Air, water, food, and sleep; these are the four essential elements that literally keep us alive. Most of us don’t have a problem getting enough air or food or water, but a lack of sleep is a problem that so many people struggle with. So, today’s episode is dedicated to this vital, yet too often neglected, part of our lives; we’re going to help you get better sleep! In order to make sure you get enough sleep, you need to learn to set boundaries for yourself. For example, not scrolling on your phone before bed, allocating specific times for watching TV, and deciding on a non-negotiable bedtime that ensures you get the hours of rest that you need. There are also numerous other sleep improvement tips that Kelly and Megan have to share, some from their own personal experience, and some from research that they have done. Sleep contributes hugely to quality of life, so if you are someone who struggles to sleep, don’t miss this episode!
Read The Full Article Here:
Key Points From This Episode:
Kelly and her daughters’ experiences of insomnia.
Megan describes her relationship with sleep.
How Kelly has been training herself to wake up later in the mornings.
Why Kelly always has her phone in her bedroom while she sleeps, and reasons she knows this is not good for her quality of sleep.
The bad morning habit that Megan has adopted.
Why you should say no to screens of all types before bed.
Examples of ways to develop healthy habits around watching TV.
Products which help Kelly and her husband fall asleep.
Benefits of valerian root.
Types of noises which can be very helpful for falling asleep, and types of noises which are likely to keep you awake.
Although Megan and Kelly aren’t good at it, journaling is a practice that can positively impact your sleep patterns.
Effective ways to release tension that builds up throughout the day, and how this will improve your sleep.
The multitude of reasons that sleep is important (on top of literally keeping us alive!).
Apps which make meditation accessible, and how meditation impacts sleep.
Examples of visualization techniques which can help with falling asleep.
Don’t ingest sugar and caffeine before you go to bed!
How keeping your bed a sacred space just for restful activities can improve your sleeping habits.
Having a set bedtime is not a practice that is only beneficial for children.
The importance of being able to set boundaries for yourself, and with other people.
How Kelly feels when she gets less than six hours of sleep, and how she deals with it.
Sleep tracking apps, and how they can help you sleep better.
How food and medication can impact your sleep.
Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:
[00:00:01] ANNOUNCER: Welcome to She’s a Full On Monet, a digital lifestyle magazine for women. Every week, our Editor-in-Chief, Kelly Castillo, along with Megan Black and special guests, participate in a deep-dive discussion about recent articles and topics we have covered. We invite you to become part of our community, where everyone’s welcome.
[00:00:27] KC: Thank you for joining us again. This is She’s a Full On Monet. I’m your host, Kelly and I have with me, as always, Megan.
[00:00:32] MB: Hi, everybody. Hi, Kelly.
[00:00:35] KC: Hi, how have you been?
[00:00:37] MB: Good. The usual morning summer chaos.
[00:00:40] KC: It’s been so hot. I don’t know about up there.
[00:00:43] MB: It’s been really hot and we have a pool and it’s like we could totally summer it up. But how many times can you go in the pool? It’s been hot and humid. It’s basically like, whatever it is here is like the same as Anaheim area, LA area. So, it’s just –
[00:01:00] KC: Yeah, I’m just thankful that I’m not up in the Pacific Northwest. I heard it got up to like 117 up there at one point. And most of the buildings up there don’t have air conditioning, because they’re not built for that kind of weather. One of our editors lives in Portland and she was saying it got to be like 97 degrees inside her apartment and it was super miserable. Her cats were like on their last legs.
[00:01:21] MB: Oh, man. And you can’t really open your windows, because that’s just letting the hot air in. Yeah, you have all these like, I’ve been there, I lived in an apartment where it’s like, there’s no AC and even if there was, we’re going to pay for it. So, you have like all the fans running and you have like ice packs on you. So, when it hits you, it’s cold air. It’s like – oh, that’s awful.
[00:01:40] KC: Yeah, it’s rough. We went up to San Francisco this last weekend, just for a couple of days just partly to get out of the heat and just kind of have a little couple time because we haven’t really had much of that lately. And now we’re starting to think about, you know, traveling again. So, we kind of are testing out the waters.
[00:01:55] MB: Did you have a good time?
[00:01:56] KC: We did. A lot of stuff in San Francisco is still not open. A lot of the restaurants and shops and stuff are boarded up and they say they’re opening either July 1 or August 1. So, it was still nice to walk around the city. We walked around. We kind of just did a little shopping, sat in some of the parks. I mean, I love San Francisco. It’s one of my favorites and it’s so close. I mean, it’s an hour flight. So, we just hopped up there for the weekend and relaxed mostly. We didn’t do too much. We weren’t trying to like, over schedule ourselves. The whole point was to relax and it was perfect weather. It was like 68 to 72. I was very happy. Because when we came home, it was like 90. So, I was pretty happy.
[00:02:37] MB: That Northern California weather, can’t beat that.
[00:02:41] KC: Well today we are going to talk about how to improve your sleep, how to get better sleep. I know a lot of people struggle with this. I typically don’t. I’m a pretty good sleeper. I really need my eight to nine hours. I treat it as absolutely sacred because I know I’m useless for the day if I don’t get enough sleep, but I have gone through periods of my life, especially when I was having like particular stressors, where I had insomnia really bad. So, I have been through this and both of my daughters suffer from insomnia. That has then their whole life and hopefully not, it won’t continue to be, but so far, we haven’t solved it for them. So, they’ve never been great sleepers and they struggle.
So, I’m hoping that some of these tips maybe I can pass on to them and they can improve their sleep a little bit. Tricky. Sleep is such an important thing but it’s tricky.
[00:03:31] MB: It is. I’m really, I’m easy to fall asleep. But it’s like once I’m awake it’s hard for me to go back to sleep and I don’t – I mean I aim for the eight hours, but it’s like my alarm is whenever like my youngest or oldest wakes up and they walk in the room and feel the need to declare that they’re awake to us. I don’t know. And then even then it’s like, you can relate to this, the newborn stage where they’re up every couple hours. I had to for a while retrain my body not to naturally wake up and feel like I need to tend to something.
So yeah, insomnia is no fun. My husband suffers from that where he can’t fall asleep as easily. I can just like lay down, like it just happens. Not so much in the middle of the day but at the end of the day, I just fall right to sleep. But I wake up early. I wish I could sleep longer. I don’t know.
[00:04:22] KC: Yeah, I wake up really early too, and I mean, I’ve adjusted my falling asleep time to accommodate that, but I used to be able to get by and a little bit less sleep but as I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized sleep is so necessary for me feeling my best the next day that I go to bed, I feel like I’m such an old person, I go to bed so early but it’s because I wake up so early. I’ve been trying to push my waking up time back a little bit. I’ve accomplished about half an hour so far and I’ve been working on it for like a year.
[00:04:48] MB: Where you’re like physically waking up later or you’re getting out of bed later? Because you know when you can wake up and sit there for a while?
[00:04:56] KC: Well, how I did it was I used to get up every morning between 5 and 5:30, because I had to drive Gabby to school, and she had a zero period, and she did some volunteer work before school. So, it was god awful early, and I had to drive her. But now that I don’t have to do that anymore, I started, when she left for college and stuff, I started working on sleeping later. I don’t use an alarm or anything. So, I woke up naturally at that time.
So, I started by like, when I would wake up, I would lay in bed, I would give myself like 10 to 15 minutes and lay in bed with my eyes closed and like fake sleep. I mean, I wasn’t sleeping, but I was trying to trick myself into understanding it was not time to get up. I’ve done that little bit by little bit, until now I’m waking up around six o’clock naturally. So, I have made a pretty big improvement. But it’s not just me I have to train. It’s also the dogs, because they knew I was getting up between 5 and 5:30 and that was the time that they would go with me. If I leave the room, they leave the room with me, and they would want to go outside and start their day.
So, I’ve had to also kind of like retrain the dogs. And then every time we have a time change, nobody tells them.
[00:06:03] MB: The kids, the dogs, all the things, no one gets notice.
[00:06:06] KC: No one tells them. So, I had to start over again when we changed the time, but I’m working on it. My goal is to start sleeping until 6:30. That, I think, is a more reasonable time to get up in the morning.
[00:06:18] MB: I like getting up early. I’m not aiming to like hit eight, nine, I think, but if I were to sleep, sometimes sleeping until 8 AM just feels real nice. But I really like getting up around 6, ideally, 6, 6:30 and like getting some stuff done.
[00:06:32] KC: Me too. I would never want to sleep later than 6. I think 6:30 is a perfect time for me.
[00:06:37] MB: Yeah. Some people are like, “That’s crazy early.” I’m like, “No, that’s my good solid time. I like that.” I think anything else I’m just being unproductive in my head. I don’t know, that’s just my preference. I’m a morning person.
