How to Sleep Better Using my Amazing Sleep Hacks

How to Sleep Better Using my Amazing Sleep Hacks

 

Do you struggle to get to sleep? Or do you have an older child that finds it hard to drift off?  If so, this ‘How to Sleep Better Using my Amazing Sleep Hacks’ post is a great way to help you all head off into the land of nod. It’s a great way to help you relax and feel ready for sleep. Don’t forget to check out my sleep hygiene quiz to ensure you’re giving yourself the best chance of a good nights sleep too. Once you try the sleep relaxation exercise below, you may find that you want to tweak it slightly to suit you better.  Or that it works even better if you add in some of the sleep relaxation tips further down too. Whatever works for you! Sleep is so very important for us all; for our health, development, brain function and well-being.  So I’m on a mission to help you get plenty of it!

 

How to Sleep Better Using my Amazing Sleep Hacks. A sleep relaxation exercise and amazing sleep hacks to help you and your family all sleep better. Written by a gentle infant holistic sleep coach. Written with parents in mind. There's a sleep tip in here you won't have tried!

 

Sleep Relaxation Exercise

Prepare yourself for sleep with your usual nightly routine and settle yourself into bed.
Lie in your bed with your eyes closed, legs straight and arms down by your side.
Imagine you are lying on a beach. The sun is warm and you can hear the waves gently lapping close to you.
Focus on your right foot and point and stretch your toes as far as can, as if to the end of the bed. Keep stretching your right leg, as though it is longer than the other leg.
Count to five in your head.
Flex your right foot so it’s pointing up to the ceiling.
Count to five again.
Relax the right leg and allow it to melt into the bed.
Repeat the same process with the left leg and toes.
Now clench a fist in your right hand as tightly as you can.
Even tighter!
Count to five in your head.
Allow your right hand to melt into the bed.
Repeat with your left hand.
Now focus on your breathing. There’s nothing purer than an awareness of your breath!
Breath in and out through your nose, thinking about the breath going in your left nostril and out of the right nostril.
Do this ten times.
Repeat stretching and breathing exercises until you feel relaxed and sleepy.

Amazing Sleep Hacks

Grab a power nap in the day.
Have a calming bedtime routine such a getting ready for bed, a herbal tea and a book.
Exercise in the morning.
Eat food high in tryptophan such a turkey, almonds, tofu, eggs for your last meal.
Tart cherry juice is highly recommended to help induce sleep. You can get it here.
Make sure your sleeping environment is optimal; clear away clutter and no technology!
Don’t check the time when you wake up (except if you want to for your baby’s feed) as it can cause sleep anxiety. The panic of ‘argh I’ve only got 2 hours until the alarm /kids wake up’ can be more stressful when trying to return to sleep.
Some gentle yoga and meditation can help relax you for sleep.
Write any worries and to do things down the night before to help clear your mind. I love all these…

 

If you have a baby or toddler that you expect will wake in the night, prepare ahead and get some sleep in when they go to bed too. I know this might mean missing out on that episode of your favourite show or not getting the laundry or some admin done. But believe me, those evening hours from 7 pm until 12 am are the most restorative and crucial for deep sleep.
Plan a support system /tag team with your partner or close family and friends if sleep is becoming a real challenge in your house.  Have one of you do the weekend night wakes and take it in turns on alternate nights. Perhaps for your family, it would work better to do a shift from 7 pm – 12 am then swap for 12 am – 6 am. Teamwork makes for a more harmonious family home!
A sleep tip that is so powerful yet often overlooked is actually your mindset! How often do you focus on how much sleep you’ve had (or not had!) and convince yourself that’s not enough and you’ll be exhausted? I know I’ve done that plenty. This is especially when using my Fitbit!  When I see I only had 4 hours last night makes me expect myself to be tired! So I moan a bit, then just as a self-fulfiling prophecy works, I feel tired all day! So my ultimate sleep hack is to try to shift your sleep mindset. Allow yourself to focus on giving yourself the best opportunity for optimal sleep and focus on the sleep you get, not the sleep you don’t.
Lastly, whether it’s dropping off to sleep or getting back to sleep you find hard, instead of lying there getting in a tizzy, get up and have a little read, a stretch or a warming drink. This can help bring on sleep much more than waiting for it in bed. Don’t check your laptop, phone or watch TV either!

