Sleeping through the night was probably the biggest topic of discussion when my kids were babies. But it's not just little ones who need a good night of sleep! What about us grown-ups?
After recently having a tough time with waking up a lot and not being able to fall back asleep, here are three things I started doing that have helped me sleep through the night.
I Stopped Drinking Liquids at a Certain Time
I'm big into getting a ton of water each day, but when I'm bad about remembering to do it all day, I'll chug a bunch with dinner and then right before bed. I ended up having nightmares about lions chasing me while I searched and searched for a toilet, only to find one with snakes coming out of it! Then I'd wake up in a panic, having to run to the bathroom. I woke several times throughout the night with the unbelievable urge to pee.
I've given myself a cutoff time, just like I do with my kids: no liquids two hours before bed. Now I hit the potty right before bed and don't need to go until my alarm goes off at 5 the next morning.
I Quit Scrolling Through My Phone
Another habit I got into that seemed like a good one, but turned out to be not so great, was researching on my phone in bed. I'd watch YouTube videos on intermittent fasting, vegan recipes, meal prep, the FODMAP diet, pressure-cooker tips, and, my personal fave, inspiring CrossFit videos.
Aside from getting sucked in an hour past my bedtime and feeling exhausted for my early morning workouts, once I finally turned off my phone, it took at least 20 minutes for my brain to settle. If I, by chance, woke up in the middle of the night because the dog barked at the wind, my mind would immediately start thinking about what I had watched right before bed, and I couldn't shut it off. Sometimes it'd be an hour or two before I could fall back asleep!
Now I do my research after putting the kids to bed, but once I step foot in the bedroom, the phone stays on my nightstand. It's weird, but the first few days of no phone before bed felt like I was withdrawing from a drug. I kept telling myself, "OK, just one video," but I knew one video would lead to 17. Now my new habit is to turn off the light and make a mental list of all the things I'm grateful for. I usually drift off to sleep within 10 minutes, with a calm smile on my face.
I Controlled My Portions
Overeating at night has always been an issue for me. For some reason, I eat a perfectly portioned lunch, snack, and dinner, but then afterward I just keep eating, even though I'm full! Since I do intermittent fasting, and it was still within my eating window, I'd just keep noshing, going for a second dinner, enjoying a little dessert, and then nibbling while making the kids' lunches for the next day.
I felt so full and bloated that pains would keep me up at night. So while my eating window is usually noon until 7 p.m., I don't pay as much attention to the clock anymore. Now I try to focus on how I feel. Once I finish dinner and I feel satisfied but not stuffed, I'm done. That means I stop eating at least two and a half hours before I go to bed, which is usually around 9 p.m. (I know, I'm old!)