10 December 2008

How to Sleep like a Baby

learning from babies how to sleep well
Getting a good night's sleep can seem to get more difficult to do the older you get. This makes sense especially as your responsibilities and worries increase as you get older - the more you have to mull over at night when trying to sleep. 

However, it is possible to learn how to sleep well again and get the most out of each nights shut eye. It is possible to wake feeling refreshed and ready to face each day with energy - yes it is. And here's how....we copy what we did as babies.

When we were babies, sleeping was second only to eating in the important things to do each day. So it was taken seriously. By using some of the same tactics our parents used to get us to sleep, we can get that same quality of sleep again.

1. Routine, routine, routine
Most babies have a strict bedtime (whether they adhere to it or not) and we need to do the same. I'm not suggesting 7pm but pick a time that is before 11.30pm at least and try to make sure you get to bed at that time every night of the week. This new routine will help your body get used to the pattern and adjust accordingly and the aim is to always have the lights out and eyes shut by midnight if you want to feel refreshed in the morning.

2. Bathtime before bed
Some people shower in the morning before work whilst others prefer to bathe the night before. I'd suggest bath time before bed, again just as babies do. The warm water will be soothing and relaxing in a bath will help you fast track through your unwinding so you don't do any of it in bed. This may be difficult to fit in round your other routines at home but try it out and you'll feel the benefits immediately. It's worth the effort.

3. Cover Lightly
Staying warm and cozy in bed is what we dream of but as with babies, you shouldn't wrap up too warmly with heavy blankets and duvets. The key is layers that together keep you warm but are also light in weight. You may have experienced waking up in the middle of the night before when you get too hot and sweaty and we're trying to ensure that you stay asleep through the night uninterrupted.

4. Nothing too wild
By this I mean, start winding down in the evening hours before bedtime and don't do strenuous housework or workout half an hour before bed. Try reading or watching a little TV - not a horror movie or anything too disturbing. That would be the equivalent of reading a baby horror stories for a bedtime treat. Relax and wind down and remember, nothing too wild.

5. Drink nothing an hour before bed
Sure, babies get their hot milk but they wear nappies / diapers! We don't so no hot drinks just before bed as this can sometimes force you to head to the toilet in the middle of the night with a full bladder. And we all know there's nothing worse than waking from a lovely slumber to do that.

Photograph by paul goyette (flickr)

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