What To Do When the Tired Sets In: Developing Healthier Sleep Habits

I know I am not the only one who feels like I am in a perpetual state of tiredness. I don’t know if it is parenthood, middle age, or just poor sleeping habits. Probably a combination of all of those things and more. But somehow, I get up everyday before 5:00 a.m. and trudge through the day, accomplishing what I can along the way. By about 7:00 p.m., I am completely done. Exhausted. Out of patience. Energy depleted. And ready for bed. And then, suddenly I am wide awake making a mental list of all the things I didn’t get done and need to attempt tomorrow.

Adding insult to injury, I have struggled with sleep issues my entire life. I was a sleepwalker from the ages of 4 to 8, followed by the horrors of night terrors until well into my 20’s. This then led to a decade of insomnia which required sleep aids in order to get any rest. Add in some high blood pressure in my 40’s which requires medication that incorporates a diuretic, a seriously defective bladder (there is an actual hole in my bladder), and pre-menopausal symptoms, and my sleep cycle is tormented with frequent trips to the bathroom combined with night sweats and chills.

Exacerbating the situation, if you have read my last post, you will know that lack of sleep can also trigger manic episodes for me. This is to be avoided at all cost for me. So I do what I can to get enough sleep to maintain a functioning and healthy existence.

You may be wondering, what does she do to maintain healthy sleep habits. If you are as exhausted as I am, you are probably still reading, so I am going to share some tips for improving your own sleep routine. The scientists over at Casper explored how the sleep surface can contribute to healthier sleeping habits, so I thought I’d share them alongside my own tips!

*This is not a sponsored post. I am just passionate about the importance of sleep and healthy sleeping habits as well as all around wellness.

My biggest problem at this point in life is that I get so busy with parenting responsibilities, Army wife stresses, blogging obligations, and all the craziness that comes with recently launching a small business. So when it is time to unwind and go to sleep for the night, I have a tremendously difficult time turing off my brain. Pre-bedtime rituals have helped with this so much. We are very regimented in our house with bedtime routines for the kids and ourselves. When my husband is home, we spend about an hour after the kids are in bed watching light and fun television shows. When my husband is away, I force myself to turn off social media and I play a round or two of a brainless video game. This usually quickly sends me to the Land of Nod.

Noise is a huge issue for me at bedtime as well. I absolutely require white noise in order to sleep. There is always a fan on even in the dead of winter. Without it, I don’t know that I would ever fall asleep. I have (finally) learned to travel with a small fan or sound machine so that I can get appropriate sleep when I am not at home. But perhaps you require silence to sleep, then earplugs may be the way to go for you.

Even before I began experiencing the bliss of nighttime heat flashes, I slept much better in a cool environment. And now, I have to keep it like an ice box in my room at night. The thermostat is set at 62 and I sleep with the ceiling fan on, a small fan on my nightstand pointed directly at my face, and a cyclone fan blowing at my feet. My poor husband suffers from hypothermia on a nightly basis. Yet, he sleeps. As soon as his head hits the pillow…sleep.  #IAmSoJealous

Oftentimes, I get into bed feeling tired, then realize that I simply cannot sleep. Perhaps I am not as tired as I felt. In the past, I would force myself to stay in bed and that became sort of like torture. So I have learned that if I am in bed and I’m just not tired, I get up and do something. This has helped tremendously. I had a therapist teach me a long time ago that bed is for sleep and sex. If you are doing neither, get out of bed. Some of the best advice ever.  Reading a book at this point also helps.

Is anxiety what is keeping you awake? Meditation is a very effective solution. You can find lots of different videos and tutorials online for guided meditation.

Are you going to bed only to quickly awaken to the sound of your stomach growling? Don’t ignore your belly. Try having a light snack to silence those hunger pangs.

Do you ever get the Sunday blues? When I worked a regular 9-5 job, Sunday nights would stress me out so bad and I couldn’t sleep. It was a combination of returning to the work week after the weekend and staying out too late on weekend nights which led to sleeping in much too late in the morning. Sticking to the same sleep schedule even on the weekends is key for me.

Also, never underestimate the power of a comfortable bed! A few years ago, I invested in a memory foam topper with a 2 inch pillow top, some memory foam pillows, and one fabulous body pillow. Now my biggest struggle is finding sheets with 18 inch pockets to fit over the whole thing!

Actually, that’s a lie. My biggest struggle is the 5 year old who finds his way into my bed every night and seems to grow an additional 8 arms and legs that promptly end up in my face. If you have any tips to resolve the issue, I am open to suggestions.

Looking for more tips on healthier sleepier habits?  You check out Casper’s blog Pillow Talk.

Sleeping on the edge,

Shelbee

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I am a 40 something Army wife and stay-at-home mother of 2 boys and 2 cats named Dave and Frankie. I have a passion for helping other women feel fabulous in the midst of this crazy, beautiful life.

14 Responses

  1. These are great tips! Temperature plays a big role in my sleep!
    xo,
    Jacqueline
    Stylin In St. Louis

  2. If you think you are not able to sleep well. Then must get relax or consult with doctors.

    • Thank you for your comment. I think trying some self help methods first is important before seeking medical treatment. However, I agree, if there is a medical condition that could be causing the sleep issues, then seeking medical evaluation is important.

      xoxo
      Shelbee

  3. So sorry to hear about your sleep, Shelbee! I recently got a new dog and she wakes me up every night to go outside. Of course, I take her, not wanting any accidents in the house. But, nonetheless, my sleep schedule gets jacked up. I’ll totally try and implement some of your tips in my bedtime routine; hopefully they will help. Have a great week!

    Blessings,
    Edye | http://gracefulcoffee.com

    • Good luck, Edye, with the new little pup! Sleep is so important. And even more so when you are struggling with other mental and emotional health issues. But night time puppy training has an end in sight. Then you can hopefully resume a normal sleep routine.

      xoxo
      Shelbee

  4. This is totally my life especially since I’ve been sick! I need to adopt better habits!

  5. Sleep… it’s so unfair that little kids get time for naps and us big kids do not. Seriously need to inbed that into our culture somehow. Thanks for all the awesome tips! Sleep well!
    #FridayFrivolity

  6. My sleeping habits aren’t the greatest. I struggle with anxiety, especially at night when it’s time to rest. I’ve started putting my phone away and doing some yoga. It wears me out and I feel like I rest soooo much better.

    Great tips. Thanks for sharing!
    #FridayFrivolity

    • I am so glad you have been able to find a way to cope with your night time anxiety and still get some much needed sleep. I may have to try some yoga one of these days because you are not the first to praise its benefits for good sleep and overall health. Thanks for stopping by and have a fabulous (and restful) weekend!

      xoxo
      Shelbee

  7. You are my soul sister! I also had issues with sleepwalking around the age you did and struggled with night terrors. Sleep paralysis is another one I deal with. Lack of sleep definitely triggers manic episodes for me as well. Thanks for the great tips. White noise is a definite in my home, for my daughter and myself. #FridayFrivolity Xx

    • Amethyst, thanks so much for stopping by and sharing your experience! I have had a few instances of sleep paralysis, thankfully only a few. They usually coincided with night-terror-like episodes that would happen during a daytime nap. They are horrible! I am sorry to hear that you are currently dealing with these issues, so I hope you find ways to resolve the issues!

      xoxo
      Shelbee

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