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I sleep like a toddler.

Mon, Sep 12, 2011

MizFit Muzings

(Decaf or regular I ALWAYS start my morning with the skull & crossbones mug!)

 These days it seems the most common question I receive is about sleep.

I get lots of what do you eat?! or can you share your workout routine queries—but more than anything you seem intrigued by what time I plop my misfit self in bed, how you can become an early riser & if Im an insomniac.

I completely understand.

Given the semicrazystillNIGHTIMEformany time of day I comment on your blogs, commence tweeting and yammer away on Facebook  it makes sense youre more obsessed with my bedtime than my biceps.

And I ADORE you for it.

You may regret asking after this long snooze-inducing post*—but I adore you for it as sleep, in my opinion, is the cornerstone to success in all facets of life.

Ive always been a lark.

I love the promise of what the day might hold & the irrepressible feeling today!could!be!the!one!**

In addition, while I believe we can shift ourselves slightly either way, Id say if youre happily an owl dont change!

Right now (brace your collective selves) asleep by 10p & awake at 4ISH am works for our family.

I snag ME-TIME & squeeze in a PLAYout with the Tornado all before the bus comes.

I also never set an alarm.

My belief is if Im not awake & ready to gogogo! with my day then Im not meant to be.  I must need more rest.

Im always awake & eager to wrangle my day around 4a.

(Lest it sound as though Im bragging you should see me at 8p. It’s ugly.  Im over the day & often a tad grumpy nothing super!duper!exciting! transpired.  Youll have that.)

All that aside-whether youre an owl or a lark-Im a firm believer we should treat ourselves as we would a Toddler when it comes to sleep.

In response to your questions Im way too over-excited want to share three tips which took me years to discover and have helped me fight insomnia/sleep struggles.

  • Set a routine and stick to itThis simple concept changed my life.  As a freelance writer my days often take a turn for the unpredictable.  It’s the nature of the job.  Keeping my transition from awake to asleep fairly routine helps immensely with ‘turning my brain off’ at night.   The more predictable the routine—the more *chill* I am at the end.  I know this can be a challenge in our busy lives, but I urge you to make a concerted effort to find at least few nightly rituals.
  • Leave a light on to scare away monsters.  I was plagued by the Oh Crap Did I Forget To Do That?! monster & the Shoot I Need To Remember to… boogiewoman.  My grown-up nightlight?  A notebook.  I always have pen & paper by the bed.  That way if I start fretting or mental list making I can grab it & get the thoughts out of my head so I can deal with them in the morning.  Ive found this tactic works wonders in banishing nighttime fretfears so I can rest.
  • Dont wait to unwind.  We’d never call a toddler inside from a rambunctious game of freeze tag,  immediately plop her in bed and expect her to fall asleep.  We’d recognize the need for some transition time.  For some reason we adult types frequently forget that same fact about ourselves.   Whatever time you go to sleep, ‘start the process’ (as we nerdily call it up in herre) early.  Give your mind a chance to s-l-o-w-l-y shed the day’s thoughts/focus & ready for rest.  Studies say we ‘should’ unplug from screens long before bed time.  MizFit says  explore different options/find what works best to relax you From Kindle to Chamomile search for what helps *your* mind unwind.
  • Here is where Id also add, were we not talking toddlers, a yammer about caffeine consumption after noon and keeping the bed for, uh, *BED STUFF* and not emailing or ‘net surfing.  Please to remind yourself of the benefits of these two ideas. Thank you so much.

 (*looks around to see if anyone is still awake/reading*)

 I know.

More than you wanted to know about my thoughts on sleep (hmm or perhaps not seeing as you asked?) yet three steps which have tremendously helped me increase my slumber.

Now I turn to you.

Whats your NUMBER ONE tip when it comes to falling, staying or making more time for sleep?

The bleary-eyed masses await your wisdom.


 

*which I guess would make this all a winwin, huh?

**what would being the one look life? I have no idea. Ren Man asks me that same question. Daily.

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65 Responses to “I sleep like a toddler.”

