Now that my daughter is starting preschool and we’re going to have to wake up and function early in the morning, a good night of sleep has become even more important to me. Sleep schedules and routines have been something I’ve always struggled with as a mother, but I’ve been trying to find a good rhythm for us in the past few days.
One of the problems I’ve had is that, after the babies are asleep, I end up staying awake for hours streaming shows or wasting time online and then having a hard time falling asleep afterward, so then in the morning I’m exhausted and grumpy and not the kind of mama I want to be. So learning how to let my body and mind wind down at the end of the night has been really important and I thought I’d share with all of you in case you also have a hard time getting to sleep at night!
The time between when the kids are asleep and when I go to sleep is the only “free” time of my day and I can get caught up in feeling like I have to get a million things done and be ultra productive because it’s my only window to work. But then somewhere along the way I end up spending my whole night on the couch streaming shows on Amazon and then waking up to a perpetually messy home, day after day. Instead, I’ll try to choose two or three chores - do the dishes, put away some laundry, and pick up things off of the floor - and then make sure to give myself a break after. And I may or may night be watching The Man in the High Castle on the iPad while doing my chores. Not sure if it's a good idea (actually, pretty sure it's a bad idea but I still love it).
After my mama chores or whatever I have to get done, I try to spend time journaling, prayer journaling, coloring an adult coloring book, or reading. Be intentional about relaxing: brew a cup of chamomile or “sleepytime” tea, listen to calming music, stretch -- be mindful of what you are doing and intentional about helping your body and mind prepare for sleep. I try to do this for at least ten minutes.
Then when it is time to go to sleep (maybe around 10 or 10:30), I'll brush my teeth (obviously) and wash my face with lavender soap / face wash or put on lavender lotion or even lavender hair spritz. All the lavender things - I love them so much and they're so relaxing - whenever I get my life a little more together I'm hoping to make a few DIY lavender sprays/washes/scrubs/lotions/loveliness.
Mentally accept that my sleep may be interrupted and it will be okay. One of the hardest things about sleep as a mama with two little ones is that I’ll usually lay in bed and feel on edge because I just know someone is going to wake up crying or asking for water or fall off the bed at any moment. It leaves me feeling tense and wide awake, and it doesn’t make me any less tired when the baby does actually wake up. Instead, I’ll try to let my mind rest and remind myself that if they do actually wake up, I’ll deal with it when it happens - but until then, it’s time to sleep.
Turn up the sound machine. I originally bought this sound machine to help the baby sleep but we’ve actually moved it into our room because it is so soothing (and the baby ends up in our bed for most of the night anyway). Listening to the sounds of waves, along with paying attention to myself taking slow, deep breaths, helps a lot.
As I'm laying in bed, I spend a few minutes in prayer. This is when I reflect on the day, resolve to do better in certain ways, and just talk with God a little bit. I try to do an examination of conscience, making note of whatever I might have done wrong and asking for forgiveness but always ending in a reflection of a few things I did right. I used to feel like such a mess at the end of the day and only be able to focus on how I messed up, but ending the day with a grateful heart and a reminder of the things that went well is so helpful. I also like to pray to our Guardian Angels, St. Michael, and Our Lady.
I'm not saying I do all of these things every day, because I hope we all know that I'm far from perfect, but I have noticed that I sleep a whole lot better and our life in general functions more smoothly when I make sure to rest my mind and body by doing these things at night.
What do you do at night to help yourself rest and relax? And if you are into DIY beauty products, what are your favorite recipes that use lavender? Leave a comment below - I'd love to hear!