When I was a child, falling asleep was a challenge for me. So I instinctively began to relax my jaw, perform a body scan meditation, and imagine positive symbols. Every time, I’d drift into sleep within minutes, successfully curing my insomnia. But as I entered my 20s, I’d often pull all-nighters for work and school, leading to burnout and adrenal fatigue. After that, I began to value sleep more and learned I need at least 8 hours to feel my best. For me, this is easiest when I exercise regularly and check in with my mood each day during my meditation, allowing me to process and release the thoughts and worries that might keep me up at night. Meditation also helps me release physical tension—a prerequisite for deeper sleep.
When I became a mother, waking up at night to tend to my baby became inevitable. At first, I dreaded these wake-ups, but resisting my reality only led to anxiety, thus more difficulty relaxing and sleeping. A vicious cycle. So I learned to shift my perspective and view my sleep as shifts or naps instead. One way I released the attitude of anxiety was learning that for millennia, our ancestors actually slept in two shifts, once in the evening and again in the early morning, with a 1-3 hour wake period during the night. From our prehistoric ancestors all the way until the Industrial revolution, “double sleeping” was the norm! When artificial lighting was introduced, we stayed up late but still had to wake up early, leading to truncated sleep that shifted our circadian rhythms and sleep practices.
5:30 p.m.: It’s a Friday night and my family and I have early dinners to give our bodies enough time to digest the food before sleep.
6:30 p.m.: Before my bedtime routine, I respond to a couple of emails. I make sure to use screen shaders and night-time tinting settings to avoid too much stimulating light from my laptop and phone.
7 p.m.: As darkness falls in Bali, I dim the lights and encourage my two-year-old son to wind down with quiet playtime with his papa, while I meditate and journal using the Balance app.
7:45 p.m.: I read for a bit, before asking my son to pick out a book so my husband and I can read to him before bed.
8:00 p.m.: Now it’s time to take a bath with my son. Bali is quite a hot and humid climate so it feels great to wash the sweat away and feel squeaky clean before jumping into PJs. We do a fair bit of playing in the water before washing off together in the shower.
8:15 p.m.: Time to get dry, which turns into a game of me chasing him around the bedroom with a towel while he giggles and runs away from me dripping wet. I finally catch him and wrap him up like a burrito and toss him on the bed while he squeals in delight.
8:18 p.m.: We go back into the living room, where my husband is and we put our son on the potty before dressing him up in PJs.
8:23 p.m.: I finish a tall glass of coconut water and my husband makes a sippy cup of it for our son before getting the room ready for us, by turning on the stargazer night light and AC to cool the room down from 81 degrees Fahrenheit down to 67 degrees—much more suitable for sleeping.
8:25 p.m.: I start to tidy up the living room that’s now full of my son’s toys. I encourage him to help me put his cars in a basket.
8:30 p.m.: We have our son brush his teeth with us, while we do a little song and dance together. It’s much easier to get him to brush his teeth when he sees us doing it and we make it a fun game out of it. I use charcoal toothpaste which is strange because it makes my mouth look black while brushing them, and my son uses a cake-batter flavored toothpaste that he loves.
8:35 p.m.: I pick up my son in my arms, grab his sippy cup, and we give my husband a kiss goodnight. I bring him upstairs with me to bed as he’s waving and saying a sweet, “bye-bye” to his papa in the living room. We co-share in the same bed, and by now it’s already cool and has stars floating around the room and mosquito net over the bed.
8:37 p.m.: We spend a few minutes cuddling in bed and looking at the stars on the walls while I sing him a lullaby and rock him to sleep in his pillow.
8:45 p.m.: The gentle, continuous swaying motion lulls him into sleep, I can feel his muscles twitching as I move into a trance-like, hypnagogic state. A deep meditation.
9:07 p.m.: Barely able to stay awake now, I give him a little kiss while he’s peacefully sleeping, so cute, and dive my head into my memory foam pillow that has a luxurious silk cover. The stargazer night light turns off on its own, and I fall asleep immediately.
10:30 p.m.: My husband comes into the room to go to bed, but we don’t even hear him or stir a bit.
1:32 a.m.: My son wakes me up to the sound of him groaning, pointing at the side of the bed for his sippy cup. Luckily it only wakes me up, not my husband who’s in a deep sleep. I hand my son his sippy and he takes a few chugs before handing it back to me to put on the nightstand again. He then hands me a pillow and I know that means he wants me to rock him a bit back to sleep. I lay him next to me and put my arm under the pillow as I rock his head gently until he falls back asleep.
1:45 a.m.: My son is back asleep now and I fall effortlessly back to sleep next to him. Time for my second sleep shift.
4 a.m.: My son wakes me up again in a half-awake, half-sleep state, it’s still dark out but he’s thirsty once more. We repeat the same things as last time, giving him a sippy cup for a moment and putting it back. Only this time he doesn’t need me to rock him, he just crashes to the pillow—down for the count. And so do I. Sleep shift number three is here.
6:27 a.m.: Almost like clockwork, the roosters outside are crowing while the sparrows and pigeons around our house start singing. Bali is fully awake and the sun is peaking in brightly through the gaps in our black-out drapes. My son wakes up with the birds and then touches my face gently. I open my eyes to his wide smile and loving gaze. It’s one of the best moments of my day. I give him an eskimo kiss, rubbing noses before a big smooch on the cheek. The three of us share kisses and cuddles together for a few minutes before getting out of bed and sharing the love with our two Bali dogs and starting our morning routine.