Conclusion

While a lack of sleep, for whatever reason, can be super stressful, especially over a prolonged period (hello parenthood!) there are definitely lots of ways to help minimise sleep anxiety to help you sleep better.
Remember, think quality over quantity so getting some good sleep between 7 pm and 12 am is a really good idea. Take a power nap during the day if you can (no more than 30 minutes otherwise you might feel groggy when you wake and ideally be awake by 3 pm).
It may help to think about getting about 7 hours of sleep a night but that doesn’t necessarily need to be in a full block of sleep. That’s why going to bed earlier (especially when you expect you might wake or be woken up in the wee hours) allows you the ‘sleep opportunity’ to get more sleep. Stressing about your lack of sleep will only add to the difficulties in sleeping!
I hope you’ve enjoyed my post ‘How to Sleep Better Using my Amazing Sleep Hacks’ and got some useful tips to implement.  Don’t forget you can head over to my Instagram where I like to hang out, a lot, probably too much. See you there!
Together, let’s get sleep sorted!
Caroline x
P.S. In case you’re a newbie to my blog (in that case a very warm welcome!), I do always add in a couple of affiliate links with a great offer to each post that I think might be of interest to you as a parent. If you do choose to click the link and make a purchase on that really cool new item (for you or your baby!) then it’s at NO EXTRA COST to you. I receive a small commission from the retailer and that helps me with the running costs of my website, business and blog. Thanks for all your AMAZING support! xx


Sleep Hygiene Quiz Plus My Top Sleep Tips

Sleep Hygiene Quiz Plus My Top Sleep Tips

What is sleep hygiene all about?

Sleep hygiene is such an important part of sleep. It can help babies, toddlers and grown-ups achieve optimum sleep.

Sleep hygiene is all about what you do in preparation for nighttime. We all have our evening routines and rituals  – some helpful for sleep; brushing your teeth, reading a book and some maybe not so much; scrolling through FaceBook right before lights out anyone?

I’m going to take a risk and assume that by reading this you’d like to sleep better? As a parent, you’ve got that extra challenge to try to get as much quality sleep as you can as well as ensuring your children sleep well too.

I come across many parents who since having a baby, don’t adjust their lifestyle to incorporate changes when it comes to their sleep. This is usually because they don’t know how and with the demands of a new baby, it can be all too easy to fall into habits which aren’t conducive for sleep.

Yet making small changes can really help get more sleep. More sleep means a better feeling, more refreshed you.

That’s why I’ve created this 15 question sleep hygiene quiz plus my top sleep tips in the answers to help you maximise your sleep hygiene. And one answer might really surprise you…

So, are you ready to take the sleep hygiene quiz and get some super sleep tips? Grab a pen and paper and let’s go!

Sleep hygiene quiz plus my top sleep tips



1) What temperature is your bedroom at night?

a) 16 – 18°c

b) 18 – 20°c

c) 22°c +

d) 14 – 16°c

2) How light is your bedroom at night?

a) Fairly light

b) Pretty dark

c) Pitch black

d) I sleep with a light on

3) Do you go to bed at about the same time each night?

a) Yes absolutely

b) I’m fairly consistent but do stay up 1 – 2 hours  later occasionally

c) It depends but I often stay up later on weekends

d) No, I go to bed at different times every night

 

4) Do you have a set of bedtime rituals?

a) Yes, every night

b) Never

c) Sometimes, if I remember

d) Rarely

5) If you have an important meeting tomorrow or a big decision to make, how likely is it you will lie awake thinking about it?

a) Very likely

b) Maybe

c) Unlikely

d) Perhaps

6) When you go to bed, do you find you can’t switch off?

a) It often takes me a while to switch off and go to sleep

b) A few thoughts wander through my mind but I can let them go

c) Nope, I’m asleep as soon as my head hits the pillow

d) I frequently struggle with being able to switch off

7) For you, a typical night is…

a) Sleeping lightly with lots of interruptions

b) Sleeping soundly with one of two interruptions

c) Sleeping deeply between lots of interruptions

d) Sleeping soundly all night

e) Desperately struggling to get to sleep and stay asleep

8) Do you take any medication that might affect your sleep?

a) Just herbal medication

b) I don’t take any medication

c) I take medication that is not known to affect sleep

d) I take medication that is known to affect sleep

9) It’s been a tough week for you and you’re really tired. You really need an early night but a friend you haven’t seen in ages invites you for dinner. What do you do?

a) Decline the invitation and aim to get a good night’s sleep instead

b) Accept the invite but promise yourself you’ll catch up on some sleep tomorrow

c) Accept and go for dinner but feel so tired you yawn often and berate yourself for going out.

