To say that I have NEVER been a morning person is a gross understatement. I LOVE sleep. Shoooot, I love just laying in my bed relaxing. I was the child whose parents woke them up and then had to come back in the room because said child had gotten back in bed 🙂
On top of loving sleep I love nighttime. My brain wakes up around 8pm. I get a full-on sunrise in my mind. The mental light turns on in my head and ideas start flowing. Going to sleep before midnight was rare for me. The combo of loving sleep and being a night owl have been a pattern in my life for countless years.
As I entered my late thirties I started noting changes in my sleep pattern especially occurred during high periods of stress (mostly family-related). Around this time I was trying to deal with hormonal changes and my sleep patterns got even funkier. I would go to bed around midnight and right around 2am my eyes would pop open. Some nights I would be awake until 5am with an alarm set for 7.
I was sleepy all the time. I knew I could not function at my maximum with that sleep cycle. I started reading books about hormone imbalance for women approaching menopause. I started trying to make myself get in bed by midnight. Nothing worked.
I really doubted that mornings are possible for people like me.
Then, in 2013 the Feldenkrais Center of Houston newsletter announced a workshop called, MoveSleepEat. I signed up, SHOWED up (mentally and physically) and my sleep has been steadily improving since. I learned so much about what I was doing wrong with my sleep. Did you know that deep breathing energizes you so it is NOT something you should do when trying to sleep? I always thought taking deep breaths relaxed you. When trying to sleep taking deep breaths actually stimulates your brain. The class included relaxation techniques as well as practicing putting ourselves to sleep. I was not happy when we had to wake up to end the class 🙂
The best thing I got from the class was the belief that I could become a good sleeper. That even during periods of stress, I could get my body back to sleep, all without ever leaving the bed. Learning these tips turned the impossibilities of doing something like Miracle Mornings into a reality.
Recently women in my Facebook group started asking me about sleep. I shared the top 3 things I do to get a good night’s sleep. Take a look:
1. I set a bedtime. 11pm is my weeknight cutoff. If I go past bedtime I do not adjust the rise time (6am). I do this as a way to correct my behavior. I can only go 1 or 2 days going to bed late before I am tired enough to start going back to bed on time. I try not to get too off schedule with bedtime on the weekends.
2. The whole ‘turn off electronics an hour before bed’ thing does not work for me. I read on my iPad before bed. So, I put my screens on ‘night mode’. I triple-click the center button the backlight is no longer white, it turns black. I also make sure the brightness of the screen is on the lowest setting. It feels like reading by flashlight 🙂 AND it doesn’t disturb my husband. Win/win.
3. If I find myself waking up in the middle of the night I do NOT get out of bed. I lay there and tell myself that I need my rest. I try shallow breaths. If I get out of bed I try to not get a snack! Middle-of-the-night munchies are the devil. Sometimes I will write – when stressed sometimes I just need to process/get things off my mind. Our workshop leader encouraged us not to judge ourselves when we wake up in the middle of the night. She encouraged us to find productive things we can do (blog, clean, read, etc.) that build ourselves up.
My young adult daughter was dealing with insomnia at the beginning of this semester. I gave her the tips above and she tried them. Here is her YouTube video on how she got her sleep back under control.
If mornings are possible for me, they are possible for anyone! If I can work on my sleep and start getting up in the morning to work on ME then you can too. Come on a join me! See you in the morning. ‘Night y’all!