[00:06:47] KC: Right. I work first thing in the morning, that’s my most productive time. I like having my coffee, and I’m doing a little bit of work. My daughter’s on East Coast time. So, by the time I wake up at 6, it’s 9 for her. And she’s probably already sent me a couple of messages. And a lot of our readers are on the East Coast. So, we tried to do our first publishing of the morning at 7 AM Pacific time. Any later than that and it’s like midday for them in the East Coast. So, we’re –
[00:07:13] MB: I’m usually doing some final edits or responding to some messages that have come in early in the morning from people on East Coast time. So, I don’t think I would want to be later than 6:30.
[00:07:23] KC: But if I need eight to nine hours of sleep, if I wake up at 6:30, that means I’m in bed by you know, 9:30, 10, 10:30 the latest and that’s reasonable.
[00:07:34] MB: Do you have a screen on when you’re going to bed? Do you watch a show or is it like when you’re in bed, it’s like reading and lights out or whatever?
[00:07:42] KC: Yeah.
[00:07:42] MB: I’m super guilty of just having the TV run. And I feel like even though we may be sleeping, I’m not in that deep sleep because my eyes and my ears can hear all that.
[00:07:52] KC: I can’t sleep with any kind of noise.
[00:07:55] MB: I don’t recommend.
[00:07:56] KC: No, I think that’s one of the things we’re going to cover today.
[00:07:59] MB: No, it is. It’s just one of those things. That’s like some people’s personal preference, they feel like – me personally, I really like watching a show before I go to bed. But also, sometimes it can be super detrimental to trying to get like a good sleep in or getting the bedtime routine habit going because we all want that good routine where we all like read before bed and like get our mind and our body prepared for sleep. But it’s like really all we’re doing is like eating junk food and watching bad TV and then going, “Why am I not getting good sleep?”
[00:08:27] KC: Yeah. So, I did say that both of my daughters have had sleep problems their whole life and they are the only two children who sleep with their televisions on. If I told them it was causing their sleep problems, they would argue with me all day, twice on Sundays.
[00:08:41] MB: It’s their guilty pleasure too.
[00:08:43] KC: Well, they tell me they can’t sleep without that noise.
[00:08:46] MB: Yeah, exactly. And it’s like, I bet you could. You got to replace it with something else. My daughters, I know that they’re children, but I know adults that still use it like sound machines are really helpful. If you just need sound, you can’t just sleep with silence because that’s when your brain just starts to really rev up, get a sound machine or the Calm app or whatever. Somebody that can like talk you into sleep, if you’re wanting to just need noise. I totally relate to what your daughters are saying. But also, we subconsciously know that that’s BS.
[00:09:16] KC: Yeah, exactly.
[00:09:18] MB: And we’re the root cause of this.
[00:09:19] KC: The first tip and the one that I’m actually guilty of is putting your phone away. I have my phone right next to my bed on a little charging station on my nightstand, and that is because I have children who do not live in my home with me. So, if there was some kind of emergency, I have personally gotten that middle of the night phone call that no parent ever wants to get. And because I’ve had that happen, where there was something very life threatening going on with one of my children in the middle of the night, I will never not sleep with my phone in the same room as me where I can hear it. I even sleep with my Apple watch on partly because I started doing that for sleep tracking, but also because sometimes when I’m deeply asleep, I won’t hear my phone but the vibration on my wrist, I do hear.
So, I figure if someone is calling in the middle of the night, it is urgent. It’s got to be an emergency. Yeah, so I do sleep with the phone next to me and I know that’s bad. My husband doesn’t sleep with the phone even in the same room as him. And so, it’s easier for me if I’m having trouble falling asleep, to just reach over and grab my phone and like scroll TikTok, read the news, and I know that that’s not a good thing to do. But it’s so accessible.
[00:10:27] MB: When you do it, do you change the screen mode on your phone, where you can change it to like the lightness? Because that also is a thing, like that color screen, you can change it to like dark mode or whatever.
[00:10:37] KC: Yeah, I have it. I have it set, I think on automatic because it is on dark mode in the evening, which helps a little bit. And I really, really try not to do that. I really try to put it on the charger. I try to put on the charger at 9 PM and leave it on the charger. I have books on my nightstand. I can read if I need something to occupy my time if I’m not falling asleep right away.
[00:10:57] MB: That’s a good habit to build because I have a stack of books that I should be reading, and yet I’m scrolling TikTok at like all too late at night, and then it takes my brain way too long to it to go into that sleeping stage. The phone’s the worst. And not everyone is in your situation where they need the phone by them. It’s just like something that they like. So, if you don’t have this urgent life-threatening situation where you have to – where you have parents or children where you need to be in contact with all the time like, for goodness sakes, put it in another room, if you can. I mean, the chances of you physically getting up and getting out of bed to go all the way to get your phone are lesser, if it’s not in the same room. It’s more of a task and then you almost feel guilty if the whole purpose was to fix this problem in the first place. You’re like, “Why am I doing this?”
[00:11:43] KC: Yeah. If you don’t have the same situation where you don’t have to have the phone on your nightstand, I would highly, highly encourage you not to do that. If you can even put it in another room, that would be ideal. But I know that –
[00:11:56] MB: Again, if you can’t, don’t feel terrible. I have children who live in my home. I have no one who needs me and it’s literally right next to me. And it’s also, it’s like a bookend problem where the first thing I do when I wake up is grab it and scroll, and it’s like they also say the first hour that you’re awake, you shouldn’t touch your phone. So, it should just be out of sight, out of mind, if that’s something you’re really trying to work on.
[00:12:22] KC: I know. I am trying to work on it. But it’s a work in progress.
[00:12:26] MB: We’re all a work in progress, you know, 80/20. Do all we say 80/20 and you’ll be fine.
[00:12:32] KC: So, I know you can put your phone on Do Not Disturb at night. Again, like that’s not safe for me to do but –
[00:12:39] MB: Still there. It’s the point of being able to like, access it and do what you do that’s a guilty pleasure with it, in the hours you shouldn’t be.
[00:12:47] KC: I think we did talk about this in one previous episode. But if you can turn off as many notifications you can turn off, that is super helpful. I tend to not allow notifications. It always pops up and says, “Will you allow this app to notify you?” I always say no, unless it’s something really urgent that I think will be helpful to me because they’re very distracting. If you ever tried to lay there sleeping and you’re getting a ton of notifications or if you’re on these group text messages. I’ve been on these mom group text messages where it keeps pinging so late at night, I had to mute them because –
[00:13:24] MB: You’re on so many people’s schedules and preferences.
[00:13:29] KC: Yeah, it’s crazy.
[00:13:30] MB: I just leave it. I’m like, “No, I don’t need this.”
[00:13:35] KC: And then the next one is kind of the same. It’s no blue screens. It’s not just phones, it’s TV, it’s iPad, Kindle, even, anything with a screen. The blue light is really detrimental to your body’s natural cycles to know when it’s time to sleep. I’ve heard that. Blue light glasses can help if you really prefer to read with a Kindle and that’s how you want to read at night, please at least wear the blue light glasses. But no screens at all would be best for, I would guess, at least like an hour before bed.
In our house, we have a TV in our bedroom, but it’s in a cabinet. We very, very rarely use it. If we’re going to watch something, like after dinner, we all decide to watch a movie or something, we will go up to the theater room and turn on a movie and watch it beginning to end and then leave the room. My husband is the worst. If he has the TV on, he will just click through channels and he’ll never watch anything. He is watching 30 seconds of each channel.
[00:14:32] MB: He doesn’t know how to TV.
[00:14:34] KC: No. Not at all.
[00:14:36] MB: Because you guys rarely do it. So, when he does it. He’s like, “Is this right? I don’t know.”
[00:14:40] KC: I thought Apple TV will solve this because there’s no flipping. There are no channels to flip through. It doesn’t. Because he will watch five minutes of one movie, turn it off, start the next one.
[00:14:51] MB: You know what my husband likes to do, he likes to go to the Netflix app on the Apple TV and just watch the trailers. You know how they give you 30 seconds of something, that’s like the same thing. I’m like, “Dude, we have watched 30 movies and watched nothing.”
[00:15:06] KC: It’s crazy.
[00:15:07] MB: Because I’m trying to see if I want to watch it. I’m like, “Dude, no, but we’ve made no progress.”
[00:15:11] KC: And the thing is, the time you allotted to like watch something, you’ve spent watching previews, and then you’re just like, you’re over it.
[00:15:19] MB: I’m going to bed now.
[00:15:23] KC: Yeah. Well, we can’t start something now. It’s 9:30. We’re not going to start a movie now. It’s so frustrating.
[00:15:27] MB: It’s very frustrating. I don’t know what’s better. I kind of love, we only have Apple TV, but we also have the Spectrum app, which is also TV in the app. So, we play with both but I just wish we could watch a purposeful show or TV and then turn it off and then go about our day. That’s a better option.
[00:15:43] KC: Yeah, that’s what we do. And it helps that we have a dedicated theater room. I know not everybody has that. But we watch movies in there as a family or as a couple, and we watch them beginning to end.