10) Do you do any of the following in the 3 hours before bed?

a) Drink alcohol

b) Smoke

c) A workout

d) Drink coffee

e) None of those things

11) Do you nap?

a) Yes, every day

b) Most days

c) Once or twice a week

d) I don’t nap

12) How long do you nap for?

a) I don’t nap

b) Up to 30 minutes

c) Up to an hour

d) More than an hour

13) Do you exercise? (at least a brisk 20-minute walk)

a) Yes, every day

b) Yes, most days

c) Somedays

d) Not really

14) At what point in the day do you exercise?

a) In the afternoon

b) In the evening

c) In the morning

d) I don’t exercise

15) Do you do any of the following in bed?

a) Watch TV

b) Check your phone

c) Work or study

d) Talk on your phone

e) None of those

Ok, that’s it! Well done. Now let’s look at the answers below that are most helpful for optimum sleep hygiene. Don’t worry if your answers don’t match up – there’s no right or wrong, only areas you can improve


ANSWERS

1) a) 16 – 18°c

This is the ideal temperature, for you and your baby. Think thin layers and popping socks on if a bit chilly rather than thick sleepwear.

2) c) Pitch black

Light suppresses our production of melatonin so a dark sleeping environment helps our bodies be ready for sleep. If you little one does need the comfort of a night light, ensure it is red rather than a white light.

3) a) Yes absolutely

If you’ve read my other posts, you’ll know I’m obsessed with routine. It is your best friend. Trust me! And that’s not just to help your little one’s sleep; it’s for you too! So, yes, going to bed at the same time every night is beneficial.

4) a) Yes every night

Simple rituals to implement such as washing your face, brushing your teeth, reading a book; help strengthen your brain’s association for night time and sleep. This goes for your kids too! Check out my blog post called Baby Sleep Trick to see an ideal bedtime routine for your baby or toddler.

5) c) Unlikely

If you can’t stop focusing on what you have to do tomorrow then why not write down a to-do list the night before so you feel prepared? Get your clothes and bag ready and plan your journey if you need to the evening before so there’s less to think about when going to sleep.

6) c) Nope, I’m asleep as soon as my head hits the pillow

If you do struggle to drop off try keeping a pad and pen by your bed and writing down your worries or concerns before you go to sleep. Seeing them on paper can help clear them from your mind and allow you to feel more ready for sleep.

7) d) Sleeping soundly all night

Of course, sleeping well all night is ideal but not always possible. Especially when you have little sleep thieves in your home! Remember, I am on hand for infant sleep consultations wherever you are and whenever you need me. I can help in getting your little ones to sleep more soundly which can mean you can sleep more soundly too! Find all you need to know here.

8) b) I don’t take any medication

Try to be mindful of medications that might affect your sleep. You could keep a log of your sleep to see if there is a pattern. Check with your GP if there are alternatives to the medication you are on if it is clearly affecting your sleep.

9) a) Decline the invitation and aim to get a good night’s sleep instead

It can be so tempting to accept social opportunities when they pop up. Try to remember that there’ll always be other times. Putting yourself first and thinking about your own self-care is the kindest thing you can do for yourself.

10) e) None of those things

All of these things can impact on your sleep so try to avoid these activities in the hours before bed.

11) a) Yes, every day

Did this one surprise you? Well, research shows that a daily nap can really help nourish and nurture you. Aiming for one after lunch but before 4 pm is ideal.

12) b) Up to 30 minutes

Limit it to 30 minutes so that your body can replenish and refresh but not send you to a deep sleep from which you may wake groggy and more tired. Set an alarm on your phone if that will help you.

13) a) Yes, every day

It can be hard to always add exercise into daily life with young children. Why not arrange to meet other local mums and go for buggy walks or runs together? Check out MUSH if you’re in the UK to find local mums and make friends. Also, have a look at HOOP  for local events and activities to get you inspired and out & about.

14) c) In the morning

This is the best time of day to all get moving!

15) e) None of those

Here’s a couple of tips to help reduce the blue light in the room. Blue light is the worst kind of light to mess with your chances of quality sleep and comes from TV’s, phones and laptops. Try installing F.LUX on your laptop if you must have it in the bedroom. This turns the light to a soft, warm glow to minimise the blue light effect. The latest iPhones already have this feature built in the settings. Go to ‘Display & Brightness’ to adjust your Night Shift options.

Do you always check your phone before bed? Is your charger by the bed too? Try plugging your charger in another room overnight.

It will be ok. You will survive without it in the same room as you. Promise. I’ve made these changes too and they really have made a difference!

Sleep Hygiene Quiz Plus My Top Sleep Tips. Helping you to get the best night sleep you can with sleep tips that work. Written by a gentle holistic infant sleep consultant

 

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading ‘Sleep Hygiene Quiz Plus My Top Sleep Tips’ and found it useful. Good luck with any sleep changes you decide to make.

In this together

Caroline

P.S. In case you’re a newbie to my blog (in that case a very warm welcome!), I do always add in a couple of affiliate links with a great offer to each post that I think might be of interest to you as a parent. If you do choose to click the link and make a purchase on that really cool new item (for you or your baby!) then it’s at NO EXTRA COST to you. I receive a small commission from the retailer and that helps me with the running costs of my website, business and blog. Thanks for all your AMAZING support! xx