First they’re small, and they sleep in spurts—or not at all—leaving us bleary and red-eyed, irritable, and zombie-like.
Then they get bigger, and require perfectly optimal—and very specific—sleeping arrangements to fall asleep: the right pyjamas, story, blanket, stuffie, nightlight, the door open just so…the list goes on. The #teamnosleep princess from The Princess and the Pea has nothing on our kids’ exacting nighttime demands.
Most of us aren’t so picky. There are days when we’d give anything for a few uninterrupted hours of shut-eye, because, oh man, is it ever interrupted. If it’s not a small child who needs to pee, wants water, had a bad dream, or lost a sock (seriously, child?!) it’s our partners who keep us awake by tossing, turning, and snoring through the night.
And even when our bedmates and children are soundless and sleeping, there’s that endless feed of to-do lists, fears, forgotten things, work projects and personal slights running on a never-ending loop in our brains.
In short, we’re not getting enough sleep.
A national poll conducted recently by Angus Reid on behalf of Dairy Farmers of Canada (DFC) revealed that 59 percent of Canadians don’t get as much sleep as they’d like and 67 percent wish they could get better quality sleep at night. Frankly, that seems low to us. Is there anyone out there who actually feels they are getting all the hours of quality, restful sleep that they need?
Probably not, and it’s time it was said: that’s a real problem.
Lack of sleep doesn’t just make us grouchy and sluggish—it can increase signs of ageing, affect productivity, make us more likely to argue with our spouses, and have a hugely negative impact on our overall health. Yet, when we’re busy, it’s often the first thing we cut back on, and all too often, we wear our sleep debts on our sleeves as if they were badges of honour.
It’s time to stop.
Dairy Farmers of Canada, who are committed to healthy living and increasing the overall health and wellness of Canadians, have started a program called Project Sleep. At ProjectSleep.ca, you can find sleep tips and learn more about the importance of sleep. Project Sleep has also brought together a panel of leading sleep experts and the experts’ advice is straightforward: if you want to get more and better sleep, you need to make it a priority.
That advice resonates with us, because as moms, we tell each other and remind ourselves time and time again; you can’t take care of others if you don’t take care of yourself. Just as you need to put your own oxygen mask on before assisting others, you can’t take care of your family if a serious sleep debt is affecting your health. So we’re making it our goal right now to start making sleep a priority and taking whatever steps we can to make sure we get more quality shut-eye each month.
A few of the steps we’ll be taking (as recommended by the sleep experts):
- Establish a sleep routine, and stick to it. That means bedtime—and rise time—is at the same time, no exceptions.
- Lying awake, stressing about how much sleep you’re not getting only makes things worse. If this happens, don’t be too hard on yourself.
- Reach out if you need it. If you’re really have trouble sleeping, don’t be shy about seeing your family doctor.
We’ll also be stealing a trick from our own playbook and employing a tactic we use with our own kids—routine. Routine makes everything easier, so we’re applying it to bedtime. We’ll be designating a set time each night as ‘start-getting-ready-for-bed time’—and we don’t just mean brushing our teeth. At that time, the phones, tablets, and devices are getting stashed in a designated spot out of the bedroom, the lights are getting turned down, and we’ll start doing whatever it is that winds us down and calms us, whether that’s reading, yoga, painting our nails, or doing a little colouring.
It’s not going to be easy (especially the phone part), but we’re determined to turn our sleep habits around and get ourselves into a healthy sleep routine. There’s not a lot we can do about our kids or babies waking us up—it’s part of the job—but we’re determined to at least not be our own worst enemies when it comes to sleep.
Who’s with us?
To enter, simply tweet out your answer to this question: ‘what keeps you up at night?’ Include the hashtag #ProjectSleep and tag @100CanadianMilk to make sure your entry is counted! And don’t forget to visit projectsleep.ca for inspiration on your path to better sleep.
Giveaway closes on Wednesday, June 8 at 11:59 pm. Winner will be announced on Thursday, June 9 via the @100CanadianMilk Twitter account. Giveaway is open to residents of Canada (excluding Quebec). There will be one grand prize. Prize unclaimed after 48 hours from notification is forfeited and Dairy Farmers of Canada reserves the right to select another winner. Good luck!
This post has been brought to you by DFC, but the opinions are our own.