  1. Runner Girl says:

    I love the sticking to a routine.
    I am all over the place these days.

  2. Healthy Mama says:

    I love the point about not waiting to unwind.

    Yoga before bed helps a lot.

  3. Ian says:

    I love coffee but discovered if I have it after 2 pm it messes with my sleep.

    Something about the half life of caffeine?

  4. Ian says:

    Oh and you get up too early :) even for my Toddler.

  5. lindsay says:

    I love hearing from you (tweets) at 5am. We are up at 4:30am every morning and its a way of life for me. I adore the quiet time to myself. Puts my day in gear. Especially with a cup of coffee in hand. So shall I come over for coffee next week around 5am? hehe. jk.
    ;)

  6. Lynda says:

    Oh Miz.
    Such a wow moment for me to read about the banishing of the monsters!

    I needed that idea.

    Thank you thank you.

    Lynda

  7. Wanda says:

    I like how you always throw it to us to find what works :)
    I never fall asleep with out my tv on and it works for me.

    I am more obsessed with your BICEPS than your bedtime though, Mizzy.

    Give me tips please.

  8. Tara Burner says:

    well seeing how I’m up til 1-2sometimes 3 a.m and my body gets me up now at 430-5 a.m. no matter what I’m both lark and owl! or just insane? dunno! though amazing what I do get done in 20-21 hours being awake! LOL
    but you my dark o clock sister rock!

  9. Shelley B says:

    I have no tips as my sleep has been terrible for the last few years. I hear that getting rid of electronic “noise” (lights from alarm clocks, DVR box, etc) helps, but not me. Also I would love to try a blackout shade. Still, I think it’s just my destiny to get 2 hours of sleep at a time, and be thrilled if I get up to 4. I do admire your enthusiasm for the day - I need to harness a little of that, myself. :)

  10. Yvette says:

    Prayer.

    I always make time for gratitude before bed becasue it helps me slow down and be centered.

  11. Yvette says:

    I am an owl for sure.
    Today I am a lark because work made me be LOL

  12. Leah J. Utas says:

    Sometime’s the unwinding bit is the hardest. I’ve found a hot bath is a good way to wash away the day on many levels.

  13. Meredith says:

    My best tip is leave the work worries at the door!

    Don’t bring them home.

    What’s your best ARM workout tip Mizzy?

  14. Crabby McSlacker says:

    I’m also pretty fortunate when it comes to sleep! Hot flashes and my stubborn tendency to drink way too much water before bed are my only challenges-I usually wake up a few times and at least one of them need to toddle off to pee. If, while awake, I let myself get too caught up thinking, that can keep me up for an hour or two. However, I’ve discovered I have control over that, and if I can make myself just shut the hell up, do some progressive relaxation and let random images pop into my head I can drift back off.

    I think you’ve got some great suggestions The pen & paper idea is something I need to try, starting tonight!

  15. Jody - Fit at 53 says:

    I am so like you in that I follow your tips. I have a routine & pretty much stick to it unless family comes & I am out with 7 grandkids! ;-) I definitely try to unwind & for me, it is the TV. We have our shows we like so we plop down to watch before my snooze time. I am an owl & a lark as you understand Carla but many others might not. It works for me & that is what matters. Been doing it for years & my bod seems fine with it now…. Loved this post!

  16. JavaChick says:

    I don’t really have any tips. I know I need a lot of sleep and I make it a priority. When I’m on vacation, I find I naturally fall into a rhythm of going to bed between 11 - 12 pm and waking up between 8 - 9 am. That’s when I feel my best.

    That doesn’t quite work most of the time though, since I have to be up earlier for work. I try to get to bed earlier, I will usually have a shower and read in bed for a while and then I easily pass right out.

    I’m not a morning person, and never have been - not even when I was a kid. My sister would be up at the crack of dawn, while I would always sleep a few hours later.

    I don’t actually think it is so easy to change that. When I was in high school I had to catch the bus at 7:15. I would go to bed early, but I never really got used to that routine; it was always hard and I was always tired.

