“Good Sleep Is a Reachable Dream”
– the slogan for World Sleep Day 2016
Apparently it’s World Sleep Day, which I knew nothing about until I was checking out the news this morning.
World Sleep Day is funny. It sounds like we should all sleep the day away. But then the whole thing wouldn’t get much traction if it was called World Sleep Night. Then again, the information would reach all the right people: those struggling with sleep and turning to the internet for answers…
Oh my, the fact that I find that funny indicates that I need more sleep – by which I mean coffee.
Inspired by an article on the topic, I thought it might be fun to create my own personalized list of sleep habits. So here is my top 10 tips for better sleep:
1. Don’t have kids. – just kidding. Starting over.
My Top 10 Tips for Better Sleep
1. Decide when you’re going to go to bed before you launch into evening activities.
2. Don’t wake the parent who fell asleep laying down the little one(s) unless they have either a) expressly asked for you to do so, b) you are planning on guiding them to the comfort of your own bed after cleaning up the kitchen, shutting all the lights off, and locked all the doors.
3. Wind down with Netflix, or a book, or an activity that generally calms your mind. Do not, I repeat, DO NOT, watch a show that will rile you up right before bed, or you know the drill: whether you watch the next 5 episodes or not, you won’t be able to sleep for another 3 hours anyway. This means Jessica Jones and Game of Thrones has to happen first thing after kids are in bed in our house, so we can follow it up with New Girl.
4. Consume alcohol – in moderation. It’s known to help you relax; you just don’t want more than one drink or so, to stay clear of feeling too full to sleep and/or hamper the brain’s normal shutting down process. And no, by one drink I don’t mean a 36 oz margarita, or only one bottle of wine – each.
5. Have good, or even great sex. I can personally attest that satisfying sex works like a sleeping elixir. Better than pills, melatonin, or hot milk. WARNING: Bad or unsatisfying sex has the opposite effect. Don’t be the jerk who is only interested in getting themselves off and then complains about how their partner is keeping them awake because they’re struggling to sleep.
6. Exercise – I hear this works. Personally I prefer good, or great sex. It’s considered exercise, and it’s more enjoyable. That being said, we have found that we do sleep better when we are taking the time to exercise regularly; but not right before bed.
7. Take turns helping little ones fall back asleep, or changing their diapers, or getting them for a night feeding, etc.
8. Take turns being the one getting up with the littles in the morning. Be a team player.
9. Follow your body’s signals. Some nights, one of us just can’t go on any more at 8:00 PM (we’re night owls, so that’s completely out of character – then again, so is getting up at 5:45 every morning, which we do. Because we love our kids.) It’s ok to prioritize sleep over Netflix, or sleep over reading, or sleep over a spotless kitchen. We find that when we listen to our bodies (instead of ignoring them) we have more energy the next day and we end up being more productive than we would have by “pushing through.”
10. Cuddle. Also, gentle caresses. And, when necessary, massage.
What would be in your list of top 10 tips for better sleep?
This post is brought to you by coffee: helping parents everywhere who realize that top 10 lists only apply to people who aren’t responsible for fighting monsters all night, guiding sleepwalking children to the toilet, and cuddling precious mini-tornadoes.