I’ve decided I’m not going to wait until January 1 to start going to bed earlier. I want to get going, so I’m starting tonight, December 30. It makes sense to start on a Sunday since my strict 10pm bedtime nights are going to be Sunday-Thursday and my more lenient nights will be Friday and Saturday. So, why not jump right in tonight, right? I feel ready.
I’ve been reading the book Why We Sleep: Unlocking The Power Of Sleep And Dreams by Matthew Walker, PhD and I’ve been asking people on Instagram all about their bedtime routines and what they do in order to get a good night’s sleep. You see, I am a “get to bed early” beginner. I have been staying up WAY past my bedtime for yeeeeeears and years. (Just ask my parents, and now Colin.)
One of my most popular essays I’ve written for Motherly is called “To the mother who stays up (way) past her bedtime” because that is basically me to a T. I stay up late because a switch flips in me and says “OKAY, IT’S GO TIME”—time to be creative, time to focus on something I didn’t have time to focus on during the day, time to relax and unwind by myself without anyone needing anything from me (because they’re all sound asleep).
Motherhood is all-consuming. Life is busy. And I’m an introvert. I recharge by having time to myself. But I don’t get a lot of time to myself in this season of life, while raising three tiny humans (almost five, almost three and 15 months). So my solution has always been, well, just stay up for a few hours after everyone goes to bed and that’s my time for me.
And it has served its purpose many nights for me to get some time to myself to focus on something I just want to focus on. But I’m going to estimate that about 90-95% of the time, my staying up late is actually not helping me at all. It’s actually (definitely) hurting me.
Why We Sleep has been an eye-opener so far. A lack of sleep over time is associated with weight gain, depression, anxiety, high blood pressure, cancer, Alzheimer’s and more. This book is going to scare me into a better sleep pattern!
I think that this past year—in all of its extreme chaos and beauty—has taught me that things don’t have to feel as w i l d as they have been feeling. I’ve realized that if I slow down for a second and clear my mind a little bit, that I can actually make space for a little bit of organization and control in my life.
I have been overwhelmed. There have been many times I have broken down to my husband Colin the second he walks in the door because I don’t know how to balance working from home part-time with three kids and bills and wanting to do things that are just for me. I have felt like I’ve been drowning in responsibilities and to-dos. I have panicked many times because I haven’t even known where to begin to make changes where I know things need changing.
I believe that getting more sleep and a higher quality of sleep will help tremendously. I know that sleep is important. I understand I should be prioritizing it. If I were to hypothesize, I’d say that consistently getting eight hours of sleep every night will lead to more patience, less frustration, feeling happier, an increase in energy, an ability to wean off of my four cups of coffee per day, and MORE.
I am feeling so ready.
I’ve been preparing mentally today and honestly, I’ve been excited for bedtime all day. 😜 I’ve put new sheets on our bed, I’ve made a little lavender spray with essential oils, I’ve got my salt lamp ready and I’ve researched some sleep meditations we can listen to.
My plan is:
- Cutting off screen time at 9pm
- Brushing my teeth and washing my face, I’ll do a face mask tonight since I’ve decided that Sunday nights will be my face mask nights
- Reading my sleep book in bed with my book lamp
- Spraying my pillow with my lavender essential oil spray, rubbing lavender essential oil and coconut oil on my feet, and diffusing lavender essential oils
- Listening to a sleep meditation as we drift off to sleep!
I’m going to keep this routine exactly the same from Sunday to Thursday of this week and will make any modifications next week to see what changes/helps/stays the same, etc.
Wish me luck!