  17. Mollie says:

    I want the mug and your biceps.

  18. Lara says:

    I am a night owl.

    Gyn appoint at 9 am. This will be ugly. I will comment when I am really awake.

  19. Carrie says:

    I’m with you - I love sleep. I was never a morning person, but now I get up and happily start my day by 5:30AM. I’m a mess by 8:30PM and ready for bed. I’m asleep within minutes of my head hitting the pillow. Love it!

    • Miz says:

      it still amazes me I bound out of bed ready to start my day.
      Lament as I do sometimes (me? never :) ) I must love my work.

      And I know I love my life.

  20. Erica says:

    Great suggestions! Im an early bird tooo-while josh is a night owl! Having a newborn…my only tip is sleep when you can haha

    • Miz says:

      I need to email you about this Erica if you dont see my comment. Ive always wondered if that would work! Im a lark. Ren Man is less of a lark but definitely not a night owl. I always thought if he had been NIGHT and I was still so early AM we’d never cross paths!

  21. Stephanie says:

    I’m neither a night owl nor an early-bird. In the perfect world, I’d fall asleep around 11:30 and wake up at 7:30. I need eight hours of sleep to feel my best! Any more or less, and I feel cranky and out of sorts all day. My best strategy is to go to bed about half an hour before I want to actually fall asleep. This gives me time to settle in and daydream. I need daydream time every night, or else I don’t feel ready to go to sleep.

    • Miz says:

      I love love how you know that about yourself Stephanie (the daydream time)!

      It was 99.9% of the battle for me (the war waged against FINDING AND KEEPING SLEEP!) to figure out what I needed…

  22. Ollie says:

    Now I’m curious: do you have a specific arms workout? would you share? I want your arms.

  23. debby says:

    Great suggestions. No more to add, except to second the idea of going sans alarm clock for a while to see how much sleep you actually need. I read an article like this years ago and it was an eye opener. I’ve never used an alarm since that day. Except every single day that I worked. As a nurse, my work schedule was always a bit different than my natural schedule. But I found that when I tried to make my days off as similar as I could to my work days, life was better.

  24. Yum Yucky says:

    I love your “no alarm” philosophy. I have to force myself to get to bed on time (which I haven’t been). There’s just never enough time for what I need to get done.

  25. Jack Sh*t says:

    I never use an alarm either; I just wait for the office manager to call and scream “WHERE ARE YOU, JACK? WE START WORK AT 8:30 HERE, REMEMBER!!!!”

  26. Lucie says:

    The greatest tip for amazing sleep is cutting out the caffeine.

    • Miz says:

      why is your comment blank lucie? I cant see anything written there. nope. nothing. nary a word. nothing for me to see here. nope.

      (I know I know :) )

  27. Quix says:

    Love it! My tips:

    -Give up the caffeine. It takes adjustment but I am much more even/energetic/awake without it. If I need a jolt, fruit does it for me. If I REALLY need a jolt - just a couple sips of caff (we’re talking a few oz of soda/coffee/tea) and I’m wired.

    -Regular vigorous exercise. My body now shuts down and stays down for 8-9 hours and there’s not much I can do about it even if I wanted to. When I’ve had injuries/taken a few days off - I start to creep back towards less sleep and more problems getting there.

    -Unwinding for sure. I like to watch sci fi. Some people read. Some meditate. You need to box your ration brain up, put it on your nightstand, and promise it you’ll be back in 8 hours, and not to worry about you. :)

  28. silom hotel says:

    Nice!! i will return to your page again thank you.

  29. Amelia says:

    I know you are right about the routine.

    When I am all over the place my mind wont shut down at night, there is just to much to be finished before bed :(

  30. shannon says:

    oh i need to get better. although i think my new apartment will help, they’ve got toddlers upstairs, over my bedroom. up at 6:30 every morning, i’m bound to start going to bed earlier :)

  31. Oh, you would love this pad I have that my husband bought for me. It has a little light built right in and the pen too! I keep it in my nightstand. I am a very early to bed person and also never set the alarm. Actually, that’s not true. I often set it, because otherwise I would not sleep with my worrying that I’d not get up in time, but, I always wake up before the alarm goes off. Now that my nest is empty I can’t remember the last time I needed to set it. I’m actually trying to train myself to stay up later and sleep later:) I need a couple hours more than you!