[00:15:51] MB: We don’t, but we’ve made dedicated movie nights and we turned our room into like a movie theater, and we bring pillows and blankets, and we watch a movie as a family start to finish. And we make a thing of it. It might be a popcorn and all –
[00:16:04] KC: My stepdaughter and her husband and the grandkids, they created a movie screen. I think they used PVC pipe and like a sheet or something, and they have it in their house and they’ll pull it out into the living room and put their projector on it, and then they have family movie nights. So, you create that experience, even without a theater room. I just think it helps us to define the space where we do different things and if we are going to turn on the TV in our room at night, I usually just will put on a nature show, something on Discovery Channel that we both can watch, because I’ve realized that my husband has sleep problems already. If I put on something that’s like news –
[00:16:42] MB: Or like a thriller show or something.
[00:16:45] KC: Like a True Crime show or a cop thriller or something, he will get all revved up. News is the worst for him. He gets super into it and super like fired up and he wants to talk about all the issues that are going on. And I’m like, “No, I want to go to bed. I don’t want to debate with you right now.” So, it’s not peaceful. It’s not conducive to sleep at all.
[00:17:04] MB: It’s just hard because our screens, we can carry our screens with us everywhere. I literally have the Disney Plus app and the Netflix app on my phone. I don’t even need a TV in my room to watch TV in my room. I can just use my phone. So, since we can carry it with us, it’s hard for us to detach ourselves from it anyway. So, like when we finally have downtime, or we’re just like, our brain has kind of turned off, we go into those natural habit-forming states where we’re just grabbing the things we know, and our books are just collecting dust and just sitting there like, “Hey.”
So, it’s just when you can separate screens, do so. If you need screens to calm yourself down, like a Kindle, take the blue part off, because that’s the part that keeps your mind and your eyes like fired up and ready to –
[00:17:46] KC: Yeah. It like makes the brain like neurons fire or something. And it keeps you from calming your mind and going to sleep. I know when my girls were smaller, and I was really struggling to get them to sleep enough at night and they would have their TVs on in their rooms, which I mean, it was a whole thing that they had TVs in the rooms.
[00:18:02] MB: I remember.
[00:18:05] KC: The remote on the TV, it used to have a function, it probably still does, they’re only been getting smarter.
[00:18:08] MB: Yeah, like night mode.
[00:18:10] KC: Night mode or sleep mode where it would automatically turn off after 60 minutes. I would make them do that. I would go in the room and we would do it together so that I knew, “Okay, you can fall asleep to this TV. But if it turns itself off, you can’t turn it back on.” And that was kind of our rule and it seemed to – I mean, it was better than nothing for sure.
[00:18:29] MB: Did you have your kids sleep in their rooms with nightlights because like my husband is adamant about not having a nightlight, because he just thinks like the more dark the space, the better it gets your mind, your brain, your eyes, everything, into that deep sleep mode. So, we don’t do night lights. But I grew up with a nightlight. I also played a lot in my room at night and didn’t just fall asleep. It might have been a bad idea. I don’t know.
[00:18:55] KC: I think my kids had nightlights. I’m pretty sure they did. But I’d also leave their doors like cracked open a tiny bit and leave the hall light on so there was a little bit of light and so they, you know, wouldn’t get scared or anything like that. My kids shared rooms so the boys would share a room, and the girls would share a room. So, I know, I could hear from my bedroom there was lots of whispering going on. Lots of giggling.
[00:19:17] MB: It takes a few minutes anyway, I just was curious about the nightlight thing because I know that that’s – he’s like, “Oh, it does not help with sleep.” I’m like, “Well, kids don’t sleep naturally like, okay, good night.” They’re not just going right to bed. They’re doing shenanigans anyway.
[00:19:33] KC: Yeah. The next item is sleep products. So, there are a lot of sleep products that are out there. We’ve done lots of articles about them. There’s a whole industry for people who have trouble sleeping, and some of it I think really works and some of it is probably just completely gimmicky. I know for me, there’s a company called This Works and they have a deep sleep pillow spray and a deep sleep bath oil and they’re herbal. I don’t know exactly what’s in it but it smells absolutely amazing. If I use that, like a little capsule in my – I love to take a hot bath before bed – in my bath, I will crawl from the bath to the bed and fall immediately asleep. I’ve bought this as gifts for people, and all have said the same thing.
So, it’s the same formulation that they sell in a pillow spray. I personally tend to find pillow sprays a little bit too strong.
[00:20:21] MB: Yeah, it’s hard to like make – yeah, I can’t do it. Yeah, I bought some nice lavender ones and stuff, sprayed it on my kids’ stuff to try and like get them to sleep, and it’s just so strong.
[00:20:31] KC: Sometimes it’ll give me a headache, it’s a little too strong. I do like to put a little bit of lavender in the wash when I’m doing my linens, because they make like linen washes or linen sprays. So, I’ll either put it in the actual washing machine, or I will spray it as soon as they come out of the dryer and that gives it time to kind of dissipate. Is that a word?
[00:20:52] MB: Yeah.
[00:20:52] KC: And then I’ll put the lavender scented, there’s one like Lavender Dreams or whatever, I think it’s from Bounce, that I’ll put under the fitted sheet. So, like directly on the mattress under the fitted sheet. So, you have like two layers before it’s getting to you and I don’t put it up by our faces, I put it like in the center or whatever. That helps it to have that like little bit of a lavender scent.
[00:21:15] MB: I’m totally doing that for my kids.
[00:21:18] KC: It’s supposed to help with sleep. And it also like just makes your sheets smell good. So, I definitely do that. There are specialty sleep headphones. My husband has those because he likes to sometimes listen to the Calm app where they read you stories to go to bed. He has a really hard time – if he’s had a very intense day at work, which is, you know, a lot of days, he has a very hard time shutting his brain off at night, to switch modes. Last night, he had a meeting, he didn’t get home until nearly 9 o’clock and he ate and then just immediately tried to fall asleep –
[00:21:48] MB: You can’t just turn that off. You have to decompress for a while. And then if it’s already late, you’re like, “Cool by the time I finish decompressing, it’s tomorrow.” You’re going to go to bed.
[00:22:00] KC: But there are white noise machines like you mentioned. There are all kinds of –
[00:22:06] MB: What about you mentioned in a previous podcast that your daughter’s take some gummies that help them sleep to those –
[00:22:10] KC: They do. I actually take them as well, even though I don’t have –
[00:22:13] MB: Do they actually work? Because I’ve really been considering getting them for Emma, because she just takes forever to fall asleep. But I’m like, “Maybe I’ll give you a gummy.”
[00:22:21] KC: Yeah. There are basic like melatonin gummies that you can buy at any pharmacy. I tend to prefer these gummies, they’re made by SugarBearHair, which makes the hair gummies because they’re a mix of things. They have melatonin in them, which we all know melatonin is great. They also have lemon balm and valerian root. Valerian root is great for people who have anxiety, it quiets your mind. So, it helps you sleep that night if you take it in the evening, but it also will help you have a calmer mind for the whole next day. So, valerian root tea is the strongest and best way to get it tastes not too good. So, I like the gummies because they actually taste like gummy bears.
A lot of the vitamin gummies don’t and they’re not – they have a little different consistency. I like them quite a bit. So, I do take those at night even though I don’t have too much trouble falling asleep, I feel like they helped me stay asleep and I sleep a little deeper. So, that’s why I take them. We used, when my grandmother was having – one of the things that people with dementia have problems with is knowing when it’s day and when it’s night. So, we gave her lemon balm and valerian in the evening and that helped her tremendously to fall asleep.
[00:23:27] MB: Like get her mind into sleep mode.
[00:23:31] KC: My husband uses a CPAP machine and we have it connected to an oxygen generator because he always has low oxygen. So, the sound that it makes – I’m sure everyone has heard the oxygen machine in the hospitals, it sounds like breath. It sounds like someone just breathing heavily. Actually, at first, I was like, “How am I going to sleep with this noise?” His daughter says that it sounds like a jackhammer. I don’t think it does. I think it sounds kind of like a louder white noise machine.
[00:23:59] MB: I know exactly what you’re talking about.
[00:24:02] KC: I found that I actually sleep better with it now because I’m accustomed to it and it kind of drowns out any little house noises that I’m hearing. And when he’s not home or when we’re traveling, we don’t bring it with us, and I’ve realized that I missed the noise of it. I don’t sleep as well. It’s kind of crazy.
[00:24:18] MB: Yeah, it’s crazy. I even remember, is was a long time ago when I was pregnant with Emma, we used to sleep – we used to live in a really cool apartment complex that had just running water and streams everywhere. My bed was like right next to a running stream and when we first moved in, I had the same thought. I’m like, “How am I going to sleep with this creek, like running creek like right next to me?” And it got to a point where it was therapeutic and calming. I know water noise is already a mode on a sound machine. But it doesn’t matter what the sound is. If it’s something that you are used to hearing every night, it just becomes your natural sound machine. It’s weird how quiet the world is when you don’t have something you’re used to just listening to every night like that.
