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It’s 2 a.m., you’ve finally dozed off, and have peacefully drifted into the land of a clean house and well behaved children (Let me clarify...this is in your dreams). All of a sudden, something arouses you to a conscious state. You lie there with your eyes still closed and assess the situation (we’re moms and intuitive dads...we can do that). 

You realize the sound came from the baby monitor placed right next to your head. At the moment, all sounds good. After listening closely, you can hear your baby breathing and gently tossing in his sleep. However, we’re concerned parents so we have to get one more peek before we can comfortably drift off again to a peaceful place. You tip-toe to your child’s bedroom and slide open the door like a ninja. BUSTED! He wasn’t asleep! Mission failed! Your child pops up his head and whimpers for you to pick him up. You look at the clock...2:48 A.M. Uhg! 

Without too much hesitation, you grab your child and try to rock him back to sleep. He’s got those sleepy eyes so you know it won’t be long before he’s out. Ten minutes go by. Looks like the coast is clear to put him back to bed. As soon as you separate him from your grasp, you notice your shirt is damp. “Great,” you think to yourself. “Was he wet when I picked him up?” You place your hand on his bed and feel’s wet. You remove your child and the soiled sheets from the bed. Guess what? He’s awake again and there is no way he’s going back to least to his bed. Besides, you don’t have any clean sheets to put back on his bed anyway. 

So you make a palette on the floor for your child and yourself because you’re afraid that if you put him in your bed, he will roll right off the side, which is a three foot drop. Despite the fact that you placed two comforters, folded in two on the floor, you still feel like you’re lying on a bed of rocks. You think to yourself, “I’m doing this for my son,” as you attempt to fall asleep. It is now 4 A.M., your restless son keeps smacking you in the face but you feel as if you are more asleep now then you were almost an hour ago. Hey, half sleep has to count for something. 

Before you know it, it’s 6:45 a.m., your alarm  sounds and rattles your ear drums like Victoria’s voice from Big Brother 16. You immediately swipe your iphone alarm to the off position and convince yourself that you somehow have 30 extra minutes to sleep and still make it to work on 8 a.m. Your husband calls you at 7:09 a.m. to tell you he forgot his lunch box again. You jump up with super human speed and think to yourself, “What was I thinking?!” Despite the hustle and bustle, your son remains peacefully sleeping on the bedrock palette you made a couple of hours ago because kids can do that. 

Fortunately, you picked out clothes for the week last Friday. So that saves you 10 minutes of morning prep. Zombie-dazed, you manage to get yourself and your son ready for work and daycare. It’s 8:15 a.m. You sit down at your desk and give yourself a pat on the back because just over an hour ago, you were fast asleep across town on your sheetrock bed. Now, what’s the fastest route to the coffee shop?

I’m sure as parents we’ve all had this experience at one time or another. Because events like these are bound to happen, it’s good to know what you can do on a regular basis to make sure that you are getting the appropriate amount of sleep. Remember, according to the American Psychological Association, sleep is essential for your health and wellbeing. Below, is a list I’ve compiled that is guaranteed to help you adopt better sleep habits for those times life puts a hiccup in your routine.

How to get better sleep and adopt a better sleep routine

  1. Put the kids to bed on time.
  2. Do at least 10 minutes of Yoga.
  3. Read your favorite book or magazine without interruption for at least 10 minutes before going to bed.
  4. Take at least a 10 minute evening walk outside.
  5. Turn off your t.v., computer and/or cell phone while in bed.
  6. Listen to soft music before bed.
  7. Before bed, eat a light snack such as almonds, cheese or turkey. According to a HuffPost article, these things will help your body use tryptophan and serotonin to get you sleepy.
  8. Drink some caffeine-free herbal tea.
  9. Pick out your clothes and your children’s clothes the night before so you are not scrambling the next day and you can get the maximum amount of sleep.
  10. Do not drink caffeinated beverages after noon.
  11. Go to bed in enough time to get 8 hours of sleep.
  12. Spend some time with God. (Ex: pray or read your bible before bed)
  13. Take a shower or bath with lavender shower gel or soap.
  14. Light a lavender candle.
  15. Use a sound machine with soothing sounds.
  16. Take a 15-20 minute walk over lunch.
  17. Do a 15-20 minute workout in the morning before work.
  18. Sleep in comfy, loose-fitting clothing.
  19. Wash your bed linens and sleep in a freshly made bed.
  20. Don’t smoke. Nicotine is a stimulant and can keep you awake.
  21. No alcohol before bed  
  22. Make a to-do list of the things you would like to accomplish in the next day, week, etc. - this is a great way of removing things from your constantly active mind so you can focus more on getting a good night’s rest.
  23. Get up - if you haven’t fallen asleep within 30 minutes of going to bed, get up and do some non-mind stimulating activity such as folding laundry. Then, try it again.

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