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bed-1024x768I don’t know about you, but I am often the last person to go to bed in my house and the first person to wake up. In the past I couldn’t even get through my day without an impromptu trip to Dunkin Donuts or Starbucks just so I could keep my eyes open and be alert.

I hope you CAN’T relate to this scenario, but if you are a mom you probably can. (sigh)

For many of us getting more sleep is one of the biggest issues we face. With everything we have going on, in any given day it’s easy to write a good night’s sleep off as a “luxury” that you don’t have time for.

But hold fast lady! Sleep is much more important than you probably think!

Sleep is one of the most important components of maintaining your health. No one (not even medical professionals) really know EXACTLY what happens while we sleep, but they do know that NOT getting enough of it leads to:

  1. weight gain
  2. lack of focus
  3. low energy
  4. even depression

So since sleep is a relatively EASY thing for us to do. (Well at least ALL of us have had several years of experience with it.) I think it’s a good place to start to restore and/or maintain our health.

There are some NOT so natural ways to go about getting more sleep. Things like over the counter medications and prescription drugs. These are NOT my focus today. I personally practice sleep techniques that are simple, all natural and side effect free! And I’m going to share those with you now.

Super Sleep Strategy #1 – Give Your Kids A Bed Time And Enforce It!

I realize that this may sound a bit “old fashioned” of me, but it works miracles for my sleeping success. This strategy is particularly important if you have infants because now is the time that those little ones are learning when it’s appropriate to sleep (you know at night) and how to put themselves to sleep. As your kids get older they will have a habit of settling (and quieting) down at a certain time that you decide.

Why is this settling down time so important to YOUR sleep? Because YOU also need to be able to anticipate when you can settle down and begin to prepare for your own bed time. That brings me to strategy number two.

Super Sleep Strategy #2 – Give Yourself A Bedtime

Why is this important?

Because our bodies are designed to change physically and emotionally based on our environment. No different than your mouth watering when you smell apple pie, our bodies prepare for sleep when the environment is “right.”

Here are some suggestions for you to create a sleep environment at home.

Thirty minutes before your intended bed time (which should be no later than 11pm unless you wake up super late in the morning) try the following:

    1. Ditch the technology -Turn down the lights and turn off the TVs, tablets and cell phones. Darkness encourages our bodies to produce melatonin, which is responsible for helping us get to sleep.
    2. Clean the day away– Take a warm shower or bath and actually enjoy it. Finish up with a nice self massage with oil or lotion. Warm water and touch calms our nervous system, helping us feel relaxed.
    3. Stop the monkey brain – It’s hard to fall asleep if your thoughts are going, going, going. Do a quiet activity like reading or writing to help wind down your brain before bed.  Need some help monkey brain? A regular yoga practice can help you calm your nerves, quiet your monkey brain and help you get better quality sleep.  Get this FREE Moms only 30-minute yoga practice here!
    4. Sip yourself to sleep – Chamomile tea is a mild muscle relaxant so sipping a cup of this an hour before bedtime will get your body ready for rest.

Super Sleep Strategy #3 – Take a Pass On The Late Night Booze

While alcohol may make you fall asleep fast, research shows that it actually interrupts your sleep as it metabolizes during the night. So drink your beer, wine or cocktail with dinner instead.

Super Sleep Strategy #4 – Keep an Eye on Your Diet

Remember your body needs to sit upright in order for food to digest properly. So eating anything and then laying down too soon can make it difficult for your food to digest AND therefore make it harder for you to get a good night’s sleep. So make your last meal of the evening at least 2 to 3 hours before bed.

I would also encourage you to avoid eating foods that are particularly hard for you to digest at dinner time or later. So if you are lactose intolerant or have a sensitivity to wheat, eat your bowl of cereal at lunch or breakfast.

Super Sleep Strategy #5 – Bonus For New Moms!

Turn down the baby monitor!

I know. I really know how tempting it can be to get up at your newborn’s every cry. But sometimes babies make noises and they don’t actually need you. So you don’t need to hear every snore, sniffle and fart either!

Most baby monitors have a sound component as well as a light that blinks or increases in intensity as the volume in the babies room goes up. My suggestion? Turn off the sound completely when you are trying to get some sleep and rely on the light component and your natural ear for when your baby REALLY needs your attention.

See, those weren’t too hard were they? While they might not be difficult tips for you to get started with tonight, it doesn’t mean that they can’t be LIFE CHANGING practices that really improve the quality of your life.

So which of these super simple sleep strategies are you going to give a try tonight? Let us know in the comments below!