Star light, star bright…I wish I may, I wish I might…get a restful sleep tonight!
Getting adequate rest is so important. I don’t think I need to tell anyone twice! We feel it for ourselves each morning if we don’t rest the night before.
Once upon a time, I would have bouts of terrible insomnia. Unfortunately, I would often resort to over the counter medicines to get to sleep. Even then, I would sometimes get only a few hours. Those days after a restless night are no fun!
I’ve also always been a night owl. It’s easier for me to stay up late than it is for me to get up early. That in itself wouldn’t be a problem, if it weren’t for the fact that life on a homestead begins in the morning!
I will probably never be a person to rise each day before the sun. I know that’s the farmer cliche, but it’s just not me. However, by changing my habits I have been able to transition to a much better sleep pattern that has me waking up, sans alarm, at a normal hour each morning…and not being exhausted!
Each body is different, and what works for me may not work for you. But it’s worth a try, right? Here’s what I do:
It is oh so tempting to stare at those phone, laptop, or tablet screens in bed. Don’t do it! Too much light at night is disruptive to sleep.
I turn the brightness settings on my gadgets as low as possible when I’m using them prior to bed. At night I put them on the dimmest setting so if I wake up in the middle of the night and check the time, I’m not blinded by the light and my sleep isn’t as badly disrupted.
I also turn off all lights in my room and use blackout curtains to prevent excess sunlight, moonlight, or our outdoor safety lighting from sneaking in my windows. I even have an app on my computer that adjusts the back lighting based on the time zone. It automatically dims the light and removes blue light at night. How cool is that?? And it’s free!
This one may just be my favorite. Lavender essential oil is amazing stuff. It’s super versatile, smells like heaven, and promotes relaxation and calmness. In other words, it’s the perfect scent to help you drift off to sleep.
I remember one night I was tired yet having trouble falling asleep, so I grabbed my lavender and put a drop on my wrists. I was out like a light within minutes.
Now I put a few drops in my cool air diffuser each night before bed. The diffuser adds moisture to the air and the lavender promotes restful sleep.
Contact me to learn how to purchase top quality lavender essential oil. (If you’ve ever used a health store brand, I dare you to purchase the real deal and see the difference for yourself!)
Chill Out, Man
I don’t know about you, but I cannot sleep in a hot room. It just ain’t happening. Basically, I prefer to sleep in a cave — cool and dark. My ideal sleeping temp is about 68. To achieve this, I use a window unit that I run only while sleeping.
This is actually not just a me-thing, though! Our bodies naturally lower our temperatures while we sleep, and a too-hot (or too-cold) room can prevent this from happening effectively. It makes sense that we need a cooler environment to sleep considering that temps fall outside after dark, too.
Beds are for Resting
Not for working, reading, or — as I mentioned earlier — playing on phones and tablets. I know as soon as I pick up a book in bed, I won’t be going to sleep until I’m a few chapters in. It’s best to avoid that temptation.
It’s also important that our beds be associated with rest and sleep and not anything stressful. Although I can’t avoid working in my bedroom due to my work-from-home job, I can avoid working from my bed. That way I’m not carrying over work-related worries into my sleep.
Healthy Sun Exposure
In our modern society, a lot of us don’t get enough healthy sun exposure, and when we do go outside we often coat our skin in sunscreen. This is a problem, because our bodies need healthy sun exposure!
In addition to providing us with vitamin D, sunlight also promotes healthy sleep patterns, especially when we get sunlight first thing in the morning. While avoiding sunburns is still a good idea, we don’t need to avoid the sun altogether.
Luckily for me, homesteading naturally causes me to get some healthy sun exposure each day. The first thing I do in the morning is head to the barn for morning chores. Boom, healthy morning sun exposure.
Stick to a Schedule
Ohh, I am so guilty of what I’m about to say. So, so guilty.
It’s a Friday night. We’re watching a movie. I stay up too late. It happens. But then I sleep too late the next morning.
Ahhh! That is not a good idea.
Our bodies get used to a rhythm. We’re creatures of habit by nature. So when I sleep too late one morning, guess what happens? I have to reset my sleep patterns the next day.
I try to avoid this by setting my alarm and getting up at my normal time on nights when I stay up too late. That’s easiest to do when I have goats in milk, because I know I must keep their milking schedule or they will get uncomfortably full udders. I guess you could say my goats are my sleep accountability partners!
Warm Epsom Salt Baths
Epsom salt baths accomplish two great things:
1. Magnesium. Magnesium is one of those minerals that most of us don’t get enough of, not unlike vitamin D. In addition to a whole host of benefits, magnesium also promotes relaxation, stress relief, and healthy sleep cycles. Epsom salts aren’t really salts — they’re a form of magnesium!
2. Relaxation. The benefits of soaking in the epsom salts aside, a nice warm bath is a relaxing activity in itself. Toss in a cup or two of epsom salts, a few drops of essential oils, or some herbs and it’s downright luxurious.
Most of us don’t have time to soak each night. I know I don’t! So I just try to get a good soak in once a week or so.
Have you tried any of these things? I live by them!