Last week, a couple friends called on the verge of what I call the Maxed Outs. Most of the overwhelm and edge came from sheer exhaustion, and crappy sleep patterns.
Basically, where you feel like you're running on steam and the only thing you wish you could do to settle your nervous system is buy some black out shades, or book yourself a room for a few days straight of sleep. Likely that ain't happening...
This is what I told my loves.
After many years of sleep deprivation, a totally friend nervous system, and having to reset my own body and the way I cared for my body, I learned I have a sleep "window."
Now, I call it "The Window" like it's some little magic pill or something. If I don't hit "The Window," I'm up shit creek for the night. I'll sleep but in three hour increments, just like a newborn mother.
After hearing a common thread over the last year for many moms, it's time to share the one trick that's got me over the hump and into a better sleep pattern, and nervous system that loves me again.
Getting results from "The Window" takes time, so give it at least 3 weeks of consistent practice and don't be hard on yourself if you get wild one night and go to bed outside of the window.
Here's the practice:
1. Discover your window. "The Window" is a window of time where your body naturally wants to shut down and go to sleep. Mine is 9:30p-11p. If I go to bed before or after these times, like I said, it's not a good night of sleep.
It might take you a couple of days or a week to learn your window, but observe when your body starts shutting down and if you fight it. If you don't go to sleep, notice when your energy picks back up and you stay to catch up on the last two episodes of Nashville.
2. Just Go the F*ck to Sleep. Just like the book y'all got from your snarky friends, YOU TOO need to go to sleep. Research shows that when you look at the phone in a dark room or right before bed it stimulates your pineal gland which is known to naturally release Melatonin, the hormone that releases to help us fall asleep.
When we interrupt it before bed, even 30 minutes before bed, we block the secretion of natural melatonin.
3. A little dose. In the beginning, and if you're totally stretched thin, it might help to take 3 mg of melatonin 30 minutes before you window to help give you that extra kick it needs to get to sleep.
4. NEWBORN MOMS: a different kind of "window." A friend of mine told me how she and her husband navigate newborn sleep. It was so good, I asked her if I could include it in LMH #1. She said yes.
Their set up: from the hours of 8pm-1am she got to sleep without any interruption, so she pumped and her husband was responsible for everything else (feedings, soothing, etc), including their two other kids. At 1am, she woke and fed the baby, and he hit the hay for the rest of the night. This way, they were both sleepy but not a hot mess.
I know this system won't work for everyone, it's something to try. Think creatively of ways you can build sleep stores (or lose sleep stores) as a team.
Extra credit: When "The Window" hits, brush your teeth, take a hot shower, meditate, have quick sex, read a book - but no phone or show so your body naturally stimulates the hormones that encourage sleep.
Now, if I get close to 11pm I start acting like Cinderella and like I'm going to turn into a pumpkin. I totally value every minute of sleep I can get, because it's just that precious to my overall mental and physical well-being.
Now, who else has sleep tricks? What works for you? Please share in the comments below!
Have a stellar week! I hope you get some good sleep.