This is a Type-A Parent paid post to discuss sleep issues, and to share a new insomnia resource from the National Sleep Foundation.
It’s funny how people say “I slept like a baby.” Clearly, they must be referring to some baby I’m not familiar with as I can assure you that sleeping like either of my babies would never be a good thing. They fought sleep tooth and nail, eventually losing out to an often fitful, movement filled night – and by night I mean a three hour stent, just enough to make it hard for them to fall back asleep. That is not the kind of sleep I want. I want to go to bed, fall asleep and wake up feeling refreshed (or at least a little less zombie-like than the day before!)
I’ve faced my own share of sleep struggles. Sometimes it’s insomnia, other times it’s a household disturbance (like a sick child) and sometimes it’s as simple as having an uninvited bedmate. Yes, the perils of parenthood are countless and a lot of them result in poor sleep. I have a few tips and trick I use to help me (and my little ones) get to sleep, because we all need our full night’s rest, and some additional resources for you from the National Sleep Foundation.
My biggest problem when it comes to sleep is the inability to shut my mind down for the night. I have SO much going on in there! There are grocery lists to make, to-do lists to write, schedules to pour over and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Let me get started on any friendship or work related issues and my mind can race all.night.long. I know there are a lot of people who struggle with this and I have a quick tip that I picked up a few years ago in therapy (yes, therapy). It may seem crazy, but this will really work if you give it a try…
The next time you find yourself lying in bed with your mind racing, start at 1,000 and counting backwards (in your head – not out load) decrease your number by 7. So… 1000, 993, 986, 979, 972 and so on. Keep this up. For most people, you’ll be surprised at how quickly your mind will stop racing and you will find sleep. Counting backwards by 7 is just difficult enough that your brain has to focus on the task (it can’t wander like it would if you were counting down by 5) and this allows you to settle down and drift off to sleep!
My second biggest problem (and a much harder to deal with one) are my bedmates. I mentioned uninvited bedmates earlier… As you can see, I often end up with one kid (sometimes 2) or a dog (sometimes 2) and maybe a cat in the bed with me. If I’m lucky, this doesn’t happen until the sun comes up and then we’re all in for a good early morning snuggle. On the less than good nights, I have a kiddo crawling into my bed at 1 or 2 in the morning, and that’s disruptive for all of us. If, by some stretch of the imagination, my creeping bedmate doesn’t wake me up – no harm, no foul and we all stay put – bur more often than not, at least my bedmate and I are awake and attempting to reclaim our once peaceful sleep. I’m still battling how to deal with this issue.
Do you deal with sleep issues too? Is insomnia a battle you face or is your biggest problem the “creeping bedmate”?
Be sure to check out a new resource from the National Sleep Foundation at sleepfoundation.org/insomnia – a good place to start if you think you have insomnia or aren’t sleeping. The National Sleep Foundation is your trusted resource for everything sleep – understanding how sleep works & why it’s important, learning healthy habits, creating a relaxing bedroom & bedtime routine, & finding solutions to your sleep issues.