Happy National Sleep Awareness Week! (March 10-16, 2019) As a Mama, you love your beauty rest for more reasons that we can count, especially since sleep is scare in certain seasons of motherhood. But rest is essential for optimal functioning; it rejuvenates your body, gives you energy, and offers some natural beauty benefits.
The average American sleeps roughly 7 and ½ hours per weeknight (plus an extra 40 minutes on weekends). Most people go to bed just before 11:00pm and wake up around 6:40am. Even though that’s a solid amount of sleep, a large portion (35%) still wake up feeling unrefreshed.
How can you avoid being in that ? of the population? How can you make sure you’re sleeping well, resting your body, and getting adequate amount of time between the sheets? Here are 5 secrets that will help you get the best beauty rest.
Secret #1: Plan your sleep.
You plan your workday, your children’s activities, and your dinners. Why not plan your sleep as well? Only 10% of Americans plan their sleep, compared to 27% who plan our their work and 35% who prioritize their fitness/nutrition.
Factor your sleep into your daily schedule using this handy Bedtime Calculator. Enter in how much sleep you want, then either when you want to go to bed or what time you want to wake up. The results will give you specific times so you can incorporate sleep into your daily planner.
Pause: how can you plan your sleep when you have a baby or young children? Mama, kids may not respect your beauty rest, but they need their Mama. Remind yourself that your children are worth the sacrifice of sleep! Nursing your baby is important work. Nurturing a sick child is valuable. Comforting an upset son or daughter is something only a parent can do best. Life comes in seasons. Your baby will eventually sleep through the night (and so will you). Your sick child will be well again (so you both can rest). Your son or daughter will work through their fears because they know their Mama loves and protects them (so you can each sleep in peace). Sacrifice sleep for seasons of motherhood, knowing that it’s a worthy cause and that sleep in be restored in the future!
Secret #2: Moderate the temperature.
It’s tough to sleep when you’re too hot (hot flashes, anyone?) or too cold (missing your hubby’s body heat?). Aim to keep your home at a cool 60-67 degrees Fahrenheit overnight. Here’s a few expert tips about regulating your body temperature overnight:
- Be sure to have enough blankets on your bed. Keep an extra nearby if you wake up cold. (The same is true for your little kids!)
- If you get hot, stick one foot out from under the covers. It’s amazing how one foot can cool off your entire body!
- Wearing your hair down (so that it covers your ears) can keep your body warmer while you sleep. Consequently, sleeping with your hair tied back will keep you cooler at night.
- Many people suggest going to bed with socks on, and later removing them as your body warms up.
- Having a fan on low can help circulate the air and keep the temperature cool while you sleep. A humidifier can do the same thing (and is helpful to moisturize the dry air during the Winter).
Secret #3: Create a nighttime ritual.
I bet that your kids have a nighttime ritual. Probably something like brushing teeth, going potty, putting on pjs, crawling into bed, reading a book, then kissing Mama and Daddy goodnight. When do we lose those sweet evening routines? Having a nightly pattern will help your body and brain know that sleep is coming shortly.
Try to include some of these suggestions in your nighttime routine:
- Wash your face with warm water.
- Take a shower.
- Brush your teeth.
- Put lotion on your face, hands, feet, or body. (Bonus points if it’s lavender lotion, which is known to be soothing and relaxing.)
- Diffuse a nighttime blend of essential oils.
- Write in a gratitude journal.
- Read a chapter of a book (as long as it’s not too stimulating).
- Kiss your husband goodnight.
- Drink a glass of milk or chamomile tea.
Secret #4: Make yourself tired.
Few things are worse than crawling into bed and finding yourself wide awake. Did you do enough today to make your body tired? Regular exercise is effective at not only staying healthy but also preparing yourself for a good night of beauty rest. Aim for 30 minutes of moderate exercise at least three days per week. Better yet, run around in the backyard with your kids, do some floor exercises (pushups, crunches, leg lifts, etc.) while your children watch television, perform a few squats or calf raises as you cook dinner, or challenge your kids to creative exercises (walk across the room like a penguin, slither like a snake, hop like a kangaroo, etc.).
Mental work, such as teaching your children or solving problems, is also effective. Is your mind awake but your body tired? Journaling, yoga, and meditation are helpful strategies to calm your mind at the end of the day.
Secret #5: Nix technology.
This is probably no secret. Sleeping with your cell phone next to you isn’t healthy. First of all, a notification may wake you up by lighting up the screen or making a noise. Then your mind will be tempted to look at your phone to see who it was and what they want. If you can’t sleep, your first instinct will be to look at your phone, which then stimulates your brain and eyes. Additionally, too much screen time before sleep is harmful in a variety of ways.
Plus, it’s not healthy to keep your cell phone near you at all times. One research study conducted by curious teenage girls, discovered that the radiation emitted from cell phones can kill a plant…what can it do to humans? They had two rooms for this study. Each room had the same type of plant, conditions, and lighting. One room have a wifi router (which emits equivalent radiation as a cell phone) and the other room did not. After only 12 days, the plants near the wifi router were completely dead, while the plants in the other room were thriving.
Maybe we shouldn’t risk sleeping with our cell phone beside our bed. Beauty rest sounds better than death!
Embrace the secrets.
Those 5 simple things can be easy to incorporate into your daily life, and they will reap exponential results in terms of beauty! Your body will heal itself, refresh your skin cells, reduce inflammation and puffiness, help you lose weight, and even bring a smile to your face!