I was asking on my Facebook Page last week about tips for marriage books to read, and I’ll have that list out NEXT Tuesday. Didn’t have time to get it ready for this week.
Instead I asked guest poster Jill Marks to share 10 GREAT tips for getting better sleep.
As I’ve said before, sleep is a marriage issue. When we’re sleep-deprived, we get into more conflict. We don’t want sex. And we lose intimacy. Going to bed at a decent time and getting sleep is one of the best things you can do for your marriage.
Here’s Jill telling us how:
Writing about sleep is pretty ironic to me right now, as I have an almost 4 month old and spend my days (and nights) fantasizing about sleep. And praying about sleep. And mourning sleep. Sleep…I just want sleep! But, I digress.
There was a time in my life when I was getting good sleep and my husband was getting good sleep. We recognized early on in our marriage the importance of sleep to our general satisfaction with each other. When we are overly tired we are quick to snap at each other, short on patience and much more likely to get upset over small things that really don’t matter.
We therefore have always tried hard to achieve a good night’s sleep, but now, in the postpartum haze, we have become even more aware of our needs. My husband requires a few hours of quality sleep to function well, whereas I need much more, whether it be quality or not – I just require a lot of horizontal time!
Recognizing each other’s needs is the first step in getting good sleep. For example, knowing that my husband only needs a few hours of uninterrupted sleep, I often send him to bed early to get in 4-5 hours before he has to take over baby duty. Or, I give him an hour or two on a Saturday afternoon to have the house to himself and catch a good nap. Once his sleeping needs are met, he is more easily able to help me meet my sleeping needs, and neither of us gets overly exhausted.
Besides being aware of how much rest our spouse needs, we also try to follow these 10 tips for getting better sleep.
1. Cut caffeine.
I know, you hear it all the time, but that’s because it is true! Cut off all caffeinated drinks by noon. Even decaf coffee has trace amounts of caffeine. Switch to water, or try this hydrating electrolyte drink instead.
2. Eliminate light.
Any light that invades your sleep space disrupts the production of melatonin. Invest in room-darkening curtains, unplug the alarm clock/cell phone, and cover up any other little lights. Sleeping in darkness is better for your health, and you will notice a difference in your sleep quality.
3. Get a Routine.
Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, even on the weekends. Ever since we became a family of 3, we are in bed by 9:30, because we know she will be awake and ready to go by at least 7:00!
4. Use essential oils.
If I have had a rough day, or am particularly wired, I always apply lavender essential oil or the Serenity blend from doTerra on my feet and on my temples. Both help me relax and fall asleep more quickly. My friend Kimball, who is a doTerra consultant, also recommends Balance, frankincense, and sandalwood, or a “Quiet Mind” blend of vetiver, Whisper, frankincense, and bergamot.
5. Use Magnesium.
This stuff is amazing. Truly! The majority of Americans are severely deficient in magnesium. Magnesium deficiency can cause a host of problems, with one of the biggest being sleep disturbances. Try this magnesium lotion before bed, and a better night’s rest is guaranteed.
6. Soak in a Relaxing bath.
This is one of my favorite ways to promote a good night’s sleep. Draw a nice warm bath, add some epsom salt or magnesium salts, and include a few drops of lavender or Serenity essential oil. Or, try this soothing herbal bath for a 20-minute soak right before you hit the hay.
7. Drink Herbal tea.
Chamomile or lemon balm tea about an hour before bed is a good way to transition from awake time to sleepy time.
8. Have Sex.
Yup, I said it. The release of endorphins can be just what your body needs to go into a deep, restful trance. And hey… you get to have sex too. Win-win.
9. Eat a Light snack.
A high protein snack right before you shut down for the night can prevent hunger pains from waking you in the wee hours. Try a glass of raw milk, some of this delicious beef jerky, or for blood sugar regulation, try a spoonful of raw honey.
10. Clear your mind.
During the day, you likely do about a million different things. Or at least you think about doing a million different things! About an hour before snooze time, shut off your electronics, step away from Facebook, and take some time to clear your mind. Through prayer, meditation, or just talking through your day with your spouse, take time to clear your mind and save your worries for the daytime.
Hopefully these ten tips will help you and your spouse get a good night’s sleep. Do it for your marriage!
Sheila says: Thanks so much, Jill! Those are great–and many of them I’d never thought of before. For my readers: Make the most of this post by writing down the THREE tips that you don’t currently do, but need to, and writing them on your fridge. Don’t try to do all 10! This post is meant to help you brainstorm by throwing out a bunch of ideas, and then you find what works best for you. Now pick ONE to start this week, and ONE to start next week, and so on. Try adding one new thing a week of your top 3, and you’ll find yourself sleeping better!
Jill Marks works as an editor and virtual assistant at Modern Alternative Mama She has been on a real food journey since July of 2011 and is passionate about food. She is a Jesus-loving, Bible-reading, kombucha-brewing, raw milk–drinking, real food–eating gal, who was born and raised in the midwest. She and her husband were recently blessed by the birth of their first child and are adjusting to life as a family of three. To contact Jill, check out her website, Making Our Marks.