I don’t know about you, but when I think of health I think of food and exercise automatically. Have you considered your sleep health? My year end goal is overall health and happiness. I am sure that I am not alone in that. Yes, a nice, beautiful balance. But how do we achieve that balance?
Yes we know that diet and exercise are a large part of health, but do you put value on your sleep? It is important to keep in mind that it takes all the pillars of health for health to come together. I’ll ask you though, how much have you included sleep into your health plan?
What do you feel that you need to conquer regarding your health in 2022?
It takes all three of the pillars to obtain health in life. They are the pillars of health (healthy food, exercise and sleep)! One might also include mental health, spiritual health and even water intake. But in an effort to keep it simple, let’s stick to diet, exercise and sleep. If one is missing – you are not there. A piece of the puzzle is missing.
As moms, we all have a place where we let go just to survive. Sleep is my job – so that’s not my place to let go. I’ve let go on exercise. But I KNOW for many of you, sleep is the place that you let go – as a sacrifice to your children. I want you to know that it does not need to be that way. Your whole family can attain healthy sleep.
You may be saying right now: “Yeah, Yeah Jennie – I hear ya – We’d all love sleep – BUT I am a MOM – no way that is possible!” I am here to tell you that this does not need to be your story. You can have sleep! Your children can have sleep! Your babies can have sleep! Your significant other can have sleep! – …no matter the age of your child. Please don’t let other mama’s stories get in the way of your possibility. Let your possibility be that you can have it all!
This year I focus on exercise. I frankly just want to close my rings on my watch (if you’re an Apple person, you know what I mean). What will you focus on? If it is sleep, follow along:
What is Sleep Health?
Healthy sleep is defined as getting the amount of sleep that your body needs for your age, at the appropriate times of the day – a sleep schedule. Yup that’s right, we all need from newborn to adult, a specific amount of sleep and at specific times of the day. A sleep schedule is important.
Healthy sleep is also defined as independent sleep: the ability to fall asleep and back to sleep without the assistance of anything. Yes, we are all capable of this.
Healthy sleep can also be defined as a safe and sleep conducive environment. Ok so safe sleep as an adult is not as important as it is for an infant but as an adult, it is just as important as it is for our kids. We all sleep better in “cave-like conditions:” dark, cool and quiet.
Why is it important to improve your sleep?
As moms, we know what sleep deprivation can feel like. Remember those newborn days when your baby was up multiple times in the night? But we may not innately know what lack of sleep does to your body.
Sleep is essential for your body. It helps your body to rest and recharge. It allows you remain healthy and helps your body to fight off illness and disease. Lack of sleep can cause your brain not to function properly and impairs your ability to think clearly, process memories and concentrate.
How can you improve your sleep?
It’s funny, much of what you do for a child to improve their sleep is the same for an adult to improve your own sleep.
With children, I recommend a solid and predictable bedtime routine with low lighting. An age appropriate sleep schedule is also important to regulate sleep with our internal biological clocks. I could go on and on about healthy sleep for children, but you came here for you, right?
So here we go, a few quick tips to improve your sleep:
- Set your bedtime and wake time and stick to it.
- Protect the amount of sleep you need. Most adults need 7-9 hours of sleep a night. If that means that you need to help your children with their sleep first (baby, toddler, child – tween – they can do it!!) that is ok and frankly great for their health.
- Turn off technology at least an hour before bed – I know, this is SO hard. But that blue light from the phone and TV can be impacting your ability to fall asleep and stay asleep.
- Create a consistent calming bedtime routine. This readies your body for sleep. It is a communication to your body that sleep is coming.
- Set up your bedroom for sleep. Believe it or not, if your room has a desk with a stack of things to do, it is going to remind you of all of that! Your brain will start turning at night. Clear that room of clutter and make it cozy.
- Avoid stimulants before bedtime – caffeine, nicotine and alcohol. I know, I know mommy wine time – but yes – you will sleep better if limited and kept away from bedtime.
We all stray now and again right? Honestly, that is normal. We cannot be perfect all of the time! My personal rule is 80/20. 80% of the time you stick to the plan and 20% you can vary from it. That creates a healthy balance in what feels like a stringent world to obtain health.
If you continue to struggle with these tips, there is help out there! Please know that sleep is so vital for you as a mom and as a human – you can get there. Include sleep in your health plans for this year.