We have all done it before, ended up in a social media or YouTube spiral on our phones when we should have been sleeping. The aftermath is not enough sleep and a terrible next day that leads to unhealthy sleeping patterns in the long term, and a lack of ability to fully concentrate on any task.
When I became a housewife, my sleeping patterns were shocking to say the least. I would only get to bed at 2am and end up sleeping until 11am everyday, sometimes I would only get out of bed at lunch time. As a result, I never had a chance to get to everything that I wanted to and as a result, I stopped focusing on anything I had planned and just watched TV when I was awake. I gained an enormous amount of weight and lived off junk food. It got the point where a year had passed and I had not even written an exam towards my qualification. I knew something had to change. Setting an alarm and trying everyday to wake up by 7am while staying up every night scrolling through social media until 1am was not working for me. I was constantly exhausted and didn’t know how to fix my sleeping patterns. I had been sold on the hustle, where sleep didn’t really matter, or wasn’t as important as being awake and doing ‘things’. Even though I was not accomplishing anything, I was sitting and making study notes with little to no understanding of what I was actually writing.
It wasn’t until sometime in the middle of 2018 that I came across Arianna Huffington discussing her book ‘The Sleep Revolution’. While the book was released in 2016, this was the first time that I had heard about the importance of sleep. I heard about her night time routine that ensured that she felt rested and ready for the day ahead when she woke up in the morning. The one thing that stuck with me was that her bedroom is a phone free zone. We have been conditioned to use our phones for everything including as an alarm clock, and sold this lie that sleep is not as important as the hustle culture.
The truth is that you need sleep in order to function at an optimal level. The average person requires 7 – 9 hours of sleep a night, with specific percentages of that sleep spent in different sleep stages. There are five stages of sleep, namely: Wakefulness, Relaxed Wakefulness, Light Sleep, Deep Sleep and REM sleep which is the stage where dreaming occurs. Each stage is important but when you are sleep deprived, deep sleep is usually recovered first which may mean that sometimes in your sleep cycle, REM may be completely skipped. This becomes detrimental as this is where memory consolidation occurs. REM sleep should account for 20 – 25% of your nights sleep and is vital to mental health as well as memory consolidation and learning.
Light sleep usually accounts for 45 – 50% of a healthy adults sleep. This is the sleep where rest and recuperation occurs. Deep sleep, on the other hand, is vital for cell repair and rejuvenation. During this stage of sleep, waste is removed from the brain (glymphatic system), glycogen is replenished and is more focused on long-term memory storage. Ideally, if you sleep an average of 8 hours a night, you would go through all 5 sleep stages which is the ideal situation.
What makes for a good night’s sleep? Here is what works for me:
- No caffeine after 3pm. While someone else may be able to have a cup of coffee at 4pm, if I have any caffeine later than 3pm I will not be able to fall asleep no matter how tired I am. You have to test what time works for you, but this is what I have personally found works for me.
- No liquids after 8:30 pm. There is nothing worse than waking up in the middle of the night (especially in winter) to go to the bathroom. This is another tip that will differ from person to person. If I have anything to drink later than this, I will definitely wake up in the middle of the night.
- Go to bed at the same time every night, even on weekends. This weekend, my husband and I spent some time catching up on movies that we hadn’t yet watched. As a result, we went to bed over an hour later than we usually do and we are feeling the effects of it on our sleeping patterns today. Usually, we go to bed at 11pm every night and are usually asleep by 11:30. This helps us to wake up around the same time every day feeling well rested.
- Intermittent Fasting – I have been doing IF for a few weeks now and I have noticed that it has helped me sleep a lot better. My last meal is usually between 5pm and 6pm and has dramatically improved my energy level.
- I have a night time routine. This is important because it tells your body that it is almost time for bed. My night time routine is usually just a simple trip to the bathroom, taking my contact lenses out and replacing it with my glasses (so I can see where I am walking) and putting oil on my face and my cuticles.
- My last tip is that I do not take my phone with me to bed. I have a fitbit so I am able to set an alarm on there if needed but my phone doesn’t enter the bedroom at all. If my phone enters the bedroom, I am guaranteed a bad night’s sleep. My room is also a place where sleep is the prime activity. I never study or work in my bedroom.
While there are more tips and tricks that you can use, these are the ones that I am currently using as a housewife and student. While I am sure that this will change once I am working full time again, they are easy to implement into your routine and work well.
What does your night time routine look like? Let me know in the comments below!
-The Uninspired Blogger