Before the kids were born and well before I was juggling two jobs, I got plenty of sleep. Back then I didn’t realize just how important getting a good nights rest was to my health, mood and overall well being. I was recently diagnosed with a sleep disorder and have been working hard to improve the quality and quantity of my sleep. Ignoring the problem could lead to diabetes, cardiovascular disease, weight gain and depression. Some of you may be reading this and not even realize that you have a chronic sleep problem but if you’ve experienced any of the bullet points below, you likely do:
- Sleeping for way too long
- Waking up feeling tired or groggy
- Trouble falling asleep (within 30 minutes of laying down)
- Trouble staying asleep (waking up throughout the night)
- Extreme fatigue or lack of energy ***this is how I knew I had a problem
- Urge to nap or sleep during the day
- You feel irritable, grumpy, anxious, or stressed most of the time
- You have difficulty concentrating, thinking clearly or making decisions
- Avoidance of typical activities and/or events
- Snoring, restless leg syndrome, sleep-walking and/or breathing problems
This post is not meant to be the cure for all of your sleep issues. If you think you have a sleep problem, ask your doctor to refer you for a sleep study or incorporate some of the tips below. I also found it helpful to track my symptoms and sleep patterns in a sleep log, both of which ultimately helped my doctor diagnose my Severe Obstructive Sleep Apnea. In addition to using an APAP machine, I also rely heavily on a sleep routine in order to get a good nights rest. The majority of us need a minimum of 8 hours of solid sleep to function well. Some people feel refreshed after taking a 15 min “power nap” while others need 7-10 hours of uninterrupted sleep every night just to survive the day. Small changes can actually improve your sleep while bad habits can hinder it. You’ll know if you are getting enough rest if you are not tired or drowsy the next day.
Tip #1 – Avoid taking naps during the day. If you absolutely need one make sure to limit it to only 30 minutes.
Tip #2 – Avoid having caffeine or alcohol before bed. Some experts say that you should have your last caffeinated beverage by 2pm! Others say drinking alcohol before bed decreases deep sleep and increases sleep arousals. Bottom line: alcohol and caffeine disrupt sleep.
Tip #3 – Make sure that you have the best mattress, bed and pillow to ensure you are always comfortable. Consult third party resources like Review.org and see which mattress is best for your sleeper profile. I spray my pillow with a blend of essential oils and have been obsessed with thisWorks Deep Sleep Pillow Spray (available at Sephora Canada). It’s blend of Lavender, Wild Camomile and Vetivert really helps me relax and fall asleep quickly.
Tip #4 – Follow a routine before bed. Mine includes a skincare regime, tucking the kids in and going to bed and waking up at the same time every day.
Tip #5 – Avoid going to bed too hungry or too full. If I’m hungry before bed, I usually grab a light snack and avoid eating anything too heavy.
Tip #6 – Get up and do something else if you can’t fall asleep in 30 minutes. I start getting really restless and start to toss and turn around that time if I haven’t already dosed off. Physically leaving the bed for a bit and then attempting to fall asleep later usually helps. I hope that someone reading this finds this helpful. Everyone benefits when you get your beauty sleep!