Sleep? If you’re anything like me you’re probably not getting enough of it!
I struggle to switch off. Constantly worry about things. And I can’t go to bed with ‘stuff’ left to do.
Every night I have a plan that I will be in bed by 10pm at the latest. My youngest is up anytime between 4am (which is a time he thinks is reasonable) and 6am. So I’ll get roughly 6 hours if I make it by then. For anyone who read my previous blog, you’ll remember that he is not the best at going to bed either. For a while I was letting him fall asleep on my lap and I could lift him to bed. But it didn’t last! So bedtime is a bit of a battle at the moment.
And then I like to try and get some time with my eldest before he goes to bed. And his bedtime doesn’t always go smoothly either. The minute his head hits the pillow he suddenly remembers all the things he’s done in his day which I’ve been asking about since he got home from school only to be told, ‘nothing’, or ‘I don’t know’. Along with exclamations of being thirsty, hungry or five trips to the toilet!
So on a good night the bedtime routine is done about 8.30pm. Which gives me an hour and a half until my planned bedtime.
And it goes like this……….. I sit down, I pick up my phone or I turn on the tv and I think I’ll let myself relax for a few minutes and just sit before I tidy up or start the dishes or do the washing. And before I know it it’s gone 10pm and I’m not in bed and I’ve not done anything! So I drag myself off the sofa and I force myself to do all the things that I need to do. And then it’s probably gone 11.30pm.
There are other things that stop me from getting a good nights sleep. Stress and anxiety are things that I struggle with. Learning to switch off is really hard for me. One of the things that I find helpful is to make a list of all the things I need to get done. I have lists for everything! And I find it very satisfying to tick things off. I’m currently planning my sister’s hen party and even something like that, which is going to be a fun, joyful event is filling me with so much stress I’ve had bad dreams about it!
For me though no matter how many lists I write the worries don’t always ease. If my eldest has had a bad day that will be on my mind, financial worries and family struggles. And it’s not just worries or chores that stop me going to bed, I also want some time to myself! There might be something I want to watch on the television or I want to catch up with friends. You know, just adult time.
I know where I’m going wrong but I’m struggling to fix it. I feel like I’m in a vicious cycle and doing the same things over and over.
But there are things I have found help in the past. The first is to try to keep on top of things throughout the day and get the boys involved with age appropriate jobs around the flat. And to let things go a bit. It doesn’t hurt if there are a few dishes left in the sink.
Secondly…….hide my phone! I find it such a distraction and I definitely need to learn to put it down a good hour before bed.
Stretching, I do enjoy gentle exercise including yoga but I struggle to fit it into my evening routine. But I’ve found even 10 minutes helps. Followed by a hot bath, candles and some relaxing music.
Making my room a more relaxing space. Currently my bedroom is a dumping ground for everything I haven’t had time to do. Washing I’ve not had time to put away ends up piling up for days. Space is an issue for me as my flat is quite small but our bikes are even stored in my bedroom as there is no space in the shed for them.
Another thing I’ve heard is helpful but not tried myself are sleep apps and you’ll find some examples of good ones in the link below, along with some helpful tips to improve your sleep. I will be trying a couple myself over the next few weeks and I’ll let you know how I get on.
If you can relate to any of what I have written I hope some of the tips are helpful. Sleep is so beneficial and essential to how we function, and to our health and well-being. It would be great if you can join me in trying to put some of the tips into practice and let me know how you find they work for you?
Parent/Carer Peer Support Worker