New Mattress, New Job, New Year to Better Sleep
My new mattress and my new job helped me sleep better. Maybe it will work for you too.
Since my husband started working from home because of the pandemic, I have subconsciously taken advantage of that fact. I know he can tackle the morning routine without me, even if it’s half-shod. Midnight used to be staying up late for me on weekdays, but it became 1 am or 2 am during the pandemic. I felt so stressed and wanted downtime — “me” time. Some nights I waited until 3 or 4 am.
I know lots of other parents stay up later for “me” time too. I totally get it. It feels so blissful to do housework, homework, or hobbies during this time with no interruptions. Maybe other parents fall into a pattern of procrastinating at bedtime because you don’t want to face another difficult day too. Just one more hour of silence, please.
“Revenge bedtime procrastination” describes the decision to sacrifice sleep for leisure time that is driven by a daily schedule lacking in free time.
-Eric Suni on Sleep Foundation website
So I have been working on sleep hygiene for years, but it hasn’t been as critical before having kids (BTW, bipolar and PTSD affect my sleep too). I could make my own work or school schedule when single. My revenge procrastination has also contributed to considerable weight gain. Last September I finally contacted a health trainer who is now specializing in helping moms. We’ve set small goals that I can be successful at. It helps on and off, but I am making some progress.
I had also been discussing a part-time job with my previous counselor. She thought it would help me revamp my bedtime. After all, we’ve been working on my sleep hygiene for five years. I started applying for jobs three months ago.
A Small Responsibility: a New Job
This has been a catch-22 for me if I have a responsibility in the morning. When I have multiple appointments, I can stress for several hours at night. I try to keep the stress at bay by “relaxing” more. This is the ultimate procrastination revenge.
But some small responsibilities have encouraged me to seek rest at an earlier time. Before the pandemic, I had to get my son on the bus in the morning. I still skirted the edge of a good bedtime — 7–8 hours before I have to wake last minute — but I did it. When my husband switched to remote work, I knew I didn’t have to take children to the bus or to school. Thus, my sleep habits worsened.
As hinted above, I started a new job outside my home beginning of this year. Now I am retiring two to three hours earlier because I am accountable to someone else. I know I need to function to perform my work duties. And I am “rewarded” with a paycheck. Perhaps, a reward may motivate you too.
Having a job may not work for some parents. It depends on the work hours and the work atmosphere. I looked for a part-time job so I still had downtime for other parts of the day. I still have time for my kids too. Personally, a full-time job would increase my anxiety since I would be away from my family longer.
Now my husband reports he has seen me more since I began working part-time. I wake in the morning and help with preparing our sons for school. I am also awake in the evenings.
I also found I retire earlier when I have an activity to look forward to. For example, when I scheduled my physical therapy appointments in the morning, I retired slightly earlier. I know I have pain relief coming. Additionally, I look forward to socializing with others at work and having tasks that end, unlike housework.
A New Bed
“By the end there, I was barely hanging on.”
-My husband’s description of dozing with me on a queen bed
Last year my lower back hurt so much I couldn’t sleep at night. This created a cycle of pain preventing sleep and sleep deprivation increasing sensitivity to pain. So I looked for some solutions to sleep. My brother suggested a two-sided body pillow for side sleepers. I ordered one and it helped relieve some pain.
Additionally, my husband and I needed a new bed after tossing and turning on our queen bed for several years. I sprawled across most of the bed and hogged the covers, so my husband felt colder and scrunched on 1/3 of the bed. (My husband corrected me when he read this section: he had “1/5 of the bed”.)
We settled on a king-size Serta memory foam mattress with cooling “technology”. Now both my husband and I sink into the memory foam with room to spare. The memory foam (plus physical therapy and stretching) has almost erased my lower back pain. Now I rarely need the body pillow and I can stand for more than an hour. I also look forward to my mattress keeping me cool during the summer months.
So what is useful to look for in a mattress to improve your sleep? For me, it came down to size, firmness, pain relief, and my sleeping position. Other factors may include allergy prevention or a partner’s different needs. For example, one couple I know have different sleeping preferences, so they chose a sleep number bed.
For a guide to buying a mattress, check out this article by Good Housekeeping.
I Never Regret Retiring Early
Children may complain about an early bedtime, but I’ve rarely heard any adult regretting going to bed early. Have you? Last Fall, I had the realization that I have never regretted going to bed early. The moment I hit the pillow, I only regret staying up later and wonder why I avoided my soft bed and firm pillow so long.
After writing about sleep, now I want to fall asleep. Are you ready for a good night’s rest too?