The kids are tucked in bed, the house is ready for the morning rush, and it’s time to close your eyes and rest.
Annnnnnd as soon as your head hits the pillow, you’re wide awake. I’ve been there, done that more times than I care to think about. By the 2AM posts by friends on Facebook, I know I’m not alone.
Getting a peaceful night’s sleep is not as easy as it sounds and with the distractions that abound in the evening, it’s no wonder that rest is often evasive. Instead of struggling in the middle of the night to sleep, try preparing yourself hours ahead of time by creating an evening ritual. Here’s what I do to help get a quiet night’s rest even after the most hectic and stressful of days.
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Tips for Getting a Peaceful Night’s Sleep
1. KNOW YOUR CAFFEINE TOLERANCE
I used to joke that I ran on coffee and Swedish goldfish during those tough toddler days. Sadly, it wasn’t far from the truth. And although the Swedish fish were slowly retired, I went years drinking fully caffeinated coffee up until 7pm. Needless to say, those were not restful nights.
I learned to watch my caffeine intake and slowly started weaning myself back from 7pm to 6pm to 5:30pm to today where my last sip of caffeine is no later than 5pm. Know your body’s tolerance for caffeine and if you need to stop earlier in the day, do. If you just have to have something warm in the afternoon, try a cup of decaffeinated coffee or tea. The old favorite, Sleepytime Tea, still helps calm me down every night.
2. SHUT DOWN
Shut down your devices, that is. I know, I know, this is your only free time to watch cat videos and browse Pinterest uninterrupted, but those things get you thinking and your mind turning over what you should be creating and how you can turn your crazy feline into the next YouTube star.
Try to turn it all off an hour or so before bedtime. If you can’t, at least adjust the “Night Shift” feature on your phone to adjust the color to warmer tones that will cut out the blue light that keeps you awake.
I’m not talking about breaking into complicated yoga poses, I mean slowly stretch out those overworked, child-carrying muscles that have wound themselves tighter than a top throughout the day. If you’re feeling pain when stretching, ease back a bit and don’t stretch quite so far. A good stretching session (even if it’s just for 10 minutes after you brush your teeth) can help you unwind and relax for a good night’s sleep.
And, if you want to try some calming yoga, go for it! I find I always sleep better after a nighttime yoga routine.
4. A WARM SHOWER (OR BATH)
This can get tricky if your bathroom is nestled in the hallway between your children’s bedrooms like ours is, but if you can take a nice, warm shower before slipping on your pajamas, you’re going to feel so much better.
The warm water helps relax your muscles and your mind. However, if it’s a choice between waking up the kids with the sound of the shower running or skipping the shower, skip it for sure! 😉
5. COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS
Whether you pray or meditate, count your blessings before your drift off to sleep. Saying thank you to God or the universe for the blessings in your life, the happiness of the day, and even the fact that you have a warm, comfortable bed to sleep in, fills your heart with gratitude and peace.
It doesn’t have to take a long time and it shouldn’t feel like a chore (if it does, don’t do it!), but a quietly whispered prayer of thanksgiving is a deep breath for your soul and spirit.
Five simple things, five easy rituals that will help you calm that busy mommy-mind and rest easier. Sleep deprivation happens at all stages of motherhood – not just when you have a newborn. Please never feel like you’re alone in it. Take care of yourself, Mama. You’re worth it.