Whenever I ask my Facebook fans if they could do anything right this moment, what would they do,
about 70% answer 'sleep'. I'm one of them. Ask me anytime, the thing I'm most lacking is sleep.
Parents of young children tend to walk the earth as zombies, in a twilight zone of constant lack of sleep. And lack of sleep affects parenting skills, making sleep so important.
What can we do to get more and better quality sleep? Here's a list of things that will greatly improve your sleep, when you do get the chance of getting some.
- Vent your room every single day. Even if it's freezing outside! Cut the heating and open those windows wide for at least fifteen minutes, preferable more. The best way to do this is right after you've gotten everything you need from your room in the morning. Just open up the windows and go about your other activities. Air quality greatly affects your sleep, and our bedrooms can be laden with toxic fumes from our mattresses, our furniture etc...
- Get quality organic bedding. Yes, these are very expensive, but you don't need to replace them every year and they are well worth the investment. Conventional mattresses use extremely toxic flame retardants and you're putting your face straight to it. If you're in a pinch for money, Ikea has natural latex mattresses and mattresses made of natural wool and horsehair etc... Nontoxic sleep will greatly improve your overall health and I can really recommend this.
- Make sure your pillow is adapted to your sleeping mode. Obviously for your pillow the above counts too. If you can't afford a new mattress, then at least get a decent, non toxic pillow. You don't need three or four pillows, just one good one that is adapted to your way of sleeping. If you're a back or belly sleeper, you will need a significantly thinner pillow than side sleepers like me. for a side sleeper, an ergonomic pillow (which has a bump to support the neck) is certainly worth recommending.
- Get some exercise. Parenting is hard and tiring, but often we just linger around the house, mostly in a seated position. Lack of physical exercise will impair your sleep. You may find yourself mulling on things in the evening and being unable to catch a sleep, there you have it: overactive brain under active body. If there is balance between the two, sleep will be easier.
- Don't drink coffee (or at least cut down significantly). Don't get me wrong, I love coffee and it sure has its virtues, yet when you find yourself NEEDING that cup, because you feel like a zombie without it, it's time to cut back, or kick the habit entirely. Drinking coffee drains the adrenals and thus make you more tired and make you need coffee more. Only drink coffee if you love the taste and already feel fit and well rested. Get yourself a cup of green tea instead.
- No screens at night! Watching Tv right before bed makes your brain go awry. The brain needs a slow adaption to sleep, a gradual reduction of light, and if you watch TV to the last moment, you're confusing your brain. You'll have more trouble falling asleep and lesser quality of sleep. Instead: read a book, do some light exercise, spend some time talking to your loved ones.
- If you do find yourself with ruminating thoughts at night (which happens when you have worries, or in pregnancy), take flower essences to quiet down. Back's rescue remedy night is very effective, but you can also use single flower essences.
- Whenever possible, take naps. Yes, your kids nap time could probably be well used in a thousand ways, but sufficient sleep is so important it should really be a priority and by all means tops dishes and cleaning. Also when your kids are out, why not take a rest. If you're not a natural napper (like me) then just put your feet up and close your eyes for a couple minutes.