[00:25:02] KC: Yeah.
[00:25:01] MB: And I think TV is that, it’s not.
[00:25:03] KC: It’s not. The thing is he switches it on when he gets into the bed to go to sleep. So, my brain has associated that noise with sleeping time.
[00:25:14] MB: Kind of like that science experiment where the sound of the bell made like the dog salivate or whatever.
[00:25:19] KC: Yeah, Pavlov’s dog.
[00:25:19] MB: I feel like, “I’m tired now.”
[00:25:23] KC: Exactly. So, I’ve found that I actually enjoy the noise now and I miss it when we’re traveling and I don’t hear it. It’s kind of strange.
[00:25:30] MB: That’s so strange.
[00:25:32] KC: My mind is listening to all these little tiny noises, like we were in a hotel this weekend. So, I’m listening to people walking down the hallway and elevator ding.
[00:25:38] MB: You’re more in tune with the outside noises.
[00:25:41] KC: Totally. So, yeah, that works for me. But if you are used to sleeping with the TV on or something, I would recommend maybe trying to switch that out for white noise machine.
[00:25:50] MB: White noise machines are epic. I mean, really, really. Because it’s been so hot, we have a fan in our room and the fan noise is a mode on a sound machine, and now I’m like, just hearing the fan sound just gets my eyes and mind tired in times of the day where I’m not even tired. I’m just in my room and I can hear it. It really just helps like cancel out the other noise. But it also gets your mind and your body focused on something, kind of like meditation a little bit, where you’re focused on that one thing and it gets your – it relaxes and calms your mind and all those other thoughts that you’re thinking about kind of dissipate.
[00:26:24] KC: Yeah, that’s why I don’t find the TV being on relaxing, because my mind is focused on the voices and the words and that –
[00:26:33] MB: The sounds change. It’s not the noise apps, they’re all like the same sound for the most part over. It’s the same stream sound. It’s the same ocean wave. It’s like with this, it’s like people talking, the commercial is changing, it goes silent sometimes. So, your mind can’t fully use that as a sound machine because it’s in tune with all these different things. And you’re also listening to the voices and the conversations that are going on.
[00:26:56] KC: Right. I’m engaging with it.
[00:26:57] MB: Because when you close your eyes, all the other senses heighten, right? So, if your eyes are close, your ears are almost more in tune, because you’re trying to like pick up on something else. So no, it’s not TV.
[00:27:08] KC: No, it’s not. It’s very distracting. Your mind is engaging with the conversation that’s happening and you’re right. The noises are not consistent on most TV. So, you’re in different registers. Where all white noise machines, I think, are in the same kind of wave register sound wave or something.
[00:27:22] MB: I don’t do well with the ones where it’s like jungle noise where there’s a random bird and then there’s like an owl. You know what I mean? Because they’re not the same to me. Now, I’m listening to like, “Oh, what’s coming?” What animal is going to come next? You know what I mean? Where it’s like a wave, it’s the same wave or it’s the same fan sound. There are also different modes on sound machines that work better for you than others.
[00:27:41] KC: And everyone has to find their own. I like the night noises with the crickets.
[00:27:46] MB: You do? Oh, no.
[00:27:46] KC: To me, it’s like I’m in the Pirates of the Caribbean.
[00:27:49] MB: Like we’re in the [inaudible 00:27:49] or something?
[00:27:51] KC: Yeah, I’m going to the Pirates – no, not Pirates. I’m going through – it’s the Pirates of the Caribbean. Right when you pass the restaurant –
[00:27:59] MB: With the banjo.
[00:28:00] KC: And the guy on the cabin. Yeah, it’s very relaxing to me.
[00:28:03] MB: That’s funny. I just think that bug and bird noises are distracting. So, I’m more of an ocean, water sound or just straight like fan. I love a good fan noise. It’s just so one and consistent. The heartbeat one freaks me out. But I think for babies it’s like needed. But I never used it for my children. But I’ll like totally sleep better when I’m in a room with them and the sound machine is on, because it’s great. It’s like you can buy those things anywhere. I think there’s an app. There are a bunch of apps too, Calm app. There are sound machine apps where –
[00:28:37] KC: Yeah, exactly. If you don’t want to buy a sound machine –
[00:28:41] MB: It goes against rule number one of keeping your phone near you. But if you want to really like just test it out for one night and be like, “I wonder if this will work,” download an app tonight or today and then test it tonight and see if you’re – put it on before you go to bed. Typically, there’s a timeframe. It’ll go for a certain amount of time, and then it will stop.
[00:29:05] KC: Yeah, that could be classical music. It could be somebody reading you a story or lots of things. They have some great options now. So, the number four is to journal. I am not good at this. I’m actually horrible at journaling.
[00:29:18] MB: Terrible at journaling, too.
[00:29:20] KC: Yeah, but one thing that will wake me, or if I’m not quite asleep yet, and I’m in that drowsy about to fall asleep mode, and I remember something urgent I need to take care of tomorrow, or that I didn’t get done that day that I’m like, “Oh my gosh, I never emailed so and so back,” that will cause me to wake and get up because I want to write it down or leave myself a reminder on my phone.
So, I do think I can see the benefit before you fall asleep at night, like sitting down with a journal and kind of going over your day and getting everything out so that your brain isn’t running through, because when I fall asleep at night, my brain is running through my day and the day to come, and I am kind of thinking about all the little things I need to do or didn’t do, or, “Oh my gosh, where’s my birth certificate?” Whatever weird thing pops into your brain. So, I can see that like, right before you fall asleep, if you were to just write it all out in a journal, that might really be of great benefit. I’ve never successfully been able to do that.
[00:30:24] MB: I would only – I haven’t done it so long, just because it’s just now it’s a habit of me not doing it, which is such a bummer. But I would only write my next day’s to do list the night before. The reason is, is just like you, I would think of all the things I didn’t accomplish, all the things I needed to do the next day. But there was something kind of like, weirdly satisfying about knowing that like I couldn’t physically do anything about these things until the next day. I noticed that when I was writing out my to do list for the day, I felt this urge, and we’ve talked about it before, of like wanting to get it done as I was writing it. And it would almost like work against itself on helping me, it would make me feel like stressed out.
If I did it the night before, it’s 9:30. Even crazy Megan is like, “Girl, what are you going to accomplish in the next three hours? You can’t do any of this right now.” But getting it out, made my brain not think about it, which made my body more ready for sleep. So, I would suggest that if you want to do like a to-do list and you want to write something – I don’t write about my feelings at night. I’m not about that. But I am about writing your to do list or things that are in your head for the next day, the night before. It is something that is therapeutic, and gets kind of your mind off your mind and onto paper so that you can like move on.
[00:31:38] KC: Whenever I think of journaling, I think of those diaries that we used to get from like Spencer’s, or like Claire’s, that were fuzzy and they had a lock with a key and it would be like, you would write with a pen with like a flute on the end and would be like, “Dear Diary, today –”
[00:31:56] MB: Yeah, you either talk to yourself or your diary, right?
[00:31:58] KC: Yeah, “Joey pulled my hair at school. Does that mean he likes me?” That’s the correlation I make when I see the word journaling.
[00:32:05] MB: No, even when I get an adult journal, and I’m writing adult things, I still write it like it’s a fuzzy journal with a lock and I feel silly doing it and I’ve tried it, and it’s just – I’ve established, much like meditation, that it just might not be my thing and it’s okay. I feel like I’d rather type it out. I’m faster. I’m much of a perfectionist when it comes to writing. If it looks ugly, I will be focused more on the font that I’m writing to myself where no one else is reading it. This is so irrelevant. But yeah, I’m more focused on that, than I am focused on getting my feelings out. But when I’m typing, like, I used to have this thing called, it was like live journal.
[00:32:41] KC: Me too, yeah.
[00:32:44] MB: And I would just type in all the things and it was like, there was no holding back. Because it was like, A, no one’s going to read it. And B, I type really fast. I took typing classes in high school, so I could just get a lot more out faster without feeling like I was like – I think faster than I write. I wasn’t getting anywhere.
[00:33:00] KC: Yeah, that frustrates me too, when I’m not – my brain is going much faster than my pen will go. If I want to write a letter to someone, sometimes if I’m upset with someone or I have, like something just happened between me and whoever I write it out, my family has always done this, when we have conflict, we write letters to each other. I found that for me, sometimes just getting it out, I won’t even send it to them. If that’s not the point. The point is to get it out of my heart and my brain. I have to do it on a computer. I can’t write it out by hand. My brain is way too fast.
[00:33:32] MB: Some people really like to write. I’m not that person. I’m not that person. I think it’s very therapeutic to get it out. But sometimes I’ll even just – I don’t know, talk into your phone.
