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.