The Blog

How to Get More Rest in the New Year (even without sleep training!)

Episode Summary:

I’m really excited about this episode because I’m sharing how you can prioritize rest in the new year in order to get more sleep that will allow you to feel more rested and patient in motherhood and beyond. When I talk about prioritizing rest for ourselves, it does not mean accepting a situation that feels completely unsustainable that we know needs to change – and this is all possible without sleep training. Throughout the episode I’m sharing five steps you can take today to get better rest, plus how you can start listening to what your body is telling you throughout the different seasons of the year. I hope this helps you as you move into the new year!

Topics:

  • How the way Brittni sees the New Year has changed overtime as she has become more in touch with her body and gotten comfortable in her role as a mother 
  • Intention setting and what this looks like for Brittni now and what you can aim for as you take the time to set your own intentions 
  • How the seasons impact our bodies, how we feel, and the goals that we set
  • The different ways that you can prioritize getting more sleep in the new year, even if you’ve chosen not to sleep train

Resources:

Read a raw, unedited transcript of this episode.

Brittni (00:00.822)

Happy New Year. I hope you had a wonderful holiday season and you are having a great start to the year. I am so excited to be back after a little rest and relaxation and just spending time with family. And I wanna just jump right in. So I will start with sharing how I’m currently finding rest in motherhood. And how I am currently finding rest in motherhood right now

actually resting more. So that means going to bed earlier, sleeping in a little bit later, taking time when I have a free moment if Lila’s with her dad, or even if I’m with Lila, just kind of snuggling up on the couch. If I’m alone, I might read my book. If she’s playing, I might choose to read my book instead of trying to get everything cleaned. So I’m really just prioritizing rest for myself.

And we will dive more into this actually as I jump into what I want to chat about today. But one thing I do want to mention here is I want to acknowledge the fact that I have a four-year-old who sleeps through the night, who sleeps a good 11 and a half to 13 hours at night, just depending on the night. And so…

Finding rest is easier for me. I mean, I’m getting more rest at night because I’m able to get that consolidated sleep. Does that mean she’s sleeping through the night every single night? No, we’ll wake up some nights, we still bed share. She might snuggle up next to me. She might just like put a hand on me to make sure I’m there. But it’s nothing like the first two and a half years of her life where we were waking very frequently and it.

I was having to nurse back to sleep and then trying to get back to sleep myself. So I want to acknowledge that finding rest in this current season of life is much easier for me than it was two and a half years ago, a year ago even. So if you are in the throes of sleep deprivation, if even last night was hard, if you’re in just a hard phase with sleep, I just want you to know that I see you.

Brittni (02:20.946)

I promise it’s not for forever. But I also want to let you know that you can find rest even when sleep is really difficult, which again, I will jump into. So I am just really excited about this episode because the new year used to be something that really, really stressed me out and gave me a lot of anxiety.

I felt this immense pressure to make these radical resolutions and essentially change my life overnight, which wasn’t a great feeling when starting a new year. But as I’ve grown and really started learning more about the human body and our cyclical nature, I’ve totally changed how I see the new year. We’ve gotten to a place in society where we’re really disconnected from nature and our root

essence as humans. And you might be rolling your eyes thinking I’m weird or a little bit woo-woo or crunchy and I would have rolled my eyes at myself five years ago. Old Brittany would not believe who I am today, both in motherhood and just as a person in general. But motherhood has really opened my eyes to who we are as humans. A lot of that has to do with looking at

we are biologically as humans and how I’ve studied infant sleep, how I’ve studied the maternal baby dyad. And while we know that women are cyclical beings due to our cycle, we often don’t take into consideration that the seasons impact our bodies, just like seasons impact animals and nature.

If you think about trees, grass, and flowers, they all go dormant during the winter. They essentially hibernate like bears as they rest after a busy season of growing and blooming. And while we aren’t trees or flowers, I know that, our bodies are absolutely impacted by the seasons. I just recently saw a study.

Brittni (04:39.198)

I just recently saw a study that said humans on average need about two extra hours of sleep a day during winter, which is just fascinating to me. Winter truly is a time for us to slow down, turn in words, and really nurture ourselves. So New Year’s, especially if you live in the Northern Hemisphere, isn’t an ideal time to try to start a new

workout routine or become super productive overnight like we see on social media. We can see the new year instead of this as an invitation to slow down, reflect on the year we had and reflect on what we would like this new year to look like. Instead of setting those hardcore resolutions, we can instead set intentions for the new year. We can reflect on what went well last year.

what was hard or where we struggled, and use that to guide us when setting intentions for the new year.