[00:33:45] KC: I write all the time all day long. But it is like you said to-do lists, notes to myself, reminders.
[00:33:51] MB: It’s not about doing so and so, or you feeling a certain way.
[00:33:55] KC: No, but I don’t have anxiety. I don’t have a lot of like, emotional conflict. Thankfully. I’m not a super emotional person. So, I don’t feel the need to do that. But I can see the benefit for a lot of people. But I do, I mean, I have a yellow legal pad or a white legal pad with me all day long, because I’m constantly writing stuff down. Or you know, somebody will call me, I’ll make notes while I’m talking to them, whether it’s a doodle –
[00:34:21] MB: It’s like a second extension of you. It’s not really like writing.
[00:34:28] KC: It had nothing to do with emotion or feelings. It’s me just staying engaged in whatever’s happening throughout my day. So, number five is to do a yoga or a workout. I would not recommend doing like some kind of intense cardio or like high intensity workout.
[00:34:48] MB: I stretch before bed. I think the yoga things a great idea.
[00:34:50] KC: Yeah. My Apple watch does the super annoying thing where around 9 PM it reminds me that it’s still possible to close my rings and I’m like, “Am I going to hop out of bed right now and run in place for 20 minutes? I don’t think I am.”
[00:35:03] MB: “Thanks Mom,” like the trainer you didn’t want to hear from right before bed or your coach.
[00:35:09] KC: No, thank you. But I do find that I do walk in the evening, I walk the dogs a second time in the evening, and that helps me. If I get up and I do stretching, or yoga, some kind of yoga or Pilates thing, we have a Pilates machine that helps stretch me out, that all will help sleep but I wouldn’t recommend like hopping on the peloton.
[00:35:27] MB: Also, maybe, I feel like if you had like such a heavy day, and you have so much on your mind, there is something to just like exhausting your body because your mind won’t go to bed. But if it’s just a normal day, or if you had a kind of hard day, the stress of everything is like on you, right? And if you don’t stretch out, then you’re not going to sleep well. And then it’s just going to – you need to be in a good position to welcome sleep. It’s not as simple as closing your eyes but there’s a lot of things that you really have control over that you can do. One of those things is like stretching a little bit and getting some of that tension off of your body.
[00:36:08] KC: I was just going to say, your tension builds up during the day and if you don’t do anything about it, like I would prefer a hot bath over a stretch session, but either way, you release tension.
[00:36:18] MB: Something to relieve the tension or the muscle soreness or something. Or if you just have a lot of pent up feelings or you’re just like really – sometimes going for like a quick, if you have access to it, sometimes going for a swim or whatever. Getting the energy out of your body, it will make you tired and it will make you fall asleep. If you’re on the peloton, you will fall asleep.
[00:36:36] KC: That’s true. Alex has trouble sleeping and he also has a lot of tension and he’s very emotional. So, he knows in the evening when he’s feeling – he gets really restless in the evening. He’s found that for him, either swimming laps in the pool, something about putting his head – he has like this swimming snorkel, putting his head under the water and like shutting out all the outside, and swimming laps, really helps them to release the day and then he’ll go in the jacuzzi afterwards and just like everything will relax and then he can go straight to bed.
He also has this handheld like massager from, I think we got it at Brookstone. But he uses that like on his legs and it increases the circulation, which helps to relax him also and just kind of get blood moving and help him to release some of the tension. But that’s so important. I think anything that you found that works for you to do moving your body wise in the evening is very beneficial.
[00:37:35] MB: Yeah, recovery is huge for rest and getting exercise out. If you haven’t moved your body all day long, and you’ve just been like a tension, just so full of tension, like it’s building in there and you wonder why your body isn’t going to bed yet. Because it’s not tired yet. Like you went through a full day but you didn’t really exert any energy out. And so, your body isn’t tired yet. My kids are like that. Especially during the pandemic, this was the hardest thing, was trying to get them to exert enough energy during the day so that when it was like bedtime, they were actually tired because they didn’t really move much. We didn’t go out. We didn’t run. We didn’t sweat. We didn’t do much. So, they weren’t really tired. So, it was like, “Okay, let’s just run like a bunch of laps around the house so that you just like get tired.” You got to think of sometimes, sometimes we’re still just toddlers that are just not tired yet. What would you do with a toddler if you need to tire them out? Well, you’d probably run them a little bit, right? Take them to the park, you go do something. Same thing for you.
[00:38:35] KC: Even if you even if you’re not going to do a workout right before bed, because that has maybe the opposite effect for you, if you work an office job where you sit at a desk for eight, nine hours a day, and then you come home and you’re emotionally exhausted from working, not necessarily physically exhausted, so you flop down on the sofa, you watch some TV, eat dinner, and then try to go to bed. You have not moved at all.
So, if somewhere in between, whether it’s on your lunch hour, or when you get home from work, if you even just go outside and take a walk, if you do something, there are so many free workouts online, on YouTube on Amazon Prime, anything like where you’re moving your body, it is absolutely crucial. Because if you’re just sitting 10, 11, 12 hours of your day, you are not – I mean, a lot of people, they work eight or nine hours in an office, they commute maybe even half an hour or an hour each way where they’re sitting in the car, and they get home and they’re worn out, not physically but mentally and emotionally, and they just eat their food and watch a little TV and then try to fall asleep.
[00:39:36] MB: But they will fall, the thing is they will fall asleep, because like my dad had this problem, they will fall asleep because your body will follow this. But then you’ll wake up at like 1 in the morning and you’re like, “I’m ready for the day.” And it’s like 1 in the morning, because you didn’t exert any energy and your body fell – you fell asleep because you’re stressed and you’re tired and you ate. Whatever your body ate, gave you a high and then crashed, right? So, you are going to fall asleep. But then, like my dad had this exact problem where he wouldn’t move all the day and then he would wake up at like 1 in the morning and you’d be like, “I feel rested.”
[00:40:08] KC: Because your body’s saying you don’t need to sleep that much because you’re not moving.
[00:40:11] MB: You’re just like chilling all day, and then went to sleep, and then you tried to chill some more. It’s like, your body didn’t do anything. And you do that every day consistently, you’re just going to ruin your sleeping pattern. Some people –
[00:40:21] KC: It’s also super bad for you.
[00:40:23] MB: Yeah, some people don’t have any control. They have like one of those sitting in office jobs or they have desk jobs. They have to be that thing. You have to, unfortunately, I’m sorry, be kind of more diligent about how you take care of yourself when you leave and find time – you got to find time to move your body.
[00:40:37] KC: I drive a lot and I see people in the office parks and industrial parks. It’s usually ladies with their office clothes on and sneakers and they’re power walking on their lunch hour, and I’m always like, “Get it girl!” Because otherwise you’re not going to sleep tonight. That’s fantastic.
[00:40:52] MB: People will get sit on the bouncy ball chairs while they’re typing, because they know they’re going to be at a desk job for 12 hours and like they’re dying. Yeah, sometimes it’s weird, but before bed, you got to exert some energy, maybe not right before bed, because like you said for some people might get them more awake, or it might make it harder for them to fall asleep. Just try and carve some time into that even if it sounds like it’s not going to be fun because sleep is literally, other than like water and air, the most important thing.
[00:41:24] KC: It’s essential.
[00:41:24] MB: You gotta revolve everything you do around it from what you eat, to how you take care of yourself, to the choices you make when you’re trying to be giving yourself some like guilt time. If TV is killing you sleep wise, then I’m sorry, you gotta nip that in the bud. Even if it’s your guilty pleasure at night. You like to watch TV till 12 o’clock, it’s literally ruining the rest of your next day. So, you can’t be – you got to find another guilty excuse or a guilty pleasure, I guess. That’s something I have to learn because I wake up at 2 in the morning and I gotta turn off the TV because I don’t even have the sleep timer on and I’m like trying to find the remote, and then I’m trying to go back to sleep again at 2 in the morning.
[00:42:04] KC: So disruptive, yeah. I mean, sleep is when our body heals itself. It’s restorative. It’s so important. Like you’re saying it’s important for digestion. It’s important for your skin, it’s important for all your organs to work properly. You need proper sleep.
[00:42:19] MB: How you show up to your job, I mean, you can’t show up tired to your job consecutively, you’ll get fired. How you show up to your relationships, how you show up to everything, like you just can’t consistently go on bad sleep. Your body will like –
[00:42:31] KC: Break down.
[00:42:32] MB: It will catch up to you. There’s no getting around it.
[00:42:36] KC: Lack of sleep has been tied to depression. It’s been tied to weight gain. It’s been tied to anxiety. It’s been tied to so many issues, and heart problems. I mean, we just trust that we need sleep.
[00:42:45] MB: See how crazy we are when the kids are like just born and we have no sleep. We’re literally insane people.
