Wellness Pillar Series: Sleep

Sleep is my favorite thing. Good sleep is the epitome of self-care. It is a time for your body to recharge and rest. In our life I have found that we all just have more fun when we are well rested.

Before diving into our current sleep habits, it is very important to note that I am not a night owl. When I was little and had sleepovers with friends, I was always the first one to go to bed. I can nap anyplace, anytime. Sleep has never been hard for me, but when we had our kids, things got a little more complicated!

When Michael and I first got married, we always woke up at 5:00 AM, to drink coffee together. Don’t laugh, but we would watch VH1 and MTV music videos. Fergie was very popular then- ha! The memories are so real of those early days together. We always carved out an hour together before having to get ready for work.

Before kids, we didn’t workout in the morning. We would workout anytime we wanted to so didn’t need to factor that in before needing to be at the office at 7 AM.

Fast forward to September 8, 2010. The birth of our little guy, Evan. I am not going to lie, my biggest worry in having a new baby was when we would be able to rest. I am not the most lovely human on a little sleep and so I read so many books on how to get your babe to rest.

My favorites were: Babywise and Healthy Sleep Habits, Healthy Child.

They were both so helpful at helping me understand how to teach Evan and Edie to fall asleep on their own. By three months old, both the kids were on a pretty great routine. Michael and I were so happy to be getting restful sleep after three months of being up all night long. We joke that raising our dog, Pepper, to sleep through the night took longer than the kids! She howled through the night for four months. Little stinker.

Our kids are pretty much on the same schedule they were on as babies. They are in bed by 7 PM, and up at 7 AM. Obviously, they are older now, and some nights when we have soccer they stay up later. Sleepovers and movie nights they stay up later, too. But, for the most part, lights are out by 6:45/7 PM. And, that is usually when I tuck myself into bed, too!

Our morning scheduleΒ  has changed a LOT since we had the kids. We make sure to prioritize the things we need for ourselves in the morning, before the kids wake up for the day. That has meant moving our alarm up to a crazy early 3 AM. Which my Dad calls the middle of the night πŸ˜‰ But, hear me out.

Here is how we spend our sacred 3 AM-7 AM, each weekday (weekends are for later alarms and staying up late sipping wine and watching Netflix together!):

  • 3 AM-4 AM: We still drink our coffee together. We both wake early and watch the news and catch up. Lots of couples do this catching up at night after their littles to go bed, but I am so sleepy at that point. In the morning, I am energized and ready to talk his ear off. He usually loves it.

  • 4-4:30: Make the bed, teeth brush, wash my face, contacts in and get ready to workout. Sometimes I squeeze in a quick laundry load and MB usually unloads the dishwasher.

  • 4:30-5:30 AM: We sweat.

  • 5:30-7 AM: This is a flexible time for us. If I have client sessions from 6-7 AM, I quickly shower up and get ready. If I don’t, I usually do meal prep in the kitchen. Being able to cook in the morning when no one is around is one of my most favorite things to do. I keep the lights low, chop veggies, roast things, steam things, make soups or casseroles. It is a great time. Michael always takes P on a long morning walk and then he logs onto his computer to do work in the AM, too.

At 7 AM, we have filled our cups! We connected as a couple, worked out, tackled important items on our daily to-do list and are ready to parent 110%. We do a lot while most of the world is asleep. But, this time we have in the morning, is purposeful and carved out. No one needs you at 3 AM (unless you have a small babe who may need you ;))

So much of life ebbs and flows. You never really know what waves are going to come and crash upon your family shore. What I do know is that our morning of purpose and joy gives me the mental strength to tackle anything that comes our way. It is one known that I gift myself each day. Also, I don’t hit snooze. I LOVE the morning and know that is not true for everyone. I can’t wait to pour my coffee and sip it on the couch. That quiet calm gets me up every time.

Yes, I go to bed at 7 PM. I know that is so early and for many is dinner time! But, when the alarm rings at 3 AM, you need to tuck in early to get lots quality sleep.

Speaking of quality sleep, there are a few things I have learned over the years that really help me to fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer.

  1. Aim to eat dinner 2 hours before bed and don’t drink fluids an hour before bed.

    1. When your body digests food it gets warm and I find it so hard to fall asleep if my body is hot. And, I really don’t love getting up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom so I really limit fluids after 5. I try to drink my daily water goal before dinner.

  2. No technology 60-120 minutes before bed. The blue light in our phones mimics noon day sun and makes your natural melatonin production slow down. You need that melatonin to fall asleep.

  3. Keep the same schedule each day with minimal variance. Other than Friday and Saturday night, we try to go to bed and wake at the same time each day. Firming up your circadian rhythm also helps you to fall asleep and stay asleep.

  4. We keep a VERY cold room. Like bear hibernation cold. The colder our room, the better I sleep.

  5. I do not drink any alcohol during the week. While drinking may help you to initially fall asleep, it creates fragmented sleep during the night and you don’t get the same quality of sleep. I will have wine on Friday and Saturday, and really enjoy it. But, during the week, I really prioritize sleep and know that alcohol hinders my body from getting its best rest.

I am thankful that our kids enjoy going to bed and sleeping, too. We still huddle up and read each night before bed and I find that is when they tend to open up about their worries and joys. We talk together and have quality time to end their day, every day. That time tends to be when I wind down, as well. The dim light in their bedroom and being read to is so relaxing. Thankful for this time with the kids each day and know that it sets the tone for their sleep each night, too.

Hope that this helps to answer some questions about why we wake up so early and go to bed so early. It is a lifestyle that works for us right now and we totally know that as Evan and Edie get older, they will want to stay up later. Which means that we will, too. I am ready for any pivots we need to make along the way in our journey of parenting these two.

If you have any questions about sleep, morning routines or how to become more of a morning person, just let me know! The bookends to your day truly set the tone- how you start and how you end each day are pretty powerful!

Wishing you all well and hope that you have a great Wednesday!

Love,

BB

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