can’t always control your kid’s sleep habits, you can still do your best to make the time you do sleep as productive as possible.
“Adequate sleep is critical for maintaining good health, but it’s often the first thing we allow to slide when life gets in the way.” I have told my husband many times, I need 3 solid hours after the kids go to bed to take care of things and relax. That worked fine when they went to bed at 7pm. Now that they go to bed at 8, I often find myself staying up until 11 and then I’m exhausted when they wake me up the next morning. That little pattern had to change because as much as I loved cherish those three quiet hours, they were causing me to crash and burn.
“Sleep holds the reins of our body’s temperature, blood pressure, secretion of hormones, brain activity and many more functions. The body needs sleep or meditative periods in order to process information, make sense of what we’ve been bombarded with during the day, and store it away in memory. In the typical adult, even a week of getting two to three hours less than optimum amount of sleep needed each night seriously undermines mood, alertness and performance. ” All of that vs. an extra episode of Fixer-Upper? I guess I’ll go to bed.
“Sleep’s most important function may be the time it gives your body for cellular repair. That’s why it’s so important to take a TWICE-daily multivitamin and mineral supplement.” (Just remember, not all vitamins are created equal – Read this previous post explains that more in depth).
What Is Your Real Sleep Number?
Rate yourself 0-10 on each of the 6 questions.
#1 – How dark is your room during sleep hours?
0 = Bright Enough To Read 10 = Pitch Black
We need darkness to sleep well. When the light of day fades, our brain know it’s time to prepare for sleep and start producing melatonin. “Melatonin regulates the sleep-wake cycle, causing drowsiness, lowering body temperature, slowing metabolic functions, and otherwise putting the body into sleep mode. It is a powerful antioxidant that can cross the blood-brain barrier and other cell membranes to help protect against free radicals…which create oxidative stress related to degenerative disease. It also influences the immune system and helps to protect against infectious disease.” With all this in mind, make sure your blinds are closed, don’t look at screens leading up to bedtime, and you use red light nightlights, which are less disturbing to melatonin production that white or blue light.
# 2 – What Is The Temperature When You Sleep?
0 = Electric Blanket Dependant 10 = Comfortable With One Blanket
There’s no specific temperature, but for the most part, cooler is better. If your body is working to stay cool or stay warm, you’re not fully resting. Take a hot shower before bed. Your body’s natural drop in temperature afterward will help you fall asleep.
#3 – What Kind Of Air Are You Breathing While You Sleep?
0 = Windows Closed, No Filter 10 = HEPA Filtered Air or Open Window
“We still tend to think about pollution only when it’s outside…but the main source of air pollution is actually in our homes! Americans spend 90% of their time indoors. And while we’re there, we’re breathing air that is usually two to five times more polluted with organic pollutants than outdoor air. As much as you can, ditch the products that are polluting the air unnecessarily – adhesives, cleaning products, perfumes, dry cleaning chemicals, nail polish, hairsprays etc.” Breathing these in can often leave you feeling sluggish, unable to focus, or with headaches, asthma, allergies and congestion. “Rather than adding several lifelong prescription drugs to your family budget, why not try eliminating the possible causes?” Another way to increase the quality of the air you breathe is by using the exhaust fan in the bathroom consistently. “It will keep negative pressure in the bathroom so that the toxic products you use in there will be pulled outside instead of drifting into your sleeping area.”
#4 – How Active Are You Throughout the Day?
0 = Not At All 10 = Consistently Active and Fit
After these first few Spring days of playing outside, my daughter fell asleep at 6:30pm and slept for the next 12 hours without a peep. All that activity and fresh air wore her out! It’s the same for us as adults. Find ways to stay active and spend time outside during all seasons and you’ll sleep much more soundly.
#5 – Do You Know How Many Hours You Need?
0 = I Don’t Really Care 10 = I know I Function Best at (X) Amount of Hours
I’m guilty of burning the midnight oil and counting on coffee to keep me going throughout the next day. It’s a vicious cycle! You’ve heard most people need 7-8 hours/night. Here’s a little experiment for you to figure out how many hours you need to function best. “The first time you wake up on saturday morning – of your own accord – note what time it is, even if you decide to try to squeeze in a little more shut-eye. Do this again Saturday night. By Sunday morning, you should be able to identify what your body naturally requests. During the weekdays, decide when you need to be up and work backward to make sure you’re relaxing in bed a half-hour prior to when you need to be asleep.” This might be difficult if you have little children, so enlist your husband to wake up with them one weekend so you can figure out how many hours you need. Then reward yourself by giving yourself that much sleep during the week =).
# 6 – How Cluttered Is Your Bedroom?
0 = It’s Our Storage Room 10 = It’s Our Tidiest Room
You know the feeling when you walk into a hotel room? It’s fresh, inviting and relaxing. Why? Certainly not because of the gaudy comforter, but because there are no piles of laundry, stacks of bills, or to-do list projects staring you in the face. Do your best to declutter and make your bedroom at home a place of R & R.
Add up your sleep numbers and see where you rate.
0-15 A Complete Nightmare
15-30 Nearing a Rude Awakening
31-45 Rested but Not Revived
46-60 Sleeping Soundly
If you’re like me, you found LOTS of room for improvement! Go back through the underlined points and find some easy ways to improve your quality of sleep and live an even healthier life!
If you have a high sleep number and you’re still not quite feeling rested, try this pharmaceutical-grade melatonin supplement. It doesn’t make you sleepy, but it improves the quality of your sleep!
**** ALL of the information in quotes is from the New York Times Best Seller – The Healthy Home. By Dr. Myron Wentz and Dave Wentz. It’s an incredible book with all sorts of ways to improve the overall health of your home. I’ve learned SO much from it!
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