[00:42:50] KC: It just goes to show you how essential it is, it honestly is. So, these are things that we need to implement, even if it takes away some things that make us a little happy, it’s a temporary happy. We want to be long term happy.
[00:43:03] MB: Yeah, there’s alternatives. Your daughter and I are convinced that the TV is like our BFF at nights, but like, it’s just because we don’t want to accept the alternatives that might not be as enjoyable.
[00:43:14] KC: The next thing on the list is meditation and you and I were just talking about how I am failing at my meditation practice. But meditation for sleep, for most people, that means what we’ve already talked about, using Headspace, or the Calm app, listening to classical music or white noise machine, something like that, where you can just quiet your mind enough to be able to fall asleep. The tension that we talked about in the body, there are guided meditations that walk you through a full body scan, where you start at your toes, and you work all the way up, and you’re searching for tension.
[00:43:47] MB: I think when I was pregnant, it’s so great. I love that. I love that.
[00:43:51] KC: That’s a good practice for everyone because it teaches you to be more aware of your body and where you hold tension because you’re actively looking for tension in your body and releasing it. That is super important. If you’re having the tension issues falling asleep, that would be very, very helpful.
[00:44:05] MB: It just makes your mind – it just makes everything focused on one area and you just would be surprised how it’s subconsciously making you tired. You’re just not thinking of like that phone call with your aunt, and also your toes. You’re just thinking about your toes. So, that just kind of fades away, and then all of a sudden, you’re just focusing on your body and then you’re fully in it, and then you’re getting out of it what you should be, and then you’re asleep. It’s so great. You just feel so relaxed, almost like you just left a massage that someone else did for you. It’s very rewarding.
[00:44:38] KC: Yeah. It’s super helpful. Visualization is the next thing on the list and I think most people might be confused about this, but it’s no different than the old like counting sheep thing that people – I don’t think anyone actually ever does that, but it’s something that everybody knows equates to sleep. Visualizing is something that you would do if you have trouble shutting your mind off, just fall asleep. If your thoughts are racing and you’re having trouble letting go of your day or your worry for the day coming, whatever it is, if you can visualize either a place that you know really, really well, visualize like your childhood bedroom, I don’t know, just something that has meaning to you where you can visually explore it in your mind, and it’s almost like virtual reality that your own brain creates for yourself, or you can visualize being a beach scene, someplace you’ve been on vacation that was very relaxing, and kind of what you see, what you hear, what you smell, every single sense and try to get yourself into a place like that. If that doesn’t work for you, you can do the alphabet, you can do the alphabet backwards, you can try to remember pi as many digits as you know it.
I know my daughter, she’ll say the Pledge of Allegiance in Spanish, because it requires her to focus while she’s doing it, and it’s something that shuts the other racing thoughts off in her brain. So, she does this when she is having an anxiety attack. She also does this sometimes when she’s trying to fall asleep. So, whatever works for you, visualization doesn’t necessarily mean laying there and saying affirmations about sleep or like visualizing yourself sleeping, because that’s literally just lying there with your eyes closed. It’s funny to me that in order to fall asleep, we have to pretend that we’re already asleep, and then that’s how our body falls asleep. It’s very strange to me. But that’s how it works.
[00:46:23] MB: It’s super strange. It’s super strange. Now, I practice this literally every night. I have a hard time shutting my mind off too. If I don’t naturally fall asleep, and like Dan turns the TV off and we’re going – okay, we’re going to sleep, I always, always just visualize somewhere. It’s always typically the same places. This practice helped a lot during the pandemic, when I literally could not go anywhere. It made me feel kind of like I had control over – I’m big on control. I had control over that and I could go anywhere, because it’s really cool that you can literally shut your eyes and go to space if you want. You know what I mean?
But you have to, like you said, be very in tune with the sound of the birds and the sound of the waves and the sound of like – and the smells. Not because it makes the experience better, but because it just takes you further, further deeper into that concentration mode and focusing on the details. And then all of a sudden, you’re asleep. It’s awesome. It’s awesome to do just because it’s cool to go anywhere. But it’s also really awesome to do because it’s a really easy way to just shut off all of the other noises that are going on in your head, that kind of weirdly enough, come out and are loudest when it’s most quiet. When you’re most ready to go to sleep, that’s when my brain’s like the loudest and all of my anxieties really just come out is when I have time to finally relax and not worry about my anxieties. It’s hard. You need to trick your mind into thinking about something else.
[00:47:47] KC: I think a lot of people have the same exact problem. That’s true probably for most people. I know one of the things that works for us and works for me is that in our bedroom, our bed is like a sacred space. We only use it for resting, sleeping, those kinds of activities.
[00:48:05] MB: That’s good and it should be and that starts with what, no TV or cabinet TV where it’s like –
[00:48:11] KC: It’s closed when we’re not watching it.
[00:48:12] MB: – is not an option.
[00:48:13] KC: I don’t sit in bed with my laptop. Not ever, ever. I don’t eat in bed, even if I’m sitting there like coloring an adult coloring book, or it’s the middle of the day and I’m reading, I will lay on the sofa instead of in the bed. Because I want my brain to know that when I get into the bed, it’s time to wind down for sleep and not time to do any other activities.
[00:48:36] MB: That’s a very good trick. That’s a very good tip.
[00:48:39] KC: Yeah. I think with the pandemic, like you said, most people are working from home, and a lot of people in limited spaces, like putting your laptop in the bed, it was something that was very normal. But I think you have to have that brain separation between work and rest, and between anything else and rest. So yeah, I would encourage you if it’s possible to do that, make your bed a space that you reserve only for evening time, or in the middle, if you’re trying to take a nap in the middle of day too, just associating it with rest and sleep and having it be like a sanctuary for yourself.
[00:49:13] MB: I think it’s kind of silly, but it’s like the pair of shoes that you only wear to like really nice places they kind of have extra –
[00:49:19] KC: Magic.
[00:49:22] MB: – because you don’t also wear them when you like take the car to the carwash, or maybe you do, but like you’re not like wearing them all the time. So, they’re not an everyday thing. They’re special occasion thing. The bed should be seen as something that is meant for a certain purpose, or certain few purposes, and if you make it for an all-around thing, I eat my bed. I have my laptop in my bed. I do all things in my bed. It’s like literally –
[00:49:43] KC: Yeah, it’s so bad.
[00:49:46] MB: It’s the sofa. But I don’t have as much space but I also could choose other places. It causes me to see it as just that, right?
[00:49:56] KC: Yeah, exactly.
[00:49:56] MB: It’s a good idea to try it.
[00:49:57] KC: Exactly, and I know it’s not possible or easy for everybody. I can imagine if you’re living in a studio apartment, that would be extremely challenging. But I’ve done other things to make my bed a sanctuary. I buy, it’s one place where I would best, I buy really good quality sheets and blankets. I don’t mean they have to be necessarily super expensive, but the texture that I prefer to sleep on, I have pillows that –
[00:50:24] MB: What you sleep in, for me, also definitely affects your sleep too.
[00:50:27] KC: A great mattress, good sheets and pillows, it’s totally worth the investment. You’re going to spend 1/3 of your day in the bed. I mean, eight hours is 1/3 of your day.
[00:50:36] MB: I don’t even know how much of your life you are sleeping. So, it’s like, it’s totally worth the investment. You spend most of your time there.
[00:50:44] KC: Yeah. It’s so important and it’s someplace you don’t want to scrimp on. If you can make it really, really a place that when you climb in it, you’re comfy and you just want to go to bed, everything feels so great, that’s definitely what you should do. I think also like when you get up in the morning, if you make your bed right away, you’ll be much less inclined to climb back into it to do work, to make phone calls, to do anything else. It’s made, it looks pretty, and then taking all of the decorative stuff off of it, and folding down the comforter and climbing in it, it’s like a routine or like a process that like sets the tone in your brain that, “I’m getting my bed ready for sleep, and I’m climbing into it and this is sleeping time.”
So, that’s the last thing we’re going to say is that the routine is probably the most important aspect of a sleep schedule. I mean, we all – if we’re moms, we all know the importance of sleep schedules for babies, whether or not my kids never abided by any. But I know that setting a sleep schedule is essential. This is important if you have any kind of neurocognitive issues. I mean, I’ve heard even people with vision issues that can’t tell the difference between day and night, like setting the same schedule to go to bed at the same time and wake up at the same time every day is super important. Because it’s very easy to get the times mixed up if you can’t visually see that it’s daylight or dark outside.
It’s the same for people with cognitive issues, like people with dementia. They have to be on a set sleep schedule. Because otherwise, they could sleep the whole day and be up all night. But I think every single human being benefits from training yourself to know around a certain time is the time that you go to bed. And your body will naturally then start to be tired around that time because it’s anticipating that.