    One thing that has helped me is “climate control.” I have a heated mattress pad that I use in the cold months so the bed is preheated when I get in; toasty. I turn it off before I go to sleep so I don’t overheat. And, I sleep with a ceiling fan running year round for air circulation. One of my little obsessive needs.

  32. Aubry says:

    I love your point about making time to unwind.
    My son has trouble with transitions so I am very careful with him.
    I am not as careful with me :-)

  33. Kellie says:

    LOL at the win win footnote.

    My tip is your tip as well. I find when I sleep in too late on weekends it throws me completely off.

    A routine is always best.

    Now share your bicep routine please. :)

  34. lee / fitville says:

    Taking a soft gel magnesium before bed helps my sleep quality. Definitely more of an owl.

  35. addy says:

    Me owl. I stay up late most nights. I also despise alarm clocks. So, those early work days are rough. Coffee - coffee - my mantra on those mornings.

  36. I’m an early bird-hate to miss a sunrise! I do a deep-breathing thing before I go to sleep. Starting at 60, I count backward, inhaling on the even numbers and exhaling on the odds. I rarely make it to the teens. :)

  37. KCLAnderson (Karen) says:

    I never used to have an issue with sleep until a couple of years ago. Now, my sleep tips are these (in no particular order):

    Stay hydrated during the day and if I have a glass of wine, do not have it after 8 p.m. Drink more water afterwards.

    Avoid any and all screens after 9 p.m.

    Read in bed.

    Focus on deep breathing and play the alphabet game using empowering words (this is especially helpful if I wake up in the middle of the night and can’t go back to sleep)

    Take my daily magnesium and vitamin D in the evening rather than in the morning.

    Take melatonin if needed.

  38. Kimberley says:

    Since being diagnosed with sleep apnea and using a CPAP, my number one tip is if you struggle with staying asleep or struggle with staying awake get a sleep study done. Mine changed my life!

  39. Lori says:

    I have a definite sleep routine, but for so long I was plagued with insomnia, night sweats, early waking. My doc said welcome to perimenopause!

    I have found much relief when I did the following:
    - white nose
    - light blocking curtains
    - 200 mg of magnesium at bedtime

    I have slept much, much better since doing this.

  40. charlotte says:

    I’m a reformed night owl. All the way up until I had kids, I was a dedicated late sleeper. But babies wake up at the crack of dawn and ever since, I’ve learned to adapt to their schedule. And you know what? I like it a lot better. I get more done, I feel saner, I sleep better - like you, I never use an alarm clock - when I go to bed early and rise early. As far as tips… I don’t know that I have much to add. Socks. I can’t sleep if my feet are cold - does that count?

  41. Coco says:

    I would have to say do as I say, not as I do. Don’t get Starbucks after lunch. Don’t work on your computer until your eyes can’t focus and then try to catch up on Facebook and Twitter on your iPhone. Don’t stay up past 11 to snag a few words with your teenagers and then set your alarm for 5 to squeeze in a run before work.

  42. Jenn (Gh) says:

    This is the my worst habit. Really it needs to change as she types at almost midnight on the computer. Geez you’re about to get up and I’m about to go to bed. I admit I’m more curious about your biceps ;-) but I think I need to switch some priorities. I’m sure it would help with my own biceps. :-)

  43. Ana says:

    I think I might have your biceps if I slept more.
    Sleep is the enemy of fitness.
    Not enough I mean :)

    • Miz says:

      youre so very right. from lack of interest or motivation to workout to the very inability to create muscle when your body is already so depleted.

