At different stages of my life I’ve had different reasons for struggling to get a good night’s sleep. When I was a teenager I was a restless insomniac, always up until the early hours of the morning listening to music or writing my teenage problems in my teenage diary. And then it was onto uni where my lack of sleep was solely because of FOMO and having to go out every night possible (I made good use of the student loan), before life got serious and I’d lie in bed going through my mental ‘to do’ list for work the next day, or having one of those horrid ‘oh shit I forgot to do that’ moments at 1am.
But no matter what my reasons for not sleeping, I’ve never really felt like I’m getting enough!
Ironically, at this current stage in my life as a mum of a 14 month old, I seem to be getting the best sleeps I’ve ever had. I think this is partly down to appreciating the gift that is sleep so much more, following those first six months of sleep deprivation (i.e. HELL ON EARTH) and I’m still in that mindset of making the most of every minute of sleep I can get for fear Taylor might start waking in the night again one day soon.
It’s also thanks to Mr M who’s the complete opposite of me and starts turning off the lights around me and kicking me off the sofa at 10pm, which is exactly the type of husband I need!
Don’t get me wrong, although I’m in the bedroom for 10.30pm, I’m what Mr M calls a ‘faffer’. I’m not sure if every woman is like me, but it seems to take forever to complete my evening skincare routine (i.e. taking off my makeup and moisturising my face). I then have to check on Taylor and sit on the loo until I wee, even if I don’t actually need to go. And I have an obsession with applying lip balm before I sleep – so if I can’t find the said lip balm I have to search for it until I can finally settle into bed! Ridiculous, I know.
But I digress….Becoming a parent has definitely made me appreciate sleep so much more and I do love that I’m able to get a good night’s sleep once again.
I was recently approached by Yorkshire Linen to take part in #PatchUpWithYourSleep – an initiative they are running, asking parent bloggers to share their ‘sleeping better’ tips. For any new parents out there, these tips won’t make your baby miraculously sleep through the night. I’ve previously written posts on those early months and what finally worked for us, but every baby is different. So my tips are for parents generally and what we can all do to make sure that we get a better night’s rest – before those early morning wake up calls!
How to help yourself get a good night’s sleep
1. Eat your evening meal as soon as possible
Easier said than done, I know. In the early days with Taylor, we would tend to wait until Taylor was bathed and put to bed before we’d get chance to have our meal around 7.30pm. This is still the case some days, but where possible I try to arrange dinner so that we can all eat together at 5.30ish. Not only does this make our evening feel longer, but it also means that we aren’t going to bed with a full stomach, which always makes me feel restless.
2. Set your phone to flight mode
It’s not uncommon for one of our phones to buzz with a text, social media update or WhatsApp alert at the precise moment I’ve just drifted off. There’s nothing more infuriating and now we always try to remember to turn our phones onto flight mode to ensure that if any noise wakes us up, it’s a crying baby and not a Twitter notification.
3. Treat yourself to a relaxing bath
We’re pretty lucky with Taylor’s bedtime routine and she’s been going to bed without too much resistance since she was around 6 months old. This means that we can enjoy our evenings as we please and I’ll often run myself a bath and treat myself to half an hour reading a magazine. If you really want to take it to the next level, light some candles and invest in some relaxing bath salts – bliss!
4. Invest in super cosy bedding
This winter I gave our bedroom a bit of a makeover. I wanted to create a cosy, inviting space that felt like ours again – following the ejection of Taylor into her own room! As part of that we invested in a new luxury duck down duvet and pillows, which I’d been wanting to do for ages. They made the world of difference and now I can never wait to get snuggled up under the covers. I really do think that comfy bedding is an absolute must for a contented night’s sleep and worth spending a little more money on for good quality.
5. Read before lights out
It can be so easy to have a quick browse of your phone before lights out and before you know it, you’ve been of Facebook for half an hour and somehow ended up checking your emails and now you’re thinking about that friend you need to text back. This year I’ve been determined to get back into reading – as in the reading of books and not my mobile. At the moment I’m reading The Memory Keeper’s Daughter and read a few pages in bed each night, which really helps me to mentally switch off.
6. hang Blackout curtains
I always find that blackout curtains help me to sleep so much better. I found they were especially useful in the first few months after Taylor was born when the best sleep stint we both were getting was between 6-9am. I would like to say here that it also helped Taylor to settle down during the daytime for her naps, but unfortunately this didn’t happen until much later when she was in her own room!
Yorkshire Linen have kindly offered one reader of Mum in Brum a Duck feather and down duvet worth £49.99. Simply enter via the Rafflecopter below. The competition will close on 29th February 2016 and is open to UK residents only. If the item is unavailable at the time of the competition closing, the winner will be entitled to choose another item from the Yorkshire Linen website to the same value.
a Rafflecopter giveaway