Brittni (05:44.278)

But these intentions can be things we work on for the whole year, instead of trying to join in the rat race of the feeling.

Brittni (05:57.342)

instead of trying to join in the rat race and feeling like everything needs to change right away. I am a huge journaler. I think I’ve talked about this before. In the last year, I would say in the last two years, I’ve really started journaling, but this last year I journal a lot. And I take this time either, sometimes I’ll do it before the new year. Sometimes I won’t have time before the new year, just with life and busyness. And so I’ll…

I’ll dedicate some time after January 1st, whether it be a week after, two weeks after, three weeks after, and I will do just exactly what I just said. I will take some time to reflect on the last year, my struggles, my highs, what I think went really well, what I would like to maybe work on as a person, as a business owner, as a mother. And I really use that time to…

just go inward. I don’t use it as a time to stress myself out about getting everything right, being the perfect person. Instead, I just use it as a time to reflect and really ground myself as I’m heading into a new year.

So instead of feeling like we need to change everything or change overnight or completely change our diet, we can use these first few months of the year to really truly ground ourselves, center ourselves and prioritize rest. Then as the seasons start to change and we head into spring, we can use the boost in energy and mood that we usually get as the sun starts emerging more and more to start implementing more changes that feel good.

I actually had a conversation just the other day. I live in Colorado where we are very lucky. I think our saying is we have sunshine 365 days a year. We do get cold winters, but I was chatting about how I always like say like, oh, I don’t get seasonal depression. And then like mid winter, I’m like doom and gloom.

Brittni (08:09.714)

I’m sad, I’m moody, and then as soon as the sun comes out in March or April, I’m like, oh my gosh, this is who I am as a person, I’m not always this down. So just to show that these seasons really do impact our bodies. So instead of seeing the new year as a make or break moment, we can see it as a reflection.

We can see it as the season of reflection, which then leads into the season of growth. And then…

and then let our bodies follow the seasons. And by really tuning our attention.

And by really turning our attention away from changing overnight to a stance of tuning into ourselves and nurturing ourselves, the new year can feel really beautiful instead of stressful.

So your intentions will be unique to you, but one thing I wanted to focus on today is how you can prioritize rest for yourself in the new year. As parents, rest and sleep often feels like a distant dream a lot of the time, and we also tend to put a lot of emphasis and attention on our child getting more sleep. But we forget to focus on our own sleep and sleep hygiene. And

Brittni (09:37.95)

I just want to say here, I’m not attacking, right? I have been in the depths. I have been there.

Brittni (09:47.15)

I have been in the depths of sleep deprivation. I know what it feels like to feel like you parent all day and then you get your child down and then either you might have an hour to yourself or they might wake up 30 minutes later. So I get that. And I don’t want this to also discredit how hard those nights are. If you’re at a place where maybe you already are prioritizing rest to the best of your ability.

I want to remind you that you don’t need to suffer.

You don’t need to suffer through a sleep situation that feels unsustainable. If you’re dealing with hourly wakes all night long, if you’re dealing with split nights where your baby is up for hours at a time in the middle of the night, if you’re dealing with early rising, so any regular wakings before 6 a.m., if you’re dealing with false starts where your baby is waking very frequently at the beginning of the night and you’re at your wit’s end,

I don’t want you to feel like you have to stay there and struggle just because you’ve chosen not to sleep train. That is where I come in. That is where I have a course that can help you or I can work one-on-one with you. So I do just want to acknowledge that piece. When I talk about prioritizing rest for ourselves, it does not mean accepting a situation that feels completely unsustainable that we know needs to change. It means if…

we are at a place where we’re like, okay, this feels manageable, but I still feel like I need more rest. This is where we can prioritize that rest for ourselves. So how can you do this? The first one is boring. I will admit it, especially when you’ve spent all day parenting and you want some time to yourself after they go to sleep, but

Brittni (11:47.138)

The first one is just to simply go to bed early. If your little one goes to sleep early, let’s say 7.30 or eight o’clock or 8.30, take advantage and don’t go to bed much later than them, especially if you know they are going through a phase where they are waking frequently at night. Like if you’re going through teething or a sleep progression or they’re sick.

