Most people don’t get enough sleep. How many times have you heard people or yourself complain about being tired? I know that most any time anyone asks me how I’m doing anymore, I say that I’m tired. I haven’t been able to sleep as well as I once did now that I’m pregnant.
Sleep is super important for recovery. I once listened to a podcast on sleep, that featured a physician who works with Navy Seals, and he stated that if you don’t get good, restful sleep, you negate everything else good you do during the day. Now I don’t know if that’s completely true, and honestly I hope it isn’t, but there’s definitely a good take-home message there. Sleep is when a majority of our healing occurs. So if you have a nagging injury, recovering from surgery or a recent injury, getting good sleep will help you recover quicker.
Improving your sleep is kind of like getting enough water I think, it’s fairly easy to do, it just takes a bit of effort. Some steps that you can take to improve your sleep:
- Try to cut off time spent on electronics before going to bed. The light emitted by our devices and other things like TV, causes our brain to stay active and doesn’t allow it to begin to wind down. Consider swapping out your electronic usage for something else like reading, journaling or coloring. Those activities are probably likely to be more fulfilling as well.
- Address light and darkness in your room. Consider adding or changing window treatments to adjust the amount of light coming into your room. You may also have to take in account the direction windows in your room face as well, i.e. windows facing the East will probably get light sooner in the morning.
- Make your bed a place you enjoy and feel comfortable in, to encourage you to get to bed sooner. Whether it’s getting new sheets, better pillows or adding a pillowtop, do what you need to do.
- Set an alarm on your phone about 45 minutes to an hour before you go to bed to remind yourself to decrease technology use and begin to unwind.
- If you’re someone who always has a million things on their mind (most women), consider keeping a pad of paper and a pen by your bed. As you’re lying there waiting to fall asleep, and something important pops into your head, you can just reach over, jot it down and relax.
- Consider meditation or other mindful practice before bed. I used to practice diaphragmatic breathing right before going to sleep, and sometimes it would put me to sleep. Try laying on your back, one hand on your belly and the other on your chest. Focus on breathing in through your nose and filling your belly up with air, causing that hand to rise. Focus on the belly hand rising, and then breathe the air out of your mouth.
I think many people will blame their lack of sleep on how busy they are. However, I wonder if we all took a closer look at our time management, if we could find ways to improve it and give ourselves more sleep time. A recent post I saw challenged viewers to start documenting how they spend the last 60 minutes of their day before falling asleep. I know that I could definitely benefit from utilizing this method, I tend to slow down at the end of the day and spend quite a bit of time on social media because I’ve been so busy throughout the day.
Pregnancy & Sleep
For my fellow mom-to-be’s, I think it gets to a point where sleep is just hard. Depending on what the baby is doing, what the size of your belly is like, etc., will all affect how you sleep I think. One thing that I have learned is buy a body pillow. I finally bought a pregnancy body pillow on Amazon a couple weeks ago, and it’s been one of the best things I’ve gotten for this pregnancy. I was having a lot of round ligament pain, and pubic discomfort, which always seemed worse at night while rolling over in bed. And unfortunately, I seemed to be rolling over a lot due to be uncomfortable. My body pillow is a big “C” shaped pillow, and has all but eliminated those previous feelings I had. I can now lay comfortably on my side, and easily roll onto my back with all the support I need. My sleep is a lot more restful than it was previously. Unfortunately, I’m still waking up at least a couple times a night, but now I try to take advantage of that time to go to the bathroom. I have found that if I wait, and wake up later with a very full bladder, it can be really hard and a little bit painful to get myself up and moving due to the increased pressure in that area.
Here’s the pillow I ordered: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01KIQH2VU/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
The only complaint I really have with the body pillow is that sometimes it’s difficult for me to get out of bed. I am most comfortable sleeping on my side facing the edge of the bed, so that’s where the long part of the pillow goes. Trying to maneuver around the pillow can be challenging and a little painful if I don’t take it slow. I’ve found that simply folding the pillow in half one way improves this situation. My cats also love to sleep with me, and they have been struggling to try and find a spot to sleep between my pillow and I.
What suggestions do you have for improving your sleep