A few months ago I was having a terrible time sleeping. It took me a very long time to fall asleep and when I finally did, I didn't always feel rested when I woke the next day. Not being rested and mothering seven children don't go well together. I was STRUGGLING. Big time. When I'm tired, I'm cranky. Patience is something I'm constantly working on and being tired was not helping my cause. I want to be kind and patient with my children. I want to have the energy to play with them. I want to have a desire to cook dinner and do the other household tasks everyone counts on me accomplishing day in and day out.
I knew I was doing something wrong so I began looking at how I was spending my time during the waking hours. I was exercising daily and that was good. Research shows that people who exercise roughly 20 minutes a day sleep 65 percent better than those who don't. That's a pretty significant difference! As far as what I was eating, I do my best to maintain a healthy diet. I eat a lot of fruits and veggies and don't drink anything other than smoothies and water (ok, ok, and the occasional milkshake).
Along with the importance of diet and exercise, I came across this theory of nightly rituals in my studying and how they affect our sleep too. I discovered that giving our bodies cues that sleep is coming leads to a more restful night. Here are the things that have helped me the most:
My bedroom tends to be the catch-all for random things in the house. Clutter causes stress and organizing and clearing things out has helped a lot. I have found that tidying up the rest of the house helps too. Making sure the toys are put away and the counters are cleared have a calming effect on me.
Cool things off:
Research shows that the optimal sleep temperature is between 60-67 degrees. This range causes a drop in your body's core temperature and initiates sleepiness. 60 degrees sounds freezing to me, especially with little children in the house that don't always stay tucked under their covers. We generally have our thermostat set between 67-68 degrees at night.
After dinner I can usually be found going room to room and switching off all of the overhead lighting and turning on lamps and task lighting. In my reading I discovered that exposure to too much electrical light can suppress levels of melatonin, the hormone that makes us sleepy. Dimming has helped my body ease into sleep in a more natural way.
It's proven that the bright blue lights from our phones mess with our circadian rhythms. I do my best to stay clear of my phone a good 45 minutes before I plan on going to sleep. I have noticed that reading real paper books instead of digitally on my phone has helped me feel tired faster. Apart from the sleep benefits, I have found that reading a real book is just more satisfying.
Setting the stage:
Outside of the other tips mentioned above, setting the stage for sleep is the thing I have found to be the most therapeutic. Every evening when I begin to wind down for the day, I light my favorite candle on my bedside table. I change out of my regular clothes and into my pajamas. I wash my face and brush my teeth. Before getting into bed, I kneel to say my nightly prayers. These simple actions when done deliberately is like a bit of therapy after a long day giving to my family. It's a few minutes that I spend giving back to myself and it's helped immensely.
Do you have a nightly routine? Have you found things that help you get a more restful night's sleep? I'd love to hear!
Oh! I wanted to share that I read this book and found it enlightening about sleep and it's importance in our lives.
Sight | Randi recently introduced me to the work of photographer Hermann Landshoff and I'm offically obsessed.
Sound | This Will Be Our Year by the Zombies was on heavy rotation pretty much the entire month of January.
Smell | Le Labo- Rose 31 is my very favorite fragrance. I don't wear perfume everyday but when I wear this I feel so pretty.
Taste | These buttermilk biscuits have been life changing. Make some for your family this weekend and they'll call you their hero.
Touch | Ryan gifted me these sweats for my birthday and I'm telling you, I hardly take them off. They are so soft and cozy. Finding sweats that aren't too thick but still warm is a feat and these check all the right marks. Watch for sales because they happen often and you'll want a couple of pairs in your rotation.
Happy Weekend, friends! A little birdie told me there's FREE SHIPPING all weekend long in the Tandem shop. Just use code BESTIE at checkout. See you back here next week! xoxo
Ryan and I celebrated our 18th anniversary this last weekend. We headed north a couple of hours to Spokane and as we were packing up we realized it had been three years since we had gotten away, just the two of us. Three years! Let me tell you, packing for two is a lot easier than packing for nine. Ha!
We ate delicious food, enjoyed hours and hours of uninterrupted conversation (such a luxury!) and went snowshoeing to the top of Mount Spokane.
I'm so grateful I get to be on this adventure with Ryan. He's the very best person I know. He is so kind, faithful and ambitious. He always wants to do the right thing and he takes such good care of me and our children. I'm sorry to get so mushy, but goodness, I love him.
At the top of Mount Spokane is this little cottage called Vista House. It's a place to warm up by a wood burning fire before heading back down the mountain. It was super charming. Look at this door!
Things were quiet here last week and for good reason. I opened a shop! It's been several years since I closed up the Dandee shop and for a long time I wasn't sure I'd ever open another. Not because I lacked the desire, but because I wasn't sure how I would manage a shop on top of all of my other responsibilities. But like we discussed a couple of weeks ago, I remembered people make time to do the things that are important to them. For me, creating is important. And selling the things I make is fun! So, I'd like to introduce you to Tandem. Right now the shop is full of letterpress Valentines, wood dessert picks, the sweetest hairbows, cross stitch pins, metal letter banners...there's really a good collection of things. I hope you enjoy clicking through and browsing as much as I've enjoyed putting it all together.
After Penelope was born I would often lament to Ryan that there simply wasn't time to blog or make things or do anything other than laundry, grocery shop and prepare meals. All of my to do's were burying me. I had forgotten the one response I always gave when I was asked how I "did it all". Thankfully, Ryan reminded me. And he kept reminding me anytime I would feel sorry for myself.
People make time to do things that are important to them.
Isn't that so true? I enjoy reading so I make time for it. Daily scripture study and prayer are important to me so I make time for those things. But somewhere along the way over the last couple of years, I stopped making time to create and to document. I stopped making time to record. There were days that ALL I did was laundry. There were days that ALL I did was prepare meals. Sure, my list was getting checked off and my family was taken care of but I was neglecting an important piece of myself.
So one afternoon instead of staying home to check off another "to do" on my list, I went to the fabric store. I had an idea for a little blanket. I bought the fabric, came home and cut up the little squares then sewed them together. And you know what happened? I remembered what it felt like to make time to do something I wanted to do.
And I keep making the time.