As I hit snooze for the 3rd time to roll over and catch just a few more minutes of z’s, I coached myself to just GET UP. Pull the covers off and put one foot on the floor, then the other, and march to the bathroom to start getting ready for work. I always feel better when I just get up, so why do I keep hitting that snooze button, just to torture myself!? Same for you?
This led me to do some research on whether snoozing actually helps you feel more rested. It’s common knowledge that getting 7-8 hours of sleep is ideal for us to function throughout our day, but with motherhood, especially as we wait for those nights that our babies start sleeping a long enough stretch for us to even think about getting 7-8 hours, this can be quite the challenge.
According to the Cleveland Clinic, if you’re hitting snooze on the daily, it’s time to look at your sleep habits. If you’re truly getting 7-8 hours of sleep and still laying in bed long after your alarm goes off, you may want to pay a visit to your physician to make sure there isn’t an undiagnosed sleep disorder that could be contributing to your urge to keep hitting that button.
Lack of sleep over time can lead to weight gain as well as cardiovascular risks — so it is important to get to the root cause of your exhaustion. This proved to be true for my dad just a few months ago as we realized his sleep apnea over the years had contributed to his cardiovascular disease, ending with a (successful) triple bypass surgery. It was at that time in the waiting room during his surgery that I decided to take my sleep more seriously.
Here are a few tips I have implemented that have been helping me, and I hope they can help you, too.
NO TV IN THE BEDROOM
This has been a rule of ours for almost five years and we haven’t turned back. The quality sleep we both get far surpasses the nights we had the TV on before bed.
I know many families thrive with co-sleeping. As much as I LOVE snuggling with my babies (err … 3 & 6 year old), I just do not sleep as well when sharing a bed with them. I prefer my own space with no one touching me while I sleep. We (or maybe I should say I) had gotten into a habit of letting our boys climb in bed with us in the middle of the night and stay there. You know what this means — feet in the face, knees in my back, and finding myself with 6” of room in a King-sized bed. I struggled with wanting to soak up those snuggles but being a zombie the next day because of my lack of good quality sleep, so started really talking to both of them about how we would snuggle in the mornings or at night before bed. It took a few weeks of reminders, and although they will occasionally sneak in now, it is happening much, much less instead of a nightly occurrence.
SET THE BEDTIME FEATURE ON YOUR PHONE
I had never even heard of this feature … I know, I know, have I been living under a rock?! I set my phone to alert me 15 minutes before my ‘bedtime’ and the blue light on my screen goes off at 9 pm to help my eyes adjust and prepare for sleep. I wake up to the most soothing tones now instead of an obnoxious alarm noise, and it has made such a difference.
TURN OFF DEVICES
Speaking of the blue light on our devices: it delays your body’s internal clock, suppresses the release of the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin, and makes it more difficult to fall asleep. Go to the settings on your phone to turn off the blue light, or read a book instead.
SET THE TONE
I have found that when I have a clean room (definitely not always the case in my house) and have it cool and dark with the fan going at a certain speed to create airflow and white noise, I fall asleep faster and wake up feeling more rested.
If all else fails and you find yourself tired and groggy mid-day from a poor nights sleep, set a timer for 15 minutes — whether you’re at home or at work — and just close your eyes. Even if you don’t fall asleep, giving your mind a 15-minute break can be just what you need to feel more energized and focused.