14 Ways to Sleep Like a Baby Tonight
“It is a common experience that a problem difficult at night is resolved in the morning, after the committee of sleep has worked on it.”
– John Steinbeck
Sleep is often one of the first things sacrificed to keep up with the day-to-day demands and tasks in life; thus, we really need to make sure we get the right amount of sleep that our body simply needs to function and thrive. Thomas Edison was famous for napping throughout the day. Creative genius can only be curated in a well rested mind.
Sleep is increasingly recognized as important to public health, with sleep insufficiency linked to motor vehicle crashes, industrial disasters, and medical and other occupational errors estimated to cost about 16 billion dollars! Women are twice as likely as men to have difficulty falling and staying asleep.
Children are not exempt from sleep issues either. In fact, it has been found that often the sleep habits they develop when they’re young persist into their adult years. Sleep deprivation can be one of the underlying causes of many mental and psychological conditions. A study that kept people awake for 24 hours straight found these exact results. After only 24 hours of no sleep, the subjects, who were screened from the outset and found to be baseline without profound mental health concerns, showed symptoms of major depression, anxiety, hallucinations, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia. Let’s face it, we don’t do very well without sleep and for some, this is a daily issue.
- About 60 million people in the US have some type of sleep disorder.
- 50% of all people over 65 report sleep difficulties.
- 50% of people have some sort of snoring issue, so don’t feel too bad if you find out you are one of them. But do get it checked out with your doctor.
- 37% of people report falling asleep midday suddenly during a task.
- 5% of people report falling asleep while driving. Sleep Apnea is a biological issue but is often caused by obesity.
- 40% of all adults have some type of sleep deprivation
- 100K deaths occur each year in hospitals due to medical error and sleep deprivation is in the top 3 most significant contributors to this
- 30% to 40% of children in the United States have sleep deprivation issues. Bad sleep habits start at a young age and normally continue into adult life
How much sleep do I need?
Sleep depends on your age. Here is some info:
- Infants need 12 to 16 hours
- Children ages 1-2 need 11 to 14 hours
- Kids ages 3-5 need 10 to 13 hours
- Children ages 6-12 need 9 to 12 hours
- Adults need 7 to 9 hours
14 Ways to Sleep Like a Baby Tonight:
1) No food, sugar, or soda 2-3 hours before bedtime.
Give it a break, it keeps many people up.
2) No caffeine past noon
If you can’t do that, then just make your last coffee of the day as early as you can, it will make a difference.
3) Allow yourself to slowly wind down before bedtime
We’re not robots, so give yourself a nightly routine and follow it, slowly calming the activities until you ease into bed.
4) Fill your day with productive activities
You have to earn your sleep. If you don’t go to sleep tired and spent, your sleep will be impacted. Work hard and then sleep hard. Repeat.
5) Practice relaxing breathing techniques before going to bed
I’m a huge fan of slow breathing. It’s one of the fastest ways to get the calming neurons firing and to tell your brain that you are safe. It’s calming and soothing, just try it.
6) No smartphone usage 1 hour before bedtime
Just put it down, the blue light isn’t good for you and it’s nice to have a break. I’m not telling you not to grab it first thing in the morning, but give it a break at night.
7) Create a peaceful environment 1 hour before sleeping
This is not the time to fight, think about work or talk with people who get you upset. Your mood does matter.
8) If you can’t sleep after 20 minutes, get out of bed, drink milk or write a little—then, try again
Sometimes we get stuck in the “I just can’t sleep” mode and need to change it up a little.
9) Countdown from 100 to 0
Counting sheep, from 1 to 100 actually is stimulating and can backfire. Instead countdown, it’s more soothing and make 0 your point of sleep. I use this often in hypnotherapy sessions and it works well.
10) Make sure you have a comfortable temperature in your room
Believe it or not, people like to be a drop cold when going to sleep, especially in the summer. But however you prefer it, make sure you have it that way, because it will help you sleep.
11) Drink chamomile tea
Or anything else that you find soothing. Sometimes this can make a difference. I recommend making it part of your routine for a month and tracking your progress.
12) Take a warm shower or bath
This works well to calm the body, you can try bubbles or oils as well.
13) Clear your mind
Often worries keep us up. This is very normal, but we can’t function that way and often can’t solve issues that way either. If you are really stuck, do what I call the “brain dump”, where you write down all of the things that are occupying your mind. This can be very liberating. Let the paper worry for you while you go to sleep!
14) Discuss your concerns with your doctor
Sleep deprivation is impairing and should be taken seriously. Set your goal to get whatever help you need so that you can sleep well and perform at your best. Ask your doctor tough questions about side effects, addiction properties, and length of treatment. Get a clear family history if you can.