Well, I’ve gotten a bit off track when it came to sleep in June! But it only took 4 simple steps to reboot my sleep patterns.
This post is going to get personal…and it’s not just for the kiddos or those with kiddos to care for.
One of my alternative identities is as an actor – a storyteller on Sleepytime Club and on the stage. Life taught me the hard way that if you have a gift or a grace you must use it – Martha Graham’s inspiring and provocative quote (read it here) is something we should honor when it comes to ourselves and honor it in others.
I was invited to be part of a professional NYC cast to put on a short run of a very special musical during June. A Man of No Importance allowed me to create in community, tell a beautiful and important story about friendship and the transformative power of art, learn I have an amazing partner in my husband who supported me throughout having our schedule turned upside down…and that my sleep routine can get completely derailed in the process.
Usually I keep farmer hours – in bed by 9:30, asleep by 10, up at 6. These work best for me at this time in my life.
I remember when I was in my 20s and an older friend said that I would soon find I could no longer sleep until 2 PM, my internal body clock would adjust to the great and powerful clock determined by the planet Earth and the Sun. I scoffed at the time. Today I am a believer.
The show got my sleep routine derailed. After a late rehearsal or a performance, I would finish up when I am usually already asleep, arriving home at 12:15 and then ignore my own knowledge, winding down with (horrors!) television screen time.
We closed Saturday, June 27th. Sunday was a wash in terms of productivity…I completely vegged as if I had a head cold and sat around doing the 21st century equivalent of eating bon bons and reading movie magazines.
At the end of the day, I began with step 1 to reboot my sleep: my personal interpretation of chronotherapy.
My reboot began Sunday night: instead of sleeping at 1 AM, I aimed for 11:30 PM, taking a warm bath in Epsom salts and a few drops of lavender essential oil first. When I got up on Monday morning at 7:30 AM, I made sure I got out of the house and exposed myself to daylight by taking the dog for a walk.
Each night I’ve gone to bed 30 minutes earlier and as of this morning – just 3 days later – the reboot was successful and I am back on track.
Other things got lost in the upturning of the routine applecart such as homemade, nutritious meals served at the same time each day.
Here’s the cool thing about rebooting your sleep routine: you can reboot everything else along the way. I used the bedtime blueprint as a guideline to schedule eating, movement, and one or two other routines. Get it here.
Rather than take-out on the run, I made meal plans for the week which supported health…
and that includes sleep!
I decided to make July “love my body” month and began a gentle movement routine that includes alignment practices from Katy Bowman’s work (seriously – she has so many good things to say about your body and your kids’ bodies! )
…after three weeks doing a show set in 1964, my alignment is a mess. Dancing in too-tight vintage heels I can actually see the beginnings of a bunion. How did women survive the shoes AND the girdles?
And to solve the messy home issue, I started Flylady’s routines again.
In a nutshell – here’s how I successfully did a sleep reboot:
1. Incrementally change the times I go to sleep and wake up on a daily basis
2. Expose myself to sunlight in the morning
3. Eat and move at the same times each day
4. Add a bit of Flylady’s mojo to my morning routine…which is indeed part of my bedtime routine. Does double-duty.
Four things. That’s it. And 4 tasks that we should all be doing anyway. As of tomorrow morning, I can take the focus off #1 and add a new good habit in its place.
Now I realize with a family you have to compromise on the road to a balanced life – particularly during the summer months. But plan for that compromise. Don’t let it take you by surprise.
Going back to the Martha Graham quote – how can we possibly honor our own life force and the life force of those around us who we love if we’re sleep deprived?
This week’s free download is a beautiful Tree of Life coloring page from Kim Geiser – a reminder that we must be rooted in order to grow. Get this delightful coloring page by filling out the form below.
How have you handled rebooting your or your family’s bedtime routines?
Stay tuned to Sleepytime Club’s posts by subscribing – not only will you get tons of great information about sleep, health, and creativity, but I’m gearing up for the Back to School Bedtime Summit. Experts on sleep, parenting, creativity, mindfulness will be online to help you reboot for the new school year.