While you can’t stop a sick toddler from getting you up at 3am or change your baby’s around-the-clock schedule, you can improve the quality of what sleep you are getting. Here’s how in easy steps:
- Stay cool.
Keep your bedroom at a comfortable temperature and block out noise and light, which can wake you from a light sleep. In a cool room most people sleep better. Consider getting a sound machine, if road noise is a problem, which can mask noise with soothing sounds, such as the rainfall or surf.
- Just say no.
Say no to alcohol, nicotine and caffeine in the evening or late afternoon. More than a glass or two of beer or wine will make more restless your sleep and a cup of coffee in the afternoon can, even hours later, delay your dropping off. Remember, caffeine is found not just in black tea and coffee, but in many soft drinks, diet pills, chocolate and medicines.
- Get some exercise.
Finish up exercise at least three hours before you go to bed. Give your body a chance to unwind after a workout.
- Bed is for bedtime.
Use your bed only for sex and sleep. If you are in the habit of watching TV or paying bills in bed, stop. Don’t use bedtime to solve your daily problems, try to clear your mind, associate your bed only with bedtime activities.
- Steer clear of bad habits.
If you find yourself falling asleep, when evening comes, in the rocking chair in your baby’s nursery or on the sofa, make yourself get into bed. If you get into the habit of sleeping anywhere but the bed can lead to sleep problems later on.
- Eat light meals.
Close to bedtime don’t have a heavy meal, but if you need a snack before turning in, choose a bowl of cereal as high-carbohydrate food. Actually, it may promote sleep.
- Grab a snooze.
During the day, a 15 to 20-minute snooze, can sharpen memory, improve alertness and generally reduce the symptoms of fatigue. However, keep in mind, that sleeping during the day for some people could disrupt a good night’s sleep.
- Stick to a routine.
Once you’ve established a regular bedtime routine for your baby, do the same for yourself. Put aside the work or the bills you’ve brought home from the office, an hour or so before bed. Soak in a hot bath with chamomile or lavender essential oil, make a cup of warm milk or herbal tea, and before you turn out the light, snuggle down with a good book.
- Jot away your cares.
If racing thoughts are keeping you anxious and awake, keep a notepad by your bed so you have a place to unload them until the morning.
- Don’t try too hard.
Don’t stay in bed turning and tossing, if you can’t go to sleep after 30 minutes. Get up, go into another room, and read or listen to soothing music until you feel sleepy. If you aren’t ready, you can’t force yourself to fall asleep.