Getting Up & Going to Bed around the same time each day might sound boring, but let me tell you… feeling great because you sleep well is anything but boring!
For mommas of all ages and stages (and with their kids at all ages and stages), I want to reassure you that disruptions will happen BUT the more consistent you can be with waking up and tucking in, the better your chances are at improving the sleep you get.
As much as mornings can really (really!) suck when you’re already tired, you’ll want to begin by figuring out what time you actually need to wake up n the morning. So you want to factor in your work schedule, getting kids ready for school, that sort of thing and then make your decision about the time you’ll be setting that alarm. It’s easier to get a handle on how much sleep you can get when you start at the beginning of your day.
Next, see if you have an idea of how much sleep you actually need. For me, around 7-8 hours is ideal. Some people need more, some need less. This might be something you’ll need to track for awhile to figure out. But just for example, if you know you do best with 7 hours of sleep and you have to get up for the day at 6am, then you’d best be setting yourself up to be in bed BEFORE 11pm at night (very few people hop into bed and fall fast asleep right away).
Once you’ve got that figured out STICK WITH IT as much as possible. Like, actually 7 days a week.
When we’re just feeling exhausted all the time and we look towards the weekend with those stars in our eyes thinking about sleeping in on Saturday and Sunday to “catch up” we are deluding ourselves… and when we follow through with this plan we are actually making our sleep cycle worse! Our bodies are set up with this natural circadian rhythm that flows with the rotation of the sun. Sadly we often develop habits and routines that disrupt this natural cycle, but we can help retrain ourselves by being consistent!
One tool that I’ve added to my Sleep-Success-Toolkit, is the Sleep Cycle app on my phone. I just have the free version and it gives me great info. I can see when I sleep solidly, when things disrupt my slumber, and track those to what is happening in my life (and in my home!). I get super stoked to check out my sleep regularity progress each morning!
A key part of waking at the same time each day may also be getting exposure to 15-30 minutes of sunlight when you wake up. This light exposure reinforces the body’s circadian rhythm and promotes wakefulness in the morning and then allows you to sleep more easily at night. I live in Canada, so for a good part of the year, it is very dark in the mornings. To help maintain my sleep cycle (and for other benefits as well) I got a Verilux Happy Light light therapy box to use in the mornings. It’s now part of my morning routine that I share with my daughter… we sit for half an hour each morning in front of the Happy Light drinking our morning shake and chatting about life and playing with the cat. It’s a pretty nice way to start the day!
There’s lots of benefits of to waking up and going to bed at the same time…
- Easier to wake up
- Easier to fall asleep (less insomnia)
- Decreased sleep deprivation
- Fewer naps needed & less dependence on caffeine
- Improved alertness through the day
- Better focus and mental clarity
- Improved mood
- Less irritability
- Better immune system function
- Safer driving
Sounds pretty good, right?
While you are getting into this new habit, do what you can to Avoid Hitting the Snooze Button repeatedly. I’ve been there. Kind of amazed that I never actually broke an alarm from hitting the snooze so much! Here’s the thing, it’s important that when your alarm goes off at your selected wake time, you get up. You don’t want to lay in bed for an hour trying to catch just a couple more minutes of sleep. You want and need consistency, and this might take some real determination in the beginning.
One last note, things are going to come up …, like kids are going to wake you, fire sirens in the middle of the night, there will be some disruptions at some point. No worries. We deal with what we’ve got to deal with, right? But then we get back on tract and stay committed to the things that are helping us feel better so we can get the most out of our Mom-Life!
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