Go to bed early. And again, I know this is so hard because we want an hour to ourselves. We want that hour to decompress. What I will say here is if you have a partner and you are handling the majority of the night wakeups and this would work in your home with your partner’s schedule, one thing you could do is take an hour before bed, before your child’s bedtime.

and take that hour to use to decompress for yourself. So maybe that means your partner does the bedtime routine, if there’s a bath involved, maybe they do bath and they really take that one-on-one time with your child. So you can take that hour or even 30 minutes or 45 minutes to decompress. And then you can go to bed either with your child or like I said, shortly after. And just remember, it won’t be like this forever.

I promise you, I was up until 1130 last night, which is very late for me reading my book, which still even four years into motherhood feels really dangerous. Like I still almost have these like…

Brittni (13:27.774)

I don’t know flashbacks or like trauma images in my head of like, oh my gosh, I’m going to go to bed at 1130 and she’s going to wake up at 1145 and be up for an hour. And it doesn’t happen anymore. So just a reminder that these early bedtimes for yourself will not always be the norm. And the other thing, I just had a client yesterday, we were talking about this and we talked about how I was saying

you can prioritize going to bed earlier. And she said, I know I feel so bad because then I feel like I’m not getting time with my husband. And so in that situation, another thing that you could do is plan like two dedicated nights a week where you’re spending one-on-one time with your partner after baby goes to bed. Or if you have family nearby or a babysitter or a nanny, maybe you schedule a date. That could be a breakfast date. I…

I always used to dread nighttime dates because of bedtime and all of that. And so while I was still married, one thing we would do is do daytime dates. So we would go to breakfast or go to lunch and then shop or do whatever we were gonna do. So there’s ways around that. You just need to get creative, but…

Even if you’re going to bed early four out of seven nights a week and the other three nights maybe one you use for yourself and the other two you use to spend with your partner or vice versa if you have one, you can get creative with it while still prioritizing that rest.

Another one, and this one is really hard, is to avoid caffeine or stimulants at least seven hours before bedtime. And I know that seems extreme, but that means no 4 p.m. cup of coffee. Caffeine, obviously, is a stimulant. So it’s going to impact our sleep. So if you’re gonna get that caffeine in, get it in the morning. Don’t try, I would say probably 2 p.m. would be your cutoff.

Brittni (15:30.014)

I will also say that one thing that has really helped for me was I actually stopped drinking coffee and now I will, some days I won’t even drink any caffeine during the day. Other days I’ll do like a chai or a matcha, but I found that coffee, the caffeine amount in coffee was giving me really bad anxiety, which was then leading me to feel even more exhausted by the end of the day. So check your caffeine habits. That’s an…

I was gonna say an easy one, it’s not an easy one, but it is something that can definitely impact sleep that you can change. Another really important one is to get some exercise during the day. Take a walk, have a dance party with your little one.

Brittni (16:18.302)

or really anything you like. And as someone who used to go to the gym, like five days a week before having a child, it took me a good two and a half years to get back into like a regular workout routine. And I think that was because I had this image in my head that I needed to go to the gym and get this super intense workout like I used to get, which…

For many people, that’s just not realistic in the first few years of motherhood. So when I say get exercise, just like I said, that could be taking a walk. I could be having a dance party with your little one. It could be setting up a yoga mat on the floor while your little one does some tummy time or plays on the floor, and you just do some stretching. Or maybe if you enjoy yoga, you do like a 10 minute yoga class. There’s tons on, I do Peloton, but if you…

I know there’s free ones on YouTube. Something to move your body, whatever it may be, that movement is good for getting our energy out. It also helps with our mood. So exercise is huge. Kind of piggybacking off of that with going on a walk. Another one that’s really great for our sleep and great for our baby’s sleep, our toddler’s sleep.

is getting outside regularly. Ideally, I would say if you could get an hour outside a day, the more the better. If you can do more than that, that’s amazing. But if you could spend an hour outside a day, that is so good for you. Especially in the early morning, if you can get outside while the sun is bright and you’ve just woken up, even if that’s to like go outside on your patio or in your backyard, whatever the case may be.

for five minutes with your little one and just soak up that sun. That’s amazing for your circadian rhythm. And then maybe you go on a walk later. If you have a yard or you have a park nearby, you can go set up a blanket and sit in the grass and just soak in that sun while your little one gets some wonderful natural sensory play. Outside time is key and it also doesn’t have to be like one consecutive hour.

