It’s 6:30 am and your phone alarm is screaming at you. You roll over and push the snooze button again, only to realize with a sudden panic that you needed to pick up documents on the way to work today and you need to leave in 20 minutes. Why, oh why, is this happening again?!!?
Sleep is an important part of our day, but we often are driven to push ourselves more and more without resting, even taking pride in how little sleep we get. Fueling ourselves on caffeine to wake up and wine at night to get to sleep, never waking rested and ready for the day.
When you are getting your body ready for pregnancy, sleep is a big component of helping your body feel safe enough to conceive. When your body is in a constant state of stress, your body perceives it as danger and creates a hormonal balance which makes it hard to get pregnant.
Stress creates low levels of inflammation in our body as we get ready to fight in a dangerous situation, like a tiger chasing us. The difficulty is there is usually not a tiger chasing us, it’s a big presentation at work, a meeting with our boss, an uncomfortable family dinner or our marathon training that is the constant stress in our life.
Our bodies do not distinguish between true stress (the tiger) and perceived stress (our presentation at work). While your presentation is extremely important to you and your career and you want it to go well, you probably don’t need to have extra white blood cells at the ready to stop an infection, slowed digestion to get the blood to your muscles so you can run away quickly, or decreased sex hormones to prioritize escape over conception.
Ways to get more sleep
Turn off the screens 1 ½ hrs before bed. Spend that time with a gratitude journal, gentle restorative yoga stretches or listening to a relaxing book on Audible
Get outside for 30-60 minutes (without sunglasses). Our circadian rhythms are based on the amount of natural light our eyes see. Staring at computer, tablet and phone screens all day and into the evening, makes it hard for our body to know whether it is day or night. Take a walk outside during your lunch break or after work to get some natural light.
Change your screens or get blue blocker glasses. You can change the settings on your tablet or phone to emit red light instead of blue or you can purchase blue blocker glasses to block the blue light. Check out this article about how blue light impacts our sleep.
Have a set bedtime routine. Create a bedtime routine which signals to your body you are getting ready for sleep. Just like when you were a kid and you brushed your teeth, had stories and then went to bed, find a routine that works for you now. It might include an epsom salt bath, reading a book, meditating, having a cup of tea, or listening to your favorite podcast.
Swap your evening glass of wine for golden milk Golden milk or golden lattes are warm drinks with milk and spices, specifically turmeric and black pepper. A compound in turmeric called curcumin is anti-inflammatory and can be helpful in getting better sleep. My favorite recipe is here.
Go to bed and get up at the same time Your body likes consistency, so going to bed and waking up at the same time each day (even weekends) will help your body get into a better rhythm. When you begin to get better sleep and truly feel rested, you won’t feel like you need to sleep in on the weekends just to catch up. Set a timer on your phone to remind you it’s time to get ready for bed.
Just pick one of these ideas to start today, and when that becomes a part of your routine, add another.
Soon you will be hopping out of bed before your alarm rested and ready to start the day!