I’ve always believed the most important part of your day is the sleep you got the night before. Sleep determines everything. I know because I am blessed with the gift of good sleep. I go hard every day until the time comes that I can’t go any longer. I get into bed and usually within about five minutes, I’m out cold. 99% of the time I have peaceful, uninterrupted sleep for eight to nine hours. Pretty incredible, right? I don’t share this to evoke feelings of envy. I share because sleep is critical to health. I know because this last sleep didn’t come easy, and the difference was unbelievable. We have to get more (and better) hours of sleep!
Things that guarantee you WON’T get 8 hours of peaceful sleep:
1) Noise- The neighbor’s barking dog, the TV that is still on, the list goes on and on. Some are out of your control but others aren’t. Turn the TV off! After you’ve done that, there’s a simple device that needs to be turned ON.
2) Bright lights- Streetlights, nightlights, alarm clock lights, charger lights, spouse’s reading light. Lights need to be addressed ASAP. This is easier than you think.
3) Technology overload- Facebook, Instagram, Twitter (and these are just the ones I know about)! It’s hard not to check every email account and every social media outlet one last time before shutting it all down. We need to try.
4) Dogs (and, I would presume, babies) in the bed with you- They squirm, they scratch, they lick, they kick. Dog and babies who don’t have to work in the morning are disruptive.
Of course there are other factors that contribute to poor sleep like stress, diet and exercise, but we’ll explore those later. For now, I’d love to share some simple secrets I have found that work wonders when you’re hoping to catch more shut-eye.
Buy a fan today! Do not go home without one. This one simple purchase will change your life. Drown out the noises you can’t control. It’s hard to count the number of thunderstorms we’ve slept through, the kind that everyone talks about the next day. And who knows what may have woken up the puppies if we didn’t override it with the peaceful buzz of our fan.
It’s not pretty, it’s not fancy, but my next tip is ingenious.
Cut small pieces and place them over EVERYTHING that has even the faintest light.
Then, purchase some heavy dark drapes for your bedroom, likes these I found at Ikea. If you already have drapes you love, consider having blackout fabric sewn into them. It won’t change the look, but it’ll change the game. Ask me about my seamstress in Charlotte who will help you with this task if you, like me, don’t own a needle and thread!
When you travel, take along some safety pins in case the drapes in your hotel room don’t close completely. Hotel rooms can be the most challenging of all places to make dark.
Apparently there’s science to prove that the light from electronic devices suppresses the production of melatonin, which is a hormone needed for sleep. Experts recommend disconnecting from technology at least half an hour before bedtime if possible. Should we give it a try? I think so!
No one could love their fur babies any more than I do. Henry, my precious and perfect 10 year old Scottie, slept in the bed with me from the time he was six months old until about six months ago. He had a back injury and couldn’t jump up into bed. Since we were afraid he’d jump OFF the bed without our help, we didn’t put him in the bed with us. I was so sad at first, but after a couple of nights, I couldn’t deny that there were less interruptions in my sleep.
Give the fan, the tape, and the drapes a try. I realize the pups and the kiddos will be harder to address. But make the changes that are simple, and see if you don’t enjoy a more restful night’s sleep. Your tomorrow will thank you.