A few years ago, I was chatting to a lady on a train about family life and I was complaining about the fact that I never managed enough sleep.
“I can tell you the secret of getting a good night’s sleep!” She declared triumphantly. “Don’t ever have children.”
She was still chuckling to herself as she left the train and whilst I can see her point, as a mum of four, it was a little late for that, so I would have to find some other alternatives.
A good night’s sleep has been my holy grail for many years. I blogged last week about my son who rarely sleeps through the night and also having had to share a bed with wriggly children and coping with a new bed a few years ago which I couldn’t sleep in for a long time, I really do know how it feels to be sleep deprived. For the last 18 months, I have been sleeping on a mattress on the floor as my youngest son broke my bed frame, using it as a wrestling ring of all things. He liked to launch himself off the ledge at the end onto the mattress and even having told him repeatedly that he would break it, he didn’t believe me. Until the day there was an almighty cracking sound. I didn’t particularly like the bed all that much if I’m honest, a fact that he did remind me of when I was telling him off. But a bed is a bed and I am a person who needs her sleep.
In my experience, once you start on this wonderful journey that we call parenting, having a good night’s sleep can be a challenge. From those early days when they are babes in arms when, to be honest, you expect the sleepless nights, through to the teen years, when they sleep like logs but you lie awake worrying about them, very few parents can say that they always have a good night’s sleep.
We all know that sleep is vital for us all. On average, a person will spend a third of their lives in bed and that is quite possibly more than we spend doing any other individual activity. But with so many things vying for our attention, we parents can sometimes find that we are not getting enough sleep, so how can we ensure that when we are in bed, we are getting a good night’s sleep.
Switch off and wind down
Taking some time to wind down before you go to bed is the perfect way to prepare for a good night’s sleep. What not to do is stay on a screen until your eyes are so tired, you can barely keep them open. It is all too easy to get sucked into your screens, especially at the end of a busy day and before you know it, it is way past your bedtime. I also know that some evenings, when I have been running around after the children all day and evening, late evening is often when I catch up with emails and social media, but I am making a conscious effort to turn it all off and either watch a bit of TV or read a book at least half an hour before I settle into bed for the night.
Invest in a good mattress
It sounds obvious, doesn’t it? Yet it is surprising how many people go for the cheaper option without really considering the long-term effects of a bad mattress. Firstly, you won’t sleep very well. If a mattress isn’t comfortable for you, you will find it really hard to settle in for sleep. Secondly, it can affect you physically. As you spend so much time lying on your mattress, a bad mattress can cause back and neck problems.
There is also the possibility that a mattress can make you ill. That much-loved mattress that you have had for years and years? How many years? More than 10 years? Then it may well need replacing. There is no exact lifespan of a mattress as it all depends on usage and how it is looked after but 7 -10 years is the average ‘lifespan’ of a mattress that is used daily and with a build-up of house dust mites, this can sometimes cause allergic reactions.
The Bruno Mattress is top of my shopping list when it comes to mattresses and I have read lots of great reviews. Bruno mattresses have been designed to give your body support in all of the right places thanks to a precisely cut 7-zone support foam base which contours the body and evenly distributes the weight. This means that your body is aligned however you sleep, eliminating ‘pressure points’.
The mattress has been designed give support in all the right places – this is thanks to a precisely cut 7-zone support foam* base – it’s designed to contour the body, meaning weight is distributed evenly and there are no ‘pressure points’ – i.e. hips, shoulders are supported and your back is perfectly aligned, no matter how you sleep. There is no memory foam, in fact, the springy bouncy top layer is made from sustainably farmed natural latex which is naturally hypoallergenic and allows air. This means that the mattress keeps you cool in the summer and warm in the winter.
It is well worth making an investment in a really good mattress, consider the cost and then divide by the number of days you will sleep on it, say over 8 years. I bet the daily cost would only work out at a few pence a day and that is well worth paying to get a good night’s sleep isn’t it?
Cut down on the caffeine
As I am writing this, I am feeling slightly hypocritical as this is another one that I am not very good at doing. As bedtime approaches, you need to wind down, not up. The caffeine in tea and coffee is a stimulant which is the exact opposite of what you need. If you like a hot drink, try a herbal tea such as chamomile or a warm milk. My mum swears by a cup of hot chocolate before bed and she sleeps better than anyone I know, so maybe there is something in that.
Don’t nap during the day
The temptation to have your own little nap time is so hard to resist when your kids are still napping during the day but it if you know that they will sleep during the night, that is when you need to get your sleep. Daytime naps are lovely but they can often make you feel even more tired and groggy when you wake up and they can stop you from sleeping well at night. Why not try going to bed when your kids go to bed so that you maximise sleep time at night? If you have teens who never seem to go to bed, leave them to it and go to bed anyway, you need your sleep even if they don’t.
Grab some fresh air and exercise
Whether you are at home with little ones or working, fresh air and exercise make such a big difference to being able to sleep. Walking, cycling, a trip to the park, anything that gets you and the kids out works well. My non-sleeping son struggles more when he has had a lazy day indoors, and going out for a long walk with him ensures that we both sleep better which is always good.
So those are my top tips for a good night’s sleep. You will be pleased to know that I am now sleeping in a new bed and not on a mattress on the floor and I’m hoping that now my son has come out of the wrestling phase, this bed will last a bit longer than the last one. What helps you to get a good night’s sleep?
This post was written in association with www.brunosleep.co.uk The Bruno mattress is only available to buy from www.brunosleep.co.uk with free delivery and 101 nights to try it. If you don’t love it they will collect it free of charge and give a free refund. Mattresses also come with a 10-year guarantee.