Sleep is super important to me.
For real! I’m convinced that although there are recommendations out there for the number of hours you should get (ahem – 8? 7? 6?), some people just naturally need more or less than others. 🙂
Unfortunately – or fortunately, depending on how you look at it, I’m one of those people who just plain needs those 8 to 8-and-a-half hours of sleep a night.
My Sleep Story
This natural need of mine (to not stay up too late, to sleep well, and to sleep long enough) was a bit more difficult to meet when I was a college student, of course. It’s kind of the nature of college, isn’t it? 🙂 Luckily, in our apartment-style dorm, my direct roommate Jenna and I were both elementary ed. majors and had to follow similar sleep schedules with our long, intense days of student teaching that included early mornings!
I always knew that my wanting to get good sleep (and hopefully 8 hours of it) could be an inconvenience to others. I always felt bad asking roommates to be quieter in my final couple years of college – because let’s face it, part of the fun of college is staying up late with friends! But I just felt almost trapped because I knew how detrimental a night of really poor sleep could be for my days of student teaching and other intense curriculum and methods classes.
And I didn’t have a good “arsenal” of ideas and methods to really help me sleep well at night.
Now days, I hold to a schedule similar to my senior year of college, when I was student teaching. It makes sense, right? – because I’m still teaching! 🙂 However, now days, I feel much more in tune with myself and what helps me to have a good night’s sleep. Today I’m sharing what I’ve learned with you!
I am typically asleep by 9:45 every night and I get up at 5:40 every morning. #teacherlife 🙂 My husband can do well on less sleep but we still generally make it a point to go to bed together every night. Bless his heart. Bjorn knows I get nervous when I know I’ve got a commitment the next day and I know I’m not going to get enough sleep. (This nervousness comes from knowing myself; I know I need a good night’s rest to function well emotionally the next day, not to mention stay healthy!)
I can already see those of you who are mothers smiling at me and shaking your heads. “Just wait until you’re a mom!” I’ve heard. “You’ll never sleep again!” I get it; parenthood brings with it a lot less predicability in terms of one’s evening routine.
But, regardless of parental status, I still believe that #1, some people just plain need more sleep than others do, and #2, there are things we can ALL do to rest better at night, setting us up for greater success the next day (and week).
Here’s what is really working for me – and hopefully these tips or items will help you as well!
8 Things That Are Helping Me Sleep Better
1 // Peaceful music. Never, ever underestimate the power of music to relax you. There have been days I’ve been worked up and had to force myself to turn on my low-key music and just like a switch, when the music started, I let out a deep breath and felt my emotions reset.
I shared my “Low Key Bee” Spotify playlist in a past post but I’ll also embed it here:
If you’re really not a fan of music, then consider using the sound of rain 🙂 I like to use Rainy Mood when I want to hear raindrops even when it’s nicer out.
2 // Prayer time. We recently got a rocking chair (I scored it at our city-wide garage sales a few weeks ago) and I love sitting in it every evening to rock and pray over my prayer list. My mind sometimes wanders when I pray for a longer period of time so it has worked well for me to record my general prayer requests on an index card. I don’t just want to sit and focus 100% on my requests, although I know that God hears our petitions. I try to also focus on gratitude and trust, resting in our Savior and His promises. That helps me approach sleep, not to mention the upcoming day, with more joy and rest.
3 // My “Beauty Sleep” Melatonin Gummies. I’ve been loving the vitamins I’ve incorporated into my life lately. I’ve been taking Vitafusion Beauty Sleep Gummies and loving them! For me, the small amount of melatonin helps me fall asleep more quickly and not sleep as lightly…Bjorn tried them, too, and for him, he feels he gets better quality sleep so he doesn’t have to sleep as long. For both of us, we like the melatonin because we wake up feeling more refreshed. I don’t take this absolutely every night, but I still take this often. Even the small amount of melatonin in these gummies has helped with my evening relaxation routine!
4 // Super slow breathing. My husband is a rockstar when it comes to this, and relaxation in general. With so much going on in his life, one would expect him to be stressed – but he is probably one of the least stressed (while still extremely ambitious!) people I know! (See more stress relief tips from Bjorn.) Plus, I am a huge cuddler 🙂 So snuggling with my husband always relaxes me!
5 // Tea. Basically any warm beverage that doesn’t have caffeine. 🙂 It’s amazing how warming yourself from the inside out can just relax and calm you! The goal of getting ready for bed is to relax yourself as much as possible prior to that panicky moment when you realize you should be in dreamland already! 🙂 Tea really helps me with that.
6 // Put away the phone and read instead. Bjorn and I are HUGE readers! He brought over 500 (at least!) books into our marriage and I’ve certainly added a few. One of our favorite ways to conclude the day is to spend time reading in bed. There’s something about a heavy book in your hand that forces you to relax, soak up the story, and give your mind the break it needs. Scrolling through a phone does not have the same effect. I heard a study once that said melatonin production gets messed up when you spend time on a bright screen right before sleeping. This is an area I’d really like to improve in, since I still struggle with checking my phone before I sleep. I never regret putting down the phone and reading a book instead, though. It’s totally worth it! Do you read before bed?
Something important to remember:
- The relaxation or “winding down” process starts well before you actually crawl into bed! Slow down when you get home from work, if possible, or maybe after supper. Whenever you can start easing into your peaceful mode, do it! It’ll give you that head start with your sleep.
Now, I want to hear from you! I’m super curious about what helps you to sleep better at night!
Do you usually get 8 hours of sleep per night, or less than that? What items or routines do you use in order to feel more well-rested?