My daughter, Lauren, is struggling with insomnia. As a new mom, her system is in the throes of hormone changes and it's caused a switch to be thrown that won't let her fall asleep - and stay asleep - at night. There is nothing more frustrating than laying awake at 4 am, knowing you've got a full day of infant care ahead of you. Since she is still breastfeeding, she's been limited to natural remedies that so far have not consistently helped. Heads up: I'm going to ask for some suggestions and help from you today!
Sleep deprivation - lack of good rest - is a serious issue for many of us. Menopause, stress, caffeine, physical illness, spiritual fatigue....all can affect your ability to fall asleep and stay asleep. Listen, we work hard, often carrying heavy loads of work and family obligations, and getting good rest is essential to our health and well-being, not to mention our mental outlook. When I get tired, the first thing that goes out the window is my happy disposition. I get grumpy real fast. And anxious about everything.
Gen. George S. Patton once said, "Fatigue makes cowards of us all."
In other words, when you're lacking courage or motivation to face the day (and that mountain of laundry), perhaps what you need is a good night's sleep. Don't we know it!
Here are a few common sense tips for getting the sleep you need:
1. Make sure your room is dark. Street lights, moonlight, lights from electronic devices can keep you from falling asleep.
2. Avoid caffeine. I cannot exist without my morning cup of coffee, but I can't have caffeine after about 5 pm without it affecting my rest. Tea, colas, 5 Hour Energies, chocolate - all have stimulants to avoid.
3. Add exercise to your day. Physical activity gets your metabolism moving and helps you expend energy during the day so you'll be more likely to rest at night.
4. Boost your serotonin levels. Seratonin is the "health and well-being" chemical that contributes to your ability to rest. Think of the turkey dinner you're going to eat next week - turkey, rolls, carbs - all things that are tryptophan laden, which make you feel sleepy. Supplements and a good diet can help boost your intake.
5. Have a nightly routine. Avoid TV watching and electronic device-reading in bed. A routine - cup of tea, washing your face, reading a boring book, getting into comfy PJs - helps signal your body, "Hey, it's time to sleep!"
6. Get adequate sunlight during the day. When you're stuck in an office or indoors all day long, your body craves the cycle of natural light.
7. Try white noise, such as a fan, to block outside interruptions. A cool temperature in your room also promotes better sleep.
8. Avoid stress. YEAH, RIGHT! After you're done doing the crazy laugh over this one, think about ways you can reduce the stress in your life. Eliminate some busyness, extricate yourself from unhealthy relationships, create some margin. Take your anxieties to the Prince of Peace.
9. Try natural supplements. I'm going to ask for your suggestions, here, ladies. I'm not an expert in this field so I'd love for you to share in the comments below today.
10. Set regular bedtimes and awake times. This is almost impossible for new parents like my daughter, but most of us could use some discipline when it comes to turning off the light at a decent time - a regular time!
Today's Small Thing is to share your tips for getting good rest. And then put them into action tonight!
Lauren has tried all of the above tips with some success, but not consistent success. And I know she is not alone in her frustrating quest for rest. I'd love it if you could share your solutions for sleeping well, that will encourage those around you to continue to seek a good night's sleep.
We need this, all of us, to be able to do - and be - all God wants for us to do and be. Good rest is essential...so let's help each other out today!
Points: 40 for sharing your good rest tip - and putting one of the tips into action, starting tonight!
PS Wondering what the "points" are all about? Read here.