I used to sleep like a rock, I think most of us do until we reach a ‘certain age’ – well apparently I am officially at the age, hello twenty-nine.
I went through a phase of sleep walking, I have always chattered away and sometimes I will have an argument with you whilst I am unconscious, but I always slept through it. As a kid my parents had me in bed by 7pm during the week, and I would always be up early. I am an only child, so I’d slip downstairs at 6am, make a drink and watch TV until my parents came down. That was my routine.
My parents would complain about a lack of sleep, my dad was a fireman so never slept because he was always ‘ready’ for something to happen, and my mum struggled to sleep because of stress.
Even when Matt and I moved in together, I still slept like a rock – I refuse to use the term ‘sleep like a baby’ because I think it’s a lie – I fidget a lot in bed so his sleep was interrupted by mine wasn’t.
Of course nothing prepared me for the lack of sleep after having a baby. It sounds strange but I just thought I would cope with it, like everything. Boy was I wrong! The first nine months were a roller coaster of emotions, nothing stayed the same for long and I was constantly questioning if I was ‘good enough’. All this chaos combined with a few hours sleep meant my body was working against me, it was only when we went on vacation in the September with my mum and dad that I finally felt human again. Each night we alternated which room Greyson slept in, and I think he adjusted really well to the time difference and slept very well.
Last year I really, really struggled to sleep. If Greyson woke up at night, I would get stressed out and upset, I would feel exhausted but wouldn’t take my butt to bed any earlier. I did little to relax or calm down before bed, instead I would take a pre workout and hit the gym, getting home at 8.30 and then needing to eat and unwind. As I write this I am laughing to myself, I cannot believe I put my body and mind through this. It’s almost like I just wanted to prove myself, I wanted to prove I could lose weight again, instead I was running on empty!
So after a few weeks of sleepless nights due to Greyson being unwell, I realised I was going to have sort this out.
You see I have no problem getting myself to the gym, or making time for blogging, yet I didn’t make time for myself to relax. Relaxation was now my priority, I knew everything else would fall into place in time.
With this I created a night time routine, we removed our TV from the bed room and I started making small, simple changes so that I could catch as many zzzzzz as possible!
How do I catch those pesky Zzzzzzzz?
No Caffeine after 3pm
I am a coffee lover, but I have to stop at 3pm! I drink a lot of caffeine in the morning and my body seems to tolerate it, it will be a sad day when it doesn’t! So I cut myself off at 3pm and just stick to water. I might have a decaf coffee at home or I opt for herbal tea.
I have started using Dr Bach’s ‘Rescue Night’ you can either put a few drops on your tongue or into water which you sip. I prefer the water and I have this whilst I work in the evenings. It contains flower essence, and is designed to help with a natural nights sleep. You can also get something called Melissa’s Dreams, which are a natural sleep aid and they have been a great help over the past 12 months. Melatonin is great when you need to sleep, but incredibly strong and not available within the UK.
I tend to work on my laptop in the evenings, so I aim to be switched off by 9pm. This allows me enough to relax, and get ready for bed. I try to finish whatever it is I have started or finish it at a point I feel accomplished otherwise I have a tendency of lying in bed awake, buzzing and thinking about what I need to do with the project next!
I am full of ideas, and because my spare time is in the evening, I tend to find my mind ‘buzzing’ afterwards. If I have had a particularly productive evening I will journal ideas after I switch of my laptop, or I will read a few pages of a book to try and calm my mind but also help me switch off the ‘blue lights’ that are created by electronics.
Epsom salt baths
If I am having a stressful day/week and my body is sore I love to have an Epsom salt bath, a bath in itself is relaxing but the added salts actually help soothe tired muscles.
When Matt and I recently stayed at a boutique hotel we found this Molton Brown bedtime sleep oil in the room, I brought it home with me and I have been rubbing a little on my wrists and neck at night. I have found it incredibly soothing and relaxing.
Ultimately this routine would have been pointless if I hadn’t started to prioritize my sleeping pattern as an important part of my day. In fact it is the most important because it affects how productive I am, and my workouts and food choices, sleep is an incredibly powerful fat loss strategy. To see the fat loss results we crave, we must rest as well as work hard, only then will we become effective.