Brittni (18:36.278)

Just like I said, you could take five minutes in the morning to go sit outside. The longer the better, but I also want us to be realistic with ourselves. And then after breakfast or whatever the case may be, maybe you go on a 20 minute walk. Maybe in the afternoon you go on another 20 minute walk. Maybe you, like I said, just go sit outside. Obviously all weather permitting, but what I will say is even in Colorado where we do get cold winters,

We have those occasional sunny days in the middle of winter where we can get outside. And so when you have those warm days, if you live in a colder climate, take advantage of them because it is so good, not only for your mental health, but not only for your circadian rhythm and sleep, but it’s amazing for your mental health. If you work,

You could, again, I know every work schedule is different, but you could take some time and simply go on a walk on your lunch break, even if it’s like a 15 minute walk, just try to prioritize some outside time for yourself. Another one is paying attention to the foods that you’re eating. It’s ideal to eat foods that contain calcium, protein, and magnesium around dinnertime. Magnesium is amazing for sleep.

I love a magnesium lotion, but you could also be eating foods that are rich in magnesium. Bananas are rich in magnesium, which could be like a nice bedtime snack. Tart cherry juice stimulates the release of melatonin, so sometimes at night I’ll just do like a little bit of sparkling water with some pure tart cherry juice and I’ll put a little bit of lime in there. It feels like a cocktail. I don’t drink, so it’s a perfect little mocktail.

um and

Brittni (20:33.918)

And you could use that as like a nice little treat at night to drink before bed, which will help with sleep. We could call it a sleep mocktail. Another really hard one that’s really important is to put away the electronics before bed. So that means stop the scrolling. Maybe you don’t watch TV at night, but instead you could read a book. I had a client the other day who told me she knits at night. I know this one is hard because this is often our…

only time to watch a movie or TV show and just let our mind go blank. So if you’re going to watch something, make sure you’re wearing blue light blocking glasses. And again, maybe ideally try to shut it off at least 30 minutes before you go to bed. Ideally, we want to avoid all artificial blue light for at least two hours before bed.

And again, I know this one is so hard because I know that feeling at the end of the day where all you want to do is.

not think. Like you just want your mind to go blank and you wanna either scroll or you want to look at a screen and I know that feeling. I used to always watch TV once Lila went to bed and now I’m like, and I go through phases, but now I’m like two months into a phase of not watching any TV before bed. I’m only reading before bed. Sometimes I’ll journal and

I have noticed such a difference in my sleep quality. I have an aura ring that tracks my sleep and my sleep quality compared to, my sleep quality when I’m reading before bed compared to when I watch TV is very different. I get less deep sleep when I watch TV before bed. I’m more restless when I watch TV before bed. And so again, I know this one is hard.

Brittni (22:34.962)

Maybe you watch one episode and then you take an hour, if you’re not choosing to go to bed early, and you take that hour to journal or stretch or read a book or listen to a podcast. Another thing that you can do is create a relaxing routine for yourself. So just as our little ones have a bedtime routine, we can make our own. It could be washing your face, putting on a nice face cream.

Maybe you put a diffuser on at night with some like sleep scents. But it’s a great way to let your brain know that sleep is coming and it’s time to start relaxing for sleep. Another one which could replace screen time is journaling before bed. This can be just getting anything out that’s making you feel anxious just to get it out on paper.

Sometimes when I’m feeling really anxious and I know I have a ton to do the next day, I’ll create a to-do list. That way all of these things that are causing anxiety in my mind are out on paper. So I don’t have to think about them. It could be just journaling about your day, what you would like to do the next day, anything really. If journaling isn’t something you like to do, if you have a partner, you could kind of do the same with them.

tell them how you’re feeling, the hard parts of the day, the good parts of the day, et cetera. And this is also a great time just to spend time with your partner. So again, I know that if you’re dealing with hourly wakes or anything like that, these aren’t going to be a long-term fix. They can absolutely help maximize your sleep. And I think that’s what we need to focus on is

How can we prioritize rest within the season of motherhood that we’re currently in? And as we start this new year, what intentions, if you want to set intentions, that’s another thing you don’t have to set any, you could say, I’m just gonna go with the flow this year, which is amazing. I just don’t want you to feel that pressure of starting the new year and having to change everything and become…

Brittni (24:52.406)

best version of yourself, right? With all of these high hopes and then by February, feel like, oh my gosh, like I haven’t done anything I said I was gonna do. So what intentions can you set to better prioritize rest for yourself? What intentions can you set to better nurture yourself? And really focus on just taking care of yourself, which will ultimately help you take care of your child better. Happy New Year.

I hope you have a wonderful day and here’s to a beautiful 2024 for every single one of us.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *