Oh sleep, you are a tricky beast. I never really had any sleep issues until I became pregnant. Along with pregnancy came lots of restless nights, the inability to get comfortable, night sweats and multiple wakings in the middle of the night. Once Chase arrived, I knew my sleep patterns were going to be affected but I figured all would calm down and my sleep would return to (relative) normal after a few months.
Well, that was a big fat joke. I can count the number of times I’ve slept for 5+ hours straight without waking up at least once on one hand since Chase’s birth. For the first six months or so, I could blame our baby. It took us a while to feel comfortable dabbling in sleep training, so I was nursing regularly in the night until Chase was a little over six months old. Then sleep improved a bit… Mostly for Chase but for me a little bit, too.
Just because Chase was no longer waking up in the middle of the night didn’t mean I miraculously drifted off into a glorious deep sleep every night. Unfortunately on most nights that wasn’t the case. Now, almost 11 months postpartum, I find myself waking up regularly, even on nights when Chase doesn’t make a peep. I blame it on new mom anxiety, as I cannot help but continue to check the baby monitor regularly, but also on the fact that baby sleep is always, always changing. We’ll go from two weeks of great sleep to a week of terrible sleep with no (obvious) explanations. It keeps me on my toes and also awake at night a lot, that’s for sure!
Earlier this month, Ryan and I received one heck of an awesome gift from my friends at Sleep Number® and upgraded our mattress to one of their incredibly comfortable i8 beds. I was so ridiculously excited about this upgrade because our current mattress has always been a little too firm for me and ever since I was pregnant, I’ve been sleeping with a little pillow between my knees to help alleviate hip pain. Now, with the DualAir™ technology in the mattress, Ryan and I can each select the setting that is most comfortable to us – a slightly softer mattress for me and a firmer one for him – and also check in to see our sleep data from the night before without wearing any trackers thanks to SleepIQ® technology.
SleepIQ technology works with the DualAir technology to track your average breathing rate, heart rate, movement and bed presence to give you a score in the morning to rate your quality of sleep. This is absolutely fascinating to me and Ryan and I are a little too obsessed with checking our scores and comparing them to each other. (Spoiler alert: Ryan’s quality of sleep is better than mine nine times out of ten.)
Ever since we received the new bed and have been checking in with our SleepIQ score, I’ve found it interesting to see what impacts my sleep for better, worse or not at all. Below you will find some of my recent findings.
Impact Of My Habits On My Sleep
- Impact of Exercise: Positive
I kind of expected this result, but there were a few things about tracking my sleep on days when I worked out that surprised me. My sleep was undoubtedly better most nights after I worked out in the day, but I seemed to sleep best after cardio workout days, when compared to days that my workouts were primarily strength based.
- Impact of Reading Before Bed: Positive
On nights when I read before bed, my sleep in the beginning of the night was more sound than the nights when I didn’t read before bed and did something else. (This is bad news for my Monday night Bachelorette viewing habit!) I LOVE the findings of this one since it encourages me to read more before bed, which is something I absolutely love to do. I tossed and turned less in the few hours after I went to bed on nights when I read before bed when compared to other non-reading nights.
- Impact of Eating Dinner Close to Bedtime: Negative
Ryan and I eat dinner fairly early but on the few nights this past month when we ate a large meal right before bedtime, I actually noticed my sleep was impacted a bit! The impact wasn’t overly dramatic, but I seemed more restless at night (especially in the beginning of the night) when I ate a big meal close to bedtime.
- Impact of Caffeine: Neutral
I’ve already blogged about how I try to steer clear of caffeine after 11 a.m. most days and so for me, consuming a cup of coffee or two in the morning didn’t seem to impact my sleep at all. I tried cutting coffee out completely a handful of times without altering other habits and my sleep score didn’t improve or get any worse. I consider this a victory for my coffee habit!
- Impact of My Sweet Tooth: Negative
Ugh. I was kind of hoping eating more sugar during the day wouldn’t effect my sleep but unfortunately it did. I was actually surprised by how much more I seemed to wake up in the night and have trouble getting back to sleep (<— the bigger issue) on nights when I ate more sugar during the day than usual.
- Restless Baby: Negative
Do I really need to dive into this bullet point? Probably not. Without a doubt, the biggest impact on my sleep patterns centered around Chase’s sleep patterns. Though I still tend to wake up in the middle of the night even when Chase doesn’t, I definitely sleep better on nights when he sleeps soundly compared to nights when he fusses, babbles or moves around a lot in his crib.
- Evening Walk: Neutral
I thought an evening walk would positively effect my sleep, but it ended up being rather neutral. I actually had a harder time falling asleep and seemed to toss and turn more in the beginning of the night on nights when we took Sadie and Chase out for a longer evening walk but slept better and more soundly after the first few hours, so it ended up being a bit of a wash.
Question of the Day
Now I’d love to hear from you…
- What habits in your everyday life do you think impact your sleep most?
- Do you feel like you sleep better when you exercise?
- Do you notice any positive or negative effects of caffeine or eating close to bedtime on your sleep habits?