[00:52:29] MB: This reminds me of like whatever we do for our children we should do for ourselves. Do you ever just like, “Okay, kids. Good night.” No, there’s a routine, right? You brush your teeth. You get your PJs on. You read a bedtime story. There is a diligent routine. We try and stick to the same time. But then like, as adults, we just expect to just like roll over and fall asleep. No, there’s got to be –
[00:52:50] KC: No, it’s the same.
[00:52:49] MB: – a routine, a regimen, whatever you’re doing for your children, if you’re thinking about their nutrition, and you’re giving them all the right things, and then you just eat the crust around the sandwich, like, you got to give yourself the same benefits that you’re trying to give your children because we’re just all grown up children, like we all still need routine.
[00:53:07] KC: I mean, so many parents tell their kids, “Oh, no, you can’t have sugar. You won’t sleep tonight, because it’s 5, 6, 7 o’clock at night.” And then they’re throwing back Starbucks at 8 o’clock at night and they’re not –
[00:53:17] MB: Yeah, where are my people at? I am eating all the bad things like right before bed and I’m like, why is my brain not going to bed? Well, it’s wired up on sugar and I just told my eight-year-old she couldn’t have a cookie before bed. But me, whatever. It’s cool.
[00:53:29] KC: Yeah, I’m going to eat this type of ice cream that’s coffee flavored. And I’m going to wonder why I’m not sleeping. Alex will drink espressos all day long and can’t sleep at night.
[00:53:38] MB: I drink coffee kind of late at night because sometimes, and like a lot of people, you don’t even have to be a parent, sometimes a lot of my work days ends up sometimes starting –
[00:53:46] KC: When the kids go to bed.
[00:53:48] MB: I’ll sneak in like a small coffee at like 7, 8 PM and then I won’t be tired even a little until like 12, 1 o’clock in the morning, and then get up again at 6. So, it’s like yeah, but don’t do that either. Don’t drink coffee before bed.
[00:54:02] KC: I know for me, especially when it’s really cold out, sometimes a hot drink before bed just feels really good. It soothes my throat, makes me like feel warm and comfy and it’s a comfort drink or whatever. Have a chamomile tea. Have hot water with lemon. There are a million teas that are not caffeinated. Yeah, anything else other than espresso and green teas.
[00:54:25] MB: But that’s crazy. I do think that that’s crazy to like, and a lot of people do those late-night Starbucks runs on the way home because they know that they have to finish that last thing of work before they go to bed. Yes, you do. It’s very important that you get that last thing to work before bed. But then once you send that in, then you gotta take care of your body that you like went crazy on. You gotta value yourself too. Some people might be strung out on work late at night and they can’t turn it off.
[00:54:56] KC: For me, routine is the biggest thing because I already know I am unable to sleep past a certain time in the morning. I’m going to wake up at that time, no matter what time I fall asleep at night, I’m going to wake up at my normal time. So, setting that time that I need to be asleep by in order for me to feel good the next day, is something I protect, so deeply.
[00:55:17] MB: Are you looking at the clock, like, “I only have so and so hours left now.”? Because I’m like you, where I will wake up, and it’s non negotiable. I don’t even have a choice. So, I’m like, I’m running –
[00:55:29] KC: I mean, if we’re out with friends, if we’re at an event, if we have something planned, I already know that I’m going to – but if I’m at home, and there are other forces that are like trying to start a conversation with me at like 9:30 at night, or somebody calls and I know it’s going to be a long call, or I know I have emails that should be responded to, but they could wait until morning, but they’re there. That’s good. I mean, even if Alex is not ready for bed, not tired, doing his own thing, I will still go in and put my pajamas on and climb into the bed. It is something to me that I protect at all costs.
[00:56:02] MB: The first step is setting boundaries for a routine and then setting a routine, because if you do not set boundaries, and you make it almost negotiable, then you’re going to skip out on certain aspects of your routine, and it’s going to affect your sleep. So yes, you have to make boundaries, like all other parts of our life. Sleeping, you have to make boundaries. You have to go, “Oh, I haven’t checked that email. But I need to start getting ready for bed. It can wait.” You have to set those boundaries too.
[00:56:31] KC: All of the issues, all of the tips that we talked about today are mostly setting boundaries with ourselves, and giving ourselves the self-love, self-care to format a strategy to get enough sleep. But you need to have those boundaries with others as well. Because I’m a people pleaser. I don’t like saying no to people. So, if I have someone who wants my attention in the evening, and it’s not obviously a small child, I have to be able to say, “You know what, can we table this until tomorrow? Because I really need to get to bed.” Or sometimes Gabby will be out all day with her friends and then – she’s home from college right now and then she’ll late at night be like, “Let’s watch a movie. I want to cuddle.” I’m like, “Okay, I want to cuddle you too baby but I really need to fall asleep.”
[00:57:16] MB: It’s funny, if you start to set boundaries for something as small, but as also as monumental asleep, you’ll start to set boundaries and other parts of your life, like the [inaudible 00:57:25]. You may have struggled with sleep because you lack time for self-care. Well, then once you get better sleep, then you’ll learn that setting boundaries isn’t about making other people feel like they’re not important. It’s prioritizing yourself more.
[00:57:39] KC: Yeah, exactly.
[00:57:39] MB: When you’re a people pleaser, it’s a hard thing.
[00:57:41] KC: It is. I handle everything for like all of the accounting for our company and all of our investments and all of Alex’s stuff. So, he has racing thoughts when he tries to fall asleep. So, he’ll lay down, we’ll both lay down in the bed, we’ll go into bed, my eyes are closed, I’m literally falling asleep and he’ll be like, “Did you ever email Robert back?” Or “What date is the appointment for our contractor?” And I have to just look over at him and be like, “Tomorrow, honey. Tomorrow.” Because that would require me to get up, open my phone calendar, look –
[00:58:12] MB: And get back into work mode. Now, you’re in sleep mode. Now, you’re in a whole different mode and then you got to go back into sleep mode.
[00:58:18] KC: And it’s hard for me to do that, because I know answering those questions will ease his mind and maybe help him go to sleep. But at the same time, I have to protect my own sleep schedule. So, I will tell you –
[00:58:29] MB: And what good are you at that point? That’s true. Dan wanted to go look for houses, and he wanted to do it really late at night and one of my opinions on some really important part, and I’m like half listening, like, “I don’t know. I am not useful to you right now. Let me rest because I’m not useful and then we can talk about this tomorrow.”
[00:58:50] KC: Yeah. He has trouble mentally prioritizing what’s urgent and what’s not urgent. So, he will have a sense of urgency about things that can totally wait until tomorrow. So yeah, you have to have those boundaries with other people just as much as you –
[00:59:01] MB: If you’re getting better at learning that this is – because you don’t want to feel guilty. The last thing you want to do is feel guilty, because I feel you are not wanting – because you know that maybe having him have that answer will help him sleep. And also, you care about his sleep. But at the same time, you don’t want to feel guilty about that, and also trying to take care of yourself.
[00:59:18] KC: Yeah. He’s gotten much better about it. Sometimes he scrolls his phone at night while I’m falling asleep and then he wants to show me something, or he listens to a video without headphones on or something and I have to say, “Honey, I’m really trying to sleep right now.” And then he’ll be like, “Okay, I’m sorry.” He doesn’t understand how – first of all, he doesn’t understand how easily I fall asleep. It’s like I’m like wizardry to him. He does not get it.
[00:59:44] MB: But it’s not easy. It’s a practice.
[00:59:47] KC: It’s easy because I’ve worked at it. That’s why it’s easy. But he also really does understand that if I don’t get enough sleep, I feel almost hungover the next day. I feel physically ill. There’s a threshold.
[00:59:59] MC: He doesn’t want that for you. So, it’s a whole lot of people trying to not –
[01:00:03] KC: Yeah, I love my eight to nine hours of sleep, but I need, absolutely need at least six. If I get less than six hours of sleep at night, I am physically ill the next day. I feel hungover, I’m nauseous, I have a headache. I mean, it’s physical. So, sometimes if he’s ill or something, and that’s why I’m up all night, he will feel so bad the next day because he sees it. My eyes are like sunk. I am not well.
[01:00:25] MB: Do you nap at all? Are you a napper?
[01:00:27] KC: I can’t sleep during the day. No, not ever. I’ve never been able to even when I was little. So, the next day I’ll go to bed earlier, I’ll go to bed you know much earlier to try again.
[01:00:37] MB: You can’t again like grab at it midday to try and like –
[01:00:41] KC: No, but I will go outside and sit in one of the, you know, sun chairs and just close my eyes and take 15 minutes or whatever. I’m not sleeping. But it is restorative.
