Let’s talk about sleep, baby

Everybody does it. Some of us get more than others. And if you’re getting a lot of it, well, I’m giving you the stink eye.

That’s right, people, I’m talking about sleep.

I like to think of myself as a sleep expert, in that I love it and I did it a lot. I took copious naps on the weekend. Mister Jess and I slept in until 9, sometimes 10 in the morning. Sleep was something that fell from a proverbial sleep tree into my lap.

(For those who are wondering, sleep trees are like money trees, only great sleep falls from them instead of hundred dollar bills. Also, they are fictional, but bear with me.)

I am sad to say that my sleep tree has withered away. The leaves are dying, the bark is looking rather sallow…and I’m out of metaphors. Suffice it to say, I don’t even know what sleeping in is anymore. It definitely isn’t 5:30 AM, which is when my beautiful little angel of a baby decides it’s time to get up and party. And when people ask if he’s sleeping through the night, which he largely is, I want to shake them and say, “forget about him sleeping through the night, what about ME?”

Hey, I am nothing if not selfless.

I’m obsessed with sleep and the fact that I’m not getting it for good reason. Besides being completely awesome, sleep is an important part of our overall health. There have been dozens of studies about sleep deprivation and its negative effects on the human body and mind, but let’s focus on the good stuff, shall well? As The National Institutes of Health points out, a good night’s sleep every night boosts your memory, improves your ability to learn new skills, and makes you an overall happier you.

I’m about 18 years away from sleeping through the night, if my calculations are correct, but that doesn’t mean you can’t. Those who cannot do, teach. So, I looked up some tips and my good friend The Mayo Clinic has some great ones to get you started on the road to sleep success.

1. Stick to a sleep schedule. Go to bed and wake up at the same time each day, even on the weekends and days off. It’s all about consistency where your bod is concerned!

2. Pay attention to what you eat and drink. Don’t stuff your face right before bed, but don’t go to sleep starving either. It’s also best not to drink a huge glass of water before bedtime either. It’s safe to say that alcohol, caffeine and nicotine will also interrupt a great night’s sleep.

3. Create a bedtime ritual. This is a great tip for babies and adults alike. Bug gets a warm bath, a nightcap, and sometimes a song before he hits the hay. Relaxing activities help your mind switch into sleepy-time gear.

4. Get comfortable. Make sure your bedroom is quiet, dark and the right temperature. A comfy mattress and pillows are important, too.

5. Limit daytime naps (I cannot recommend this personally, but I guess Mayo Clinic is pretty legit). Long daytime naps can mess up your sleep for later. If you do decide to nap, try to limit it to 10-3o minutes. Good luck with that.

6. Include physical activity in your daily routine. Regular physical activity helps you sleep better, longer, and deeper. Scoot your doots, people!

7. Manage stress. Our lives are crazy, and sometimes when you lay your head on your pillow at night, your brain decides it’s a great time to think about all of the things you have to do the next day, or the things you should’ve done today. Write it all down and then set it aside so you can get some shut eye. It will be waiting for you in the morning. Trust me.

8. Have your newborn go live with Grandma and Grandpa for the first year.

One of those is mine. I’ll let you guess.

How much sleep are you getting at night? Do you have a nighttime ritual? Do you love sleep and naps as much as I do? Let’s talk about it in the comments. Parents of babies, we can cry together there. 

6 thoughts on “Let’s talk about sleep, baby

  1. If I could give you some kind of magic sleeping dust, I would! I do NOT function well on no sleep (which should make the rest of med school suuuuper fun). I’m also totally a morning person. I’m up at 6:00 pretty much every morning, which unfortunately means that on weekends I’m exhausted at, like, 10 PM. Parties should all start at 7 to accommodate me.

    • Even 10PM sounds late to me nowadays! If I’m in bed past 9:30, I’m freaking. I agree that parties should start at 7. Or even 5! That would be perfect, so as not to interfere with Bug’s bedtime routine. 😉

  2. My 5 month old is still getting up every 3 hours or so and her brother Who is almost 2 didn’t sleep through the big until 10 months ago.. Needless to say I haven’t slept in a long time. Thinking about trying number 8!

  3. Ah, sleep. I believe I may remember what that is like. With 2 year old twins, a 5 month old baby, and a full time job and part time school workload, I am not sure I have slept in almost 3 years. Since I seem to be able to function on around 6 hours of sleep a night, I get the majority of the middle of the night wake-ups. And since I am a morning person, I get the early morning feedings. All of this means that by 10 PM, I am barely keeping my eyes open. And once a week, I collapse early (like 9 PM) and do not MOVE until 5:30 AM. Someday, I hope to be able to go back to my lovely 8-hr a night sleep sessions. Until then, I will simply dream of sleeping as long as I want.

    • Sounds like you’re on the same trajectory I am – sleeping through the night once they hit 18. 😉 I’m sure I’ve said this before, but you are my hero! Twins and an infant, that is no joke.

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