I am a morning person to the tenth degree, and I’ve been that way for as long as I can remember. My freshman year of high school I signed up for extra classes (the goal was to fulfill my credits faster so that I had a light load senior year), and that meant starting school at 7am, which in turn meant that I had to wake up at 530am and start walking at 620-630am. Fun huh? My crazy self thought so, and that was my routine until I started driving my junior year. But why stop there? After high school I started working the 4am opening shift at Starbucks because it allowed for a more flexible college class schedule. I kept that up for TEN years so that I could work while my kids were small (and asleep for the most part).
I’m still an early bird, even in my adult life. Something about seizing the day, being productive in the morning, and making the most out of twenty four hours motivates me. Funny enough, once 5pm hits, I’m a trainwreck and looking forward to when my head can hit the pillow. My friends and family have grown to accept this, so invitations to night time events are rare and evening text message replies are optional. I have even gone as far as teaching my children to turn in at an early hour *cough*8PM*cough*. Mean mom status? Maybe, but at their age their little bodies need a good amount of sleep and I’m a little more lenient with my older ones, especially on the weekend.
“I can’t fall asleep that early.”
“No way, my kids are still doing homework at that time.”
It’s totally doable, even when we have after school activities, sports, or projects due we don’t stray TOO far from that 8PM bedtime. If you’re looking to fall asleep earlier or simply want to to improve the quality of your sleep, here are a few ways I trained my young self & my kids to get a good nights rest.
At one point in time, I consumed several cups of coffee and energy drinks to power through my two jobs and full class schedule. Typical of most college students right? This unhealthy habit caused me to gain weight, cost more than I could afford, and eventually became ineffective. So I cut down to 1-2 cups (yes, that was progress), quit the energy drinks, never consumed caffeine (including chocolate) after 3pm, and implemented twenty minute power naps! I still love a good power nap, especially when parked and waiting to pick my kids up from school.. it gives me just the right amount of energy to get through activities, homework, and dinner!
Read more about how power naps prove more effective than a cup of coffee here
Did you know there are supplements you can take to aid in a better nights rest? The hormone melatonin improves the quality of your sleep while vitamin B12 is said to increase morning energy. Recently I started taking ORB Sleep Complex because it conveniently had all the vitamins I needed in one capsule. Their cool time release technology ensured that my body got what it needed when it actually needed it.. melatonin at night and B12 in the morning. I no longer had broken sleep and I didn’t feel an immediate need for coffee once I woke up. It felt amazing to experience great results from an over the counter all natural sleeping aid, and not a scary prescription pill.
Side Note: You don’t need coffee in the morning, just a cup of water. Here’s why.
Have you ever watched that show “Nanny 911” where the kids kept escaping their bedrooms at bedtime? Before I became a mom, I took notes from that show, and trust me, their simple methods work!
- Create a routine – Our bodies and kids do best on a regular routine. In our home we eat dinner, bathe, brush teeth and hit the sack. No snacks after your teeth are brushed, you won’t die without a sip of water, and if there are monsters under your bed you should’ve cleaned your room better like I told you to earlier.
- Simmer down – My mom helped me with this when my active son was a baby and I was pregnant with my daughter. Her words were, “You’re going to have two under two, you need to teach him to calm down before bed.” So thirty minutes before you or your kids go to bed, brain stimulation needs to be minimized.. no reading, no television, no electronics, and put your phone on silent. Your mind needs to relax just as much as your body and it can’t do so when you continue to fill it with images.
- Be consistent – Every time kids cried on “Nanny 911” or came out of their room, they were simply placed back in their beds. No conversations, no negotiations, no bribes.. just consistent reinforcement of what was expected. It’s not easy, it is downright tiring, it is almost like potty training.. but trust me that the long term benefits are worth it. In that same sense, as an adult, you must be consistent in your night time routine. Sure, things come up, but if you do not learn to let things wait until tomorrow, the lack of sleep is going to catch up to you.
Set the Mood
Light & temperature. If I can control those two factors, I can fall asleep at any time of day, and I’ve succeeded in helping my kids do the same.
Light – My friends always laugh at me when I go to sleep when the sun is still out during daylight savings. Why not? Eight o clock is eight o clock, regardless of the sun! Invest in some good black out curtains or a sleep mask and light will not be a factor for you either.
Temperature – I do not like being cold. I am a summer loving California girl and anything below 70 degrees is inhumane. But did you know that there is a perfect temperature range for sleeping? Setting your thermostat for 65-72 degrees Fahrenheit has proven to improve sleep quality and achieve a better stage of REM (the moment in which you dream). You don’t have to spike up your energy bill either because letting a fan rotate proves to yield the same benefits, and if you’re like me (I don’t enjoy direct air flow) just point the fan toward the wall to let the air circulate!
Read more about the benefits of sleep temperature here
I am thankful for everything that my mom, “Nanny 911” (lol), and my younger self taught me about a good nights rest. Developing healthier habits, discipling myself and my children, and creating a better environment for sleep has made our night time routine less stressful. I am ready to take on the the next day and my children are better focused in school.. what more could you ask for?
Let me know if you try any of these tricks and how your sleep pattern has improved! Follow me on Instagram or feel free to email me.