The pandemic has affected us all in a number of different ways. Not only have I been put off homeschooling for life, but when the lockdowns were at their peak, there were worries about friends and family, the virus itself, work, and just generally getting by. All of this combined leads to a lack of a good sleep routine or not having a particular schedule like you might have had in the past. If this sounds like you, then the impact of this could be carrying on in your daily life and routines.
It is good to remind ourselves that there is always time to change and to improve lives, in order to have a happier and healthier lifestyle. At the end of last year I had my third child, so I know now more than ever just how important it is to look after myself. I can’t look after my family if I’m not looking after myself, and that starts with getting a good night’s sleep (or with a baby, just making sure the sleep that I do get is of a good quality).
Why is sleep so important?
Sleeping well and sleep-care are the new self-care. The reason for this is that it holds an important place for your health and wellness. The amount of sleep that you get impacts your whole body, from your immune system to mood, just to name a couple!
I think we all know the impact that not sleeping well has on us (ahem, enter a newborn). It definitely makes me quick to anger and irritable. This has a knock on impact for my health, both mental and physical. So with that in mind, here are some of the things that I do, and that I think help to make a difference, when it comes to getting good quality sleep, in order to help protect mental health and help us all feel good.
Choose a good quality pillow
The things that you have around you really do make a difference to how well you sleep. If you’re uncomfortable, then it can stop you sleeping, or if you’re unsupported, then you can wake up in pain which isn’t going to lead to feeling good or having a happy day. I love using my TEMPUR® pillow which has a really unique design. The design helps it provide me with proven pressure relief as it evenly distributes weight and pressure across the pillow. The memory foam of the pillow also makes for a very comfy night’s sleep. The pillow helps to reduce any tossing and turning and it can also absorb motion from a partner moving in bed. A winner all round!
I know for me, I am a deep sleeper when I actually am asleep, so I barely move. Having a pillow that can support that and gives pressure relief and not leave me with a sore neck in the morning makes such a difference.
Establish a sleep routine
Just as I create a bedtime routine for my five-month-old baby with a bath, baby massage, milk, and bed, adults and older children can really benefit from still having a routine around bedtime. Having a usual waking up time, and a set bedtime can be really important. There’s science behind this too; a routine can support your circadian rhythm, which is how your body can regulate your wake and sleep cycle.
Eat nourishing food
As the old saying goes, you are what you eat, and it does impact your sleep, as well as mood and mental health. By avoiding foods that are sugary and high in carbohydrates before bed, it will help you to sleep better as your body will likely be in deep sleep for longer without these. The best things to eat are lots of fruits and veggies, as well as low-fat meat and fish if you eat them. Snacks before bed should be things like hummus, cheese, or nuts, as they have lots of protein.
Benefits of getting good sleep
We all know how we feel when we have a one-off bad night. But not getting enough for your needs does have a negative impact on your whole life. For example, you’re more likely to be happier and more productive when you’ve slept well and you will have an increase in energy and concentration. Did you know that there are studies that have shown that lack of sleep can lead to things such as mood disorders, depression, anxiety and panic attacks. It can lead to weight gain too, which is not what I want post-baby.
What are some of the things that work for you to help your sleep? It would be great to hear what you think.
*This post is in conjunction with TEMPUR® but all thoughts are my own.