When Liam was only a couple months old, I found out I was pregnant with Jono. That meant that I was hauling a toddler, an infant, and a pregnant belly around Manhattan for several months. Exhausting.

One afternoon, I walked Ella to Central Park for a play date, then I needed a rest – I was weeks away from delivering Jono. I sat down at a playground outside the Museum of Natural History, and let Liam crawl around my feet.

A woman at the playground, a stranger to me, just then asked me if I wanted her to take some pictures of me and Liam playing together. “I’m a mom, too. I’m always behind the camera. I would have wanted more pictures of me and my babies.” I thought it was kind. I gave her the camera I had in the stroller, and she snapped away.

These pictures are precious to me. One hangs on the wall in our home.

I am really grateful for the service this woman offered me. I am grateful for our New York City life. NYC is where I “grew up”. It’s where I raised my family and where I really got to know my husband and where I really got to know myself, too.

I love that my body did NYC for so many years. Really physically strenuous with children! But do you know what I love even more? I love that my body had these children. I love that it is strong enough to raise these children today. I guess I am feeling just a lot of gratitude this morning – for my family, for my body, for the woman at the playground.

Let’s talk some more about self-care. Today is Friday Fitness and Health.

The podcast I listened to today was an interview with Tara Youngblood, about the science of sleep. For the sake of time, I am going skip right over the science, and straight to the application.

“Sleep is all about habits.”

Intentional habits surrounding sleep:

  • Controlling the light.
  • Timing.
  • Taking the time to wind down – journal or meditate, prayer.
  • Temperature. Temperature is actually more important to sleep than light. I thought that was interesting. If I can get my core body temperature to raise or lower by one degree before going to bed, that temperature change will trigger my “sleep switch”. Cold shower. Hot shower. Hot tea. Exposure to cold outdoors. Etc. I want to try this.
  • Supplements. Magnesium oil, vitamins, etc.

These are just quick notes I scribbled down, going through the podcast at 1 1/2x speed. Twice.

I have Bry here with me. We like to set these habits together. I want to ask him to weigh in on our sleep habits, and what intentional routines we can experiment around with.

R: Talk to me about our current sleep habits.

B: We have a bedtime routine. We go to bed together – we go to sleep together. Because of the heavy blanket on our bed, my body temperature goes up at least one degree. I wear socks. I heard a podcast about wearing socks. It helps me sleep better. I warm up a rice sock for my wife every night. She gets cold. We get to bed between 9:30 and 10:30 every night. We go to the gym in the mornings three days a week. I try to wake up the same time every morning, whether or not we go to the gym. 5am. I do mentally have a routine – four or five things to help me relax. I brush my teeth, take my vitamins, pray with my wife.

R: You’ve been reading about sleep habits and the importance of sleep as well. What are you reading right now? What have you learned?

B: I’m reading Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers by Robert M Sapolsky. Sleep is super important. A lack of sleep puts us at risk for a lot of health problems, diseases, memory problems, etc. It’s popular for athletes to turn off their phones at night, to get the full 9 hours of sleep. Sleep is kind of what people are talking about right now – making sure you’re getting enough sleep. And I don’t get enough sleep.

R: What changes would you like to see in our sleep habits?

B: I would like to get 7 1/2 hours of sleep a night. That means we need to get to bed by 8:30, because I don’t fall asleep right away. According to my app I am not asleep the whole time I am in my bed.

R: Okay. How do you see us doing this?

B: I thought we would pray with the kids at 6:30. Make love for two hours. Then go to sleep. I don’t know if you want that in the blog or not.

R: (Laughing) Seriously. What do we need to change? What routine should we adopt?

B: 8:30 target bedtime.

R: That’s really difficult with kids. How are we going to do this?

B: I don’t know.

R: Okay. So, once the kids are in bed, what should be our routine? I would like to adopt something that raises/lowers our temperature by one degree. I like the idea of tea, right before I go to bed. Maybe that could happen when I am taking my vitamins, when I take my supplements.

  • Shower (I shower at nights)
  • Family prayer
  • Kids are in bed, and kettle on to boil
  • Brush our teeth, pajamas on, take supplements
  • Read scriptures, pray, sleep meditation
  • Then we are asleep for the night

R: Maybe I should be using magnesium oil to rub into my body, as I thank my body, instead of my highly perfumed vanilla rose lotion. I shower at nights, anyway. It can be a part of our routine.

B: I love you.

R: I love you, too.

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