A good daily routine and a few positive habits can do wonders for the quality of you and your baby’s sleep
Words Absolutely Mama
Good sleep hygiene begins the moment you wake up – developing positive daily routines will pave the way for regular good quality sleep for you and your child.
Daytime habits and Practices
Exercise during the day – Excess energy can cause restlessness at night. So daily exercise will help you use up excess energy. Also, exercise promotes biochemicals such as endorphins, endocannabinoids and neurotransmitters, all of which can help reduce stress and anxiety.
Expose yourself to sunlight – Make sure you get some sunlight during the day. This promotes higher levels of melatonin essential for maintaining a healthy circadian rhythm. Sunlight can also help you get more Vitamin D which also has a positive influence on sleep.
Healthy diet – The right foods contain compounds that promote sleep. So good nutrition is an essential part of sleep hygiene. Eat protein foods high in tryptophan, an amino acid that promotes melatonin. Pumpkin seeds, chicken, cheese, nuts, lentils, oats, beans and eggs are considered high tryptophan foods.
Don’t drink caffeine late in the day – Better still, give up. Caffeine is a strong stimulant and can cause restlessness and stress.
The hours leading up to bedtime
Avoid big meals and alcohol – Avoid eating a couple of hours before going to bed; the body needs to expend energy restoring and repairing, not digesting food. Avoiding alcohol is also good, it may help you nod off, but once it’s been metabolised the withdrawal symptoms cause arousal.
Establish healthy bedtime rituals – Avoid doing anything too stimulating before bed such as watching TV or working on a laptop. Even blue light from a mobile phone inhibits the development of melatonin and makes it harder for you to fall asleep.
Rituals that help promote sleep include having a warm bath, practicing mindfulness, light reading, and gentle yoga.
Put aside worries and stress – This is about creating a good inner environment. Before you go to bed write down your worries and how you are going to deal with them. Now put them aside, you can always pick up the ‘mental fight’ the next day. It is also important to avoid conflict with loved ones. Politely remind them that this isn’t the best time and you’re happy to discuss anything they need to the following day.
Create a cool, dark and quiet environment – Darkness helps your body get the most out of sleep and getting rid of noises and keeping the temperature cool will prevent you from waking. Keep a window open in a summer and if you live in a noisy light-polluted area try thicker curtains, earplugs, and an eye mask.
Get rid of electronics – Keep electronics including your phone and laptop out of your bedroom so you begin to only associate the room with sleep. Having them nearby also causes temptation to check them.
Comfortable Bedding – Good quality bedding is essential for a good night’s sleep. Being comfortable helps you relax. This in turn helps you nod off. There are different factors to look out for when choosing the right bedding. Good bedding should be breathable, hypo-allergenic, and anti-dust mites.
Trying to sleep
Don’t worry and don’t check the clock – We’ve all been there before, you are in bed yet you cannot switch off. This can be especially frustrating when we have important events the next day. But do not clock watch and do not worry. Watching the clock will just cause more anxiety and make it harder for you to drift off. Resign yourself to the idea that it’s already late and there is nothing you can do about it. You will be surprised how this will lift the load and help you relax.
These tips were developed for the experts at naturalmat.co.uk.
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