You had full intentions of hitting the gym this morning, you had your clothes ready the night before, you knew what workout you were going to smash, BUT then, the baby woke up! Your toddler was awake next because they wet the bed and of course the cat was running around the house possessed! So when the time came and your 5am alarm went off, you turned it off and rolled back to sleep!
Yes! We’ve all done it, even me! But, what we know as parents is, that this can happen multiple nights in a row and if we snoozed every time it happened, we would never do anything.
So how can we ensure that even after a shitty night, we still get up at that alarm (the first time), and start our day? Today I am going to share 15 ways that you can get the best sleep with the little sleep you actually have and conquer the day.
To begin, and I know I’ve mentioned this before, get a solid sleep routine. By consistently having the same bedtime routine, you train your body to know it’s time for bed and this allows you to wind down and create melatonin (the sleep hormone). So what can this look like? Let’s begin!
The Sleeping Room
Creating a relaxing sleep area will allow your body to know it’s time for sleep. If you keep the bedroom free of distractions (ex. T.V.) your body will always sense that the bedroom is the place for sleep and won’t be roused by other elements. Here are some things you can do to ensure a sleep welcoming room;
- Keep your bedroom pitch black. Invest in dark window coverings and keep the door closed to avoid other lights entering the room. Darkness maximizes melatonin production in the body, which will help you to sleep.
- Keeping the bedroom at the right temperature will allow you to feel more comfortable and will keep you from waking from being too cold or too hot. Find a temperature that works for you and your partner so that you can both sleep well.
- Keeping the room quiet can allow for a better sleep, so when the kids aren’t waking you up, make sure that the room is nice and quiet. If you live near busy streets investing in a white noise sound machine may help drown the outside noise.
Eating and Drinking
- Limit or stop caffeine just before 2pm. Caffeine after 2pm can disrupt your deep sleep cycle and keep you from reaching it fully. The same goes from having more than 1-2 drinks of alcohol in the evening. Having more than 2 alcoholic drinks can change your sleep cycle and keep you from reaching your sleep goals.
- Eating large meals in the evening will keep you awake longer as you are full. Keeping meals smaller but consuming the right types of foods can help with sleep. Eating a minimal portion of low processed proteins, carbs and fats will keep you satisfied until the morning. Eating slow digesting carbs can also help you feel sleepy.
- Limiting your fluid intake will help prevent constant bathroom breaks. Because let’s be honest, if the kids are keeping us up at night, adding bathroom breaks will cause more sleep deprivation.
The body wind-down
- Calming the body before bed is a great way to prepare to sleep. Think about downloading a meditation or yoga app and devoting 10-15 minutes every night to clear your head and move your body to a resting state. If mediation and yoga is not your thing, but you struggle to clear your mind, perhaps writing in a diary can allow you to release thoughts and worries and allow your mind to be at peace before bed.
- Having a shower or bath before bed can help us relax and de-stress from our busy day. Having a bath with Epsom salts also is known to help with sleep.
- No electronics 30 mins before bed. This includes; phones, tablets, T.V. etc. The artificial light interferes with your production of melatonin and will keep your brain over-stimulated.
- Going to bed at the same time teaches your body when to release melatonin and when to get ready for sleep. In addition, getting to sleep before 12 am is extremely important as every hour of sleep before 12 am will actually count for 2 hours of sleep in the long run.
Ok, so we know what we need to do in order to fall asleep faster and get the best quality of sleep we can. Now, here are some ways to properly wake up and feel rested.
- Waking up at the right time or at the right time in your sleep cycle will allow you to feel more rested. Think about getting a device that can sense sleep cycles and program it to wake you up during light sleep. Most of our phones have this ability, but investing in a proper sleep cycle aid can make the difference in your sleep.
- Waking up to light instead of an alarm will also improve your wake up time. There are many light alarms out there that can be set to gradually lighten to wake you up at a certain time. This naturally rises cortisol levels which help you feel more relaxed, less groggy and more alert in the morning.
- Having a regular exercising routine is important to help normalize the 24 hour body clock, help you regulate your flight or fight system and optimize your hormone levels. Having control of all this will help you find better sleep.
- Start moving right away. Once your alarm goes off, get out of bed immediately and start moving. The longer you roll around in bed, the more your body will want to get back to sleep. Think about the 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 rule and count yourself out of bed. Don’t give yourself enough time to think and just move.
- Finding light or using a light box will set your daily melatonin rhythm and increases wakefulness during the day.
By implementing some of these 15 tips and tricks, you can easily feel your body change, as now you will feel more rested and regardless of how many times the kids get you out of bed, you will still have the energy to get up at the alarm, go to the gym or workout at home and then begin your day. So, we can stop blaming the kids for our missed workouts and start or continue seeing progress.
Share and comment below, or on our Free Facebook Page for Dads, what have you implemented that has really impacted your sleep.