In the last instalment of The Fibromyalgia Sleep Chronicles we looked at how pre sleep routines can help you to better drift off to the land of nod without too much reliance on the sandman, but have you ever thought about your post sleep routines?
If you are anything like I was at the beginning of the year, your phone will wake you up with its pre set alarm, and through bleary eyes you will take at look at any notifications that have come through while you have been sleeping (or attempting to sleep). One of them is bound to excite you and warrant a closer look by logging into your phones screen and seeing what is happening either on social media or in the news. Occasionally this may lead to happiness but more often than not it leads to a buzz of activity in your brain leaving you feeling over excited, stressed, or worried. You may find yourself getting caught up in what you see and before you know it you haven’t got time to have a nice long shower or even worse, to eat breakfast.
I’ve learnt that that is how I used to be, and I now shudder at how tied I used to be to checking my phone as soon as I awoke. I used to wake up and be immediately sucked into life outside of what I could control, or even thing I didn’t need to know first thing in the morning. My attention needed to be on getting myself up and ready for the day, my children, and my wellbeing.
I now look at waking up as ‘warming up’, getting myself ready for the workout of a day I have ahead. I guess my post sleep routines are my cool down, from the workout of a day I’ve had. By warming up to my day I am able to gentle move my body from a sleep state to a fully alert and awake state, and this helps me to tackle my day, head on, positively. I generally allow myself at least an hour for this, and this hour needs to be before I am responsible for anything or anyone. So I’m generally up and about before my children wake up at 7 for at least an hour.
Stay away from the light!
It’s not just about being awake for an hour before the kids get up. It about what I do with that hour thats important. Like I’ve already said, being awake and sitting on my phone for an hour is not the best start to the day.
Using a phone, or any technology, in that first hour of waking up, does not allow me to process my thoughts very well. My brain is not thinking 100% clearly or rationally, and therefore staying away from anything that might warrant a negative response or that might worry me is generally the best thing for me. It’s a bit like responding to a text when you are blind drunk. I know I certainly feel drunk when I’ve just woken up! Rarely do I jump out of bed full of the joys of spring (see this post as to why!).
There’s a reason why they say breakfast is the most important meal of the day…. because it just is! If your evening meal was at 7pm and you wake up at 7am, then your body has literally gone 12hours without food. You need to refuel. Without eating breakfast you simply will not have to energy to start your day off positively. You’ll likely make bad food choices throughout the day, drink more caffeine than you actually need, and this could have a negative impact on your sleep the next night. So ALWAYS eat breakfast. If you find eating breakfast difficult then don’t make it the first thing you do when you wake up, but rather leave it towards the end of your post sleep routine. Keep it small, maybe a light yoghurt, a smoothie, or a slice of toast. Once you start doing it you will gradually have a bigger appetite on waking and be able to plump for bigger and more energising breakfasts as time goes by. If you follow me on Instagram, you will know that breakfast is by far my favourite meal of the day, and breakfast generally doesn’t have many rules!
I exercise pretty much every day as part of my post sleep routine, usually yoga, to wake up my body gently, and to stretch out all those fibromyalgia aches and pains. I usually exercise before breakfast, but after I’ve had a drink. Exercise in the daylight is all the better if you can manage it (see this post for the benefits of daylight on sleep and wellbeing). I generally do my yoga in my bedroom where the sun shines in, in the morning, but only because I’m too embarrassed to do my yoga in the communal garden! But if you are a confident yogi, do it on the grass! I also go for a walk every morning, whether it be taking the kids to school or walking to work.
Challenge your brain….. gently
My engagement with the world usually begins right at the end of my post sleep routine. I will put on the radio to listen to the days news (after my breakfast, exercise and shower when I am fully awake and won’t get to drunkily emosh about it), or maybe listen to a podcast on my way to work. Anything to get the brain thinking. I also make sure that I make my bed, wash up the breakfast things, and get the girls things ready for school (with mixed success…. I usually forget something!).
So in short my morning generally looks like this….
- Wake up at 6am
- Have a cup of herbal tea and practise mindfulness (mindfulness is a great way to awaken your senses to the day!)
- Shower, dress, hair, make up
- Breakfast with the kids
- Wash up breakfast things while kids get themselves ready for school, listen to the radio or a podcast
- Get things together for work/school
- Walk children to school
- Catch train to work, USE PHONE!!!
- Walk to work from train station, listen to music
By the time I have done all of the above it already feels like I have done a lot with my day and made the most of my time, My day is gentle, my morning relaxed and usually stress free, which gets me off to a great start. I generally feel able to tackle anything life throws at me in a calm and collected way, and feel like an all round hero 🙂
So thats it! Do you have any post sleep routines that your use that you would like to share? If so then as always I would love to hear from you, either on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter! Please also feel free to comment below!