  44. Laura says:

    GREAT tips, Carla! I too am in the camp of “if I didn’t wake up without an alarm, it’s probably a bad move for me to get up.” On weekdays, I have to set it, but it’s rare that I don’t feel great just a few minutes after my alarm goes off (and I often wake up BEFORE my alarm). On weekends, I don’t set one, but still wake up around 7am or 8am (way sooner than my noon-rising friends in NYC).

  45. Melissa says:

    No alcohol. All I ever indulge in is red wine on occasion, but even 1 glass totally messes up my sleep. I’m on a similar schedule as you are, but 10 PM? Wow, that’s late for me. I’m sound asleep by 8:30 or 9 and awake around 4-ish. I LOVE it. Glad to find someone else has an equally weird schedule. =)
    Here’s to a good night’s sleep!
    Melissa

    • Miz says:

      I dont drink at all either. Ive thought over the years (and I had my share of alcohol in college but not red wine :) ) about adding in red wine—but so far havent.

      I stopped drinking when I wanted/needed to lose weight as I never really liked the taste.
      And just havent added back in…

  46. Paul says:

    Don’t sleep with pets :)

    I have a Great Dane and did not realize how little and not well I slept when Harry was in the bed with us until I got Harry a dog bed.

  47. Heather @ Not a DIY Life says:

    Routine, routine, routine! I don’t set an alarm either and I usually awake between 5:00 and 5:15. I think an alarm clock is so rude and jarring, not a good way to wake up at all. I go to bed around the same time (as much as I can) and once I get my needed rest, I’m awake :-) Bright-eyed and bushy-tailed

  48. Ann says:

    I love your enthusiasm for the day! I *always* have a hard time waking up and I *never* feel sleepy at the appropriate time. I’ve come to accept that I always feel tired when I wake up and I should just roll out of bed anyway, and gradually as the day goes on my energy builds. I have to be very intentional about winding down for my last hour of the day, and if I manage to get out of bed at a reasonable time it’s easier for me to fall asleep.

  49. seattlerunnergirl says:

    While I used to be a confirmed night owl, now I don’t think my body “leans” one way or the other so much as it just requires enough sleep. Enough for me is 7.5-9 hours, depending on whether I stay asleep or have some wake-ups in the night (of which I’m having a LOT now, being 9 months pregnant!).

    My biggest challenge in getting enough sleep? Getting to bed at the right time. With a husband who is a night owl, it is sooo tempting to stay up later than I “should” which results in either (a) not enough sleep or (b) getting up later than I like, throwing my entire day’s schedule off.

    Love the notebook idea - implementing tonight. :)

  50. Nat says:

    I tried this last night to start.
    I’ll let you know if it works for me.

  51. Geosomin says:

    I’m burning the candle at both ends working full time and doing grad studies so I have to admit that my sleep is less than stellar. I have found tho that getting up at 5:15 for my workout (unless I’ve been up to stupid oclock working on my thesis) has been the best part of my crazy life lately. Regardless of how tired I am, I can start my day right.
    And…this has nothing to do with your post, but I was recently in a giant chinese superstore in Vancouver (3 floors!) and saw some stationary with smiling girly skull and crossbones on it (bow and all) with the caption “Girly skull says KISS HER!”. For some reason I thought of you…

  52. Dr. J says:

    There is nothing for me to add here except that if you must take some kind of sleep med, consider melatonin at a low dose like 1-3 mg before using anything else.

  53. Jeannie says:

    Something I am struggling with in the past year. It used to be that I was to bed by 10:30pm and up at 5:30am to get my workout inane that felt good to me. However, it seems like there is more and more I feel I need to get done in the day and now find myself going to bed 11:30pm to midnight but still getting up at 5:30am. Not working! I know I need that extra hour so I have been striving to find ways to get to bed earlier again. I know it helps my family relationships tremendously too if I have that bit of extra rest as well as my waist line!

  54. s says:

    i try to avoid caffeine after 1 pm as i am apparently super sensitive to caffeine since i cut back on it. also consistency in sleep schedule is key for me, even on the weekends.

  55. Johan Scorzeny says:

    Awfully challenging thank you, I believe your readers may want further posts similar to this carry on the excellent hard work.

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