A Celebration of Sleep

woman getting sleep on side of bed with nightlight on bedside tableA holiday celebrating sleep is one that I can definitely get behind. Festival of Sleep Day is held on January 3 of each year, after all of the stress and celebrations of the big holidays have passed. Although the origins of this “holiday” are unknown, I will still partake in the celebration.

How will I do that? Well, I will sleep. It’s one of the things that I do very well. Top 3 skills, for sure.

How can you celebrate? Well, I will hopefully give you some ideas to get more restful sleep at night. If not, maybe you can sneak a little cat nap. {Not to brag, but I’m good at those, too!}

Sleep Improvement Plan {SIP}

Yep, I just made up an acronym. Let’s SIP our way to better sleep.

Fresh, Clean Sheets

It’s just science that clean sheets on a freshly made bed promote better sleep. There is no better feeling than climbing into bed and sliding your legs between a clean fitted sheet and a clean flat sheet. Extra points if you have freshly shaved legs. Heaven. At our house, we clean and change the sheets once a week, usually on Sundays.

Shower or Bath

Yep, we just went from fresh, clean sheets to a fresh, clean YOU. Something about a nighttime bath or shower prepares you for bedtime. It probably reverts back to childhood. Don’t you bathe your kids before bed? Why? It’s soothing. It establishes a routine. It prepares them for sleep. Bonus points if you have some lavender body wash, Epsom salts, or bath bombs.

Tea . . . Sip, Sip

I know you will not want to read this part. But caffeine and alcohol are not part of the SIP. Caffeine past 3 p.m. will leave your head spinning with ideas at bedtime. Alcohol, while it will initially help you fall asleep, you will likely not get restful sleep. My nighttime routine consists of drinking naturally caffeine free tea before bed. My favorite tea is Taylor’s of Harrogate Organic Peppermint Tea, though I do switch it up, especially during the holidays.

Consistent Schedule

If you have children, which it is likely you do if you are reading Houston Moms, you know how important a consistent sleep schedule is for your children. It is just as important for YOU. I know, it is difficult. I am definitely a night owl by nature. I try to get all of my “me time” once my people have gone to bed. But, I have learned that I really hate waking up exhausted. And now that I have a full time job, I can no longer take a nap while my kids are at school. It’s a real bummer. I LOVE napping.

So, since I know napping is pretty much off the table for me, I have to ensure that I get 8-9 hours of uninterrupted sleep each night. I could actually sleep longer, but most nights I cannot get myself into bed before 9 p.m. But 8-9 hours of sleep should be sufficient for most adults.

Limit Naps

This does not mean “do not nap.” Nap if you must. Just make them short. Anything longer than an hour will likely impact your nighttime sleep. I find 25-35 minute naps to be ideal. I usually set an alarm on my phone to ensure I do not oversleep. Of course, that goes out the window if I am sick and need much more restorative rest.

White Noise

We have all learned that white noise is helpful for good sleep, so it is on the SIP. It helps to drown out all of the thoughts in our heads as well as any outside noise. Numero uno white noise machine that you likely already have: a ceiling fan. Use it. Even when it’s cold outside. Turn up the heat, and turn on the fan. If you are one of those people who crave good design more than your own comfort, get a white noise machine. Another option, which I also utilize due to wicked allergies, is an air purifier. I have this Blue Air Purifier that came highly recommended by Young House Love. You can see theirs on this blog post. #influenced

No Animals or Kids

HAHAHAHA! I know this is laughable for many, many mothers. I was you. Some nights, I still am you. But like, kids and animals move around a lot. So then you wake up a million times during the night. Which means you get the worst kind of sleep.

I also get it. I used to bring a baby to bed with me like a boss. If that is what they needed to sleep and it meant that I got some sleep, there was never a second thought. And then for several years, I had one child who would wake up and climb into our bed EVERY. NIGHT. Just know, that stage will pass, too. We moved it along a little quicker by letting our two children share a bed. They found comfort in having each other.

Sleep Babies GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

A Dark Room

“Hello darkness, my old friend . . .” There’s a reason blackout shades and curtains are so popular. Everywhere else in our homes, we crave “good natural light,” but that is not desirable when it comes to getting a good night’s sleep. Televisions also should be off at bedtime. That volume change when a bad infomercial comes on at 3 a.m. is not ok. Neither is the change to a very bright screen. I have experienced and been awaken by both. Zero stars. Do not recommend.

And lastly, we all know we shouldn’t be on screens {phones, tablets, etc.} in bed. I can’t say I don’t do it. That would be a lie. I do try to minimize it. I do also put my phone on “Do Not Disturb” every night. Those calls and text messages can wait until I am ready to see them.

Good Sheets/Pillow/Mattress

By now, I think we all know how important and indulgent good sheets are for good sleep. I do not subscribe to a super high thread count philosophy. What if the sheets are made of terrible thread? Then it doesn’t matter if they are 250 thread count or 800 thread count. What I do subscribe to is feeling the sheets before I purchase them. That’s all. It’s that simple. If I like the way they feel, I buy them.

For better or for worse, {sadly, I think it is for worse}, I am a side sleeper. That means I require a good, firm pillow. I have this one and love it. My old, tense neck always lets me know when I sleep on terrible pillows.

Mattresses are tricky little things. I do not like pillow top mattresses. Too cushiony. I do not like to feel the springs in the mattress either. Too pokey. What I find to be just right is a firm, cushioned mattress. I know there are lots of pricey mattresses out there that claim to be the best, but I think it is best to just go try them out until you find one you like.

Happy sleeping, fellow Houston Moms.

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Christy G
Christy grew up in Cajun Country. After graduating from LSU, she worked as an editor for a Louisiana chef. After Hurricane Katrina devastated her home state, she assisted in the recovery efforts, which ultimately moved her to Houston. Christy and Ryan were married in St. Lucia in 2006. Five years later, after welcoming their first child, Lilla {March 2011}, she became a high school English and Photojournalism teacher. After Flynn {March 2013} joined their family, Christy became a stay-at-home mom. Soon after, the family jumped at the chance to move to Perth, Western Australia. After almost four years, they relocated to Santiago, Chile. Both places {and their wines} hold a special place in her heart. Christy enjoys cheering on her beloved LSU Tigers and New Orleans Saints, texting friends in complete sentences, taking heaps of photos, planning vacations, advocating for our planet, and cooking delicious meals in her kitchen.


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