[01:00:51] MB: You’re accepting the day for what it is and like trying to find whatever glimpse of happiness is still in there before you take on –
[01:00:58] KC: Yeah, at that point, it is what it is and I know, in the morning, when I feel super shitty because I didn’t sleep the night before and there was nothing I could do about it, some circumstances, right? Sometimes one of the dogs is sick at night. Sometimes it’s Alex, sometimes it’s just what it is. Sometimes I just can’t sleep. In the morning I tell myself, “Okay, you feel awful. True, very true. But you’re only going to feel awful for today. Once you fall asleep tonight, when you wake up tomorrow morning, you’ll feel fine again.” So, you’re not actually – you don’t have the flu –
[01:01:27] MB: You have to tell yourself that, to remind yourself it is not forever. That it’s just –
[01:01:31] KC: You don’t have the flu, you don’t have some kind of sickness, this is just from – so, if you can power through one day feeling like this, tomorrow will be better. And that helps me mentally not to consistently tell people how bad I feel all day. Because I mean, that’s my burden, not theirs. Especially if Alex was sick the night before and caused me not to feel well, for me to bring it up more than – I tell him in the morning and be like, “I don’t feel well, I didn’t sleep.” If I need to repeat it again during the day, it’s just making him feel bad. Why would I do that? You can’t change it.
[01:01:59] MB: As much as you want to say it out loud, because it kind of feels good to say out loud, it’s like someone else’s fault.
[01:02:05] KC: No. I mean, it’s like when you have a very young infant child, you are not sleeping and you are feeling the effects of not sleeping, but it is what it is. What are you going to tell the little baby all day?
[01:02:19] MB: I mean, you will tell the baby once or twice, to their face. And while you’re looking at them and go, but it doesn’t do any good. They’ll still do it. You still have to love them no matter what.
[01:02:32] KC: Right. I allow myself to feel my pity party for a minute, and then I let it go with it. And even if I’m repeating that to myself about, “Oh, I feel so terrible. I feel so terrible.” You’re mentally staying in that place. If you tell yourself that once and you’re like, you know what, yeah, I do feel terrible, but I’m going to power through it. I’ve gone through way worse than this.
[01:02:51] MB: It does exacerbate it and make it almost worse.
[01:02:54] KC: It does, because you’re focusing on it.
[01:02:55] MB: You are what you focus on.
[01:02:57] KC: And if you’ve ever had something painful in your body, whether it’s a twisted ankle, a headache, whatever it is, if you lay there and think about it, it hurts a million times worse than if you just go about your day and you stay busy and you’re not focused on it. At least for me.
[01:03:14] MB: It’s just true. It’s like when someone hits you on another part of your body so that that’s where you focus on. That’s where everything – like the meditation in a good way, where all you’re doing is focusing on that body part in a good way, you are where you put your focus on, right? It’s going to make it worse.
[01:03:29] KC: Yeah, if you have a mild toothache or something and you just go about your day, you’re just staying busy all day, you’re not thinking about it. When you lay down to sleep at night, that toothache will suddenly be a thousand times worse because you don’t have any distractions.
[01:03:41] MB: You’re a mom of four, you get it. At some point you just go, “I literally do not have time for this. So, I’m just going to pretend like this does not exist,” and then it won’t exist. I remember when you told me you had a toothache like when you were pregnant and you couldn’t be given anything so you just shove like –
[01:03:58] KC: Baby Tylenol up in my tooth hole.
[01:04:01] MB: And then just go about your day because you had other kids and you didn’t have time for this. I’m just listening to the story going like, “How is that possible to just do this?” Well, you don’t have a choice. You just have to go about your day.
[01:04:09] KC: Yeah. Fake it until you make it. Fake it until you make it is like the motto of my life.
[01:04:16] MB: That’s how moms of four get through because they just do not put their focus or their time and energy on whining about one thing. And yeah, they’re literally never sick because they don’t have time for that. So, don’t put your focus on that and you’ll be much better.
[01:04:31] KC: So, hopefully, anyone listening to this, I’m sure at least one of these issues or tips resonated with you and maybe help you to discover the root of some of your sleep issues. If you’re not sleeping well and you’re not sure why you’re not sleeping well, I would highly encourage you to use a sleep tracker, either an app or something like that. There’s one I used to use called Pillow that was attached to my Apple Watch and my iPhone. I recommend that but there’s a lot of them out there. Most of them are free apps.
If you use something like that, and it allows you to put notes in there about your day, and then it will track your sleep at night, it will help you pretty quickly discover what’s happening on the days that you’re not sleeping well. It could be that you’re eating too late in the evening. It could be that something that you’re eating, you have a sensitivity to, that you don’t even realize. It could be that those are the days you didn’t move your body, or those were the days that you had some kind of emotional trigger, or you had too much caffeine.
[01:05:26] MB: Do not say, “I am bad at sleep.” It is so many other things.
[01:05:30] KC: Really do a little bit of work to figure out what it is that is the hindrance for you personally to your sleep. So, I couldn’t recommend that enough, it really has helped me figure out what I need in order to be a better sleeper. So, it is possible to change your sleep routine and patterns, you just have to put in, this is a pretty minimum amount of effort that we’re telling you to do here. It’s nothing major.
[01:05:56] MB: It is and it’s such an important part. But if you just like any part of your life, like put intentional effort into making better decisions, and just almost like a science experiment, “If I don’t have dairy after 8 Pm, or after 6 Pm, maybe I’ll like wake up with better sleep and I won’t be bloated and I won’t hurt in the morning.” That affects my sleep. I get up earlier because my stomach is hurting, because I had a lot of dairy and then I wake up earlier than maybe if I didn’t have the dairy, I would have slept longer. So, there are so many elements to it that if you just kind of play like scientists for a little bit and like see, or get a tracker, or really want to get into it, like talk to your doctor and tell them you’re having problems, they can help that process with you, just put some time and energy into it. But oh my gosh, I swear, if you just put your phone in another room, your life will change. Because you won’t have that and then you’ll sleep a lot better.
[01:06:52] KC: Yeah, play around with food. Because I know for myself, I can’t eat a heavy dinner. I like to sleep on my stomach and it’s not comfortable for me to do that if I’m really full. So, I’ve watched my routine and years ago, years ago, and I’ve stuck with it. I have a much larger lunch and a very, very light dinner. Now, I mean I get to the point where I’m not even really that hungry at dinner time. So, soup or something light, I usually have like fish and veggies or something. I mean, it doesn’t have to be super healthy, it doesn’t really matter, as long as it’s not like a super heavy meal.
[01:07:19] MB: Your diet is big. You can be waiting to go to bed and have heartburn for 40 minutes, because you ate something super acidic, or if you sleep on your stomach, you don’t want to have like a lot in your tummy. I can’t have dairy and it makes me wake up earlier with like stomach problems. So, it’s like, what you eat also affects your sleep.
[01:07:39] KC: Me too. I’m going to have a really mild sensitivity to shellfish. But I know if I eat shellfish for dinner, I’m going to feel kind of bloaty and gross. And so, I love shellfish, but I’ll have it for lunch.
[01:07:48] MB: I love dairy. But I know that when I make this choice that I’m going to feel it the next day. Because I’ve taken the time to like, eliminate it from my diet for a good week and see if my sleep and my stomach change and it totally did. And then I reintroduced it back and it totally had a negative effect. So, I know that if I want to wake up earlier with stomach problems, have a nice glass of milk before bed.
[01:08:09] KC: Yeah, there’s someone I follow on TikTok. She posts these hilarious videos of her sleepwalking, and she has figured out that eating cheese or chocolate within a few hours of bedtime triggers the sleepwalking. So, you’d be surprised if you do even a few weeks of tracking your sleep versus what you’re eating and your movement throughout the day. Also, medications can affect your sleep. So, don’t be afraid to talk to your doctor about what you’re taking and it could be as easy as switching out one of your prescriptions from taking in the evening to taking it in the morning, if it’s causing you not to be tired at night. I know that’s the case with some anxiety and ADHD medication.
So, I have certain medications that I know I can’t take past midday. Because if I do, I won’t sleep at night, like things like Sudafed. I mean even over the counter stuff. So, yeah, just explore your routine and figure out the areas that are improvement. I think every single person can improve their sleep routine. But if sleep is an issue for you, hopefully some of these tips help you. If you have tips and tricks that you want to share with us, please do so over at the Facebook discussion board. We would love to hear what works for you guys and continue the discussion over there.
And again, we thank all of our supporters and our listeners for coming back week to week to listen to us. We really enjoy making this podcast. So, it means a lot that you guys seem to be enjoying it as well. We will have the article about this out. I think it’s actually, by the time this goes live, it will already be up on the homepage. And we do try to keep our podcast episodes, the articles that we’re discussing in our episodes, on the homepage for longer. So, once you guys listen to the podcast, if you want to also read the accompanying article, it’s usually right there on the homepage for you.
Thank you, guys, for your support. It means a lot and we will see you next week.
[01:09:53] MB: Bye.
[01:09:56] ANNOUNCER: Thanks so much for listening to this week’s episode. Don’t forget to bookmark our site, shesafullonmonet.com. Subscribe to our newsletter. You can also find us on Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube. If you’re enjoying this podcast, it helps us a lot if you can follow, rate and review. See you all next week.