Last updated on April 3rd, 2024

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Kim West, MSW, Mom of 2, creator of The Sleep Lady Shuffle

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sleepOnce we get our little ones sleeping well, often, we parents find that we have trouble going to sleep, or struggle with insomnia. You may be wondering what can you do to ensure that you get enough rest.
Thankfully, there are a few simple things that you can do to help yourself get back into good sleep habits after many sleepless nights (or months, in some cases).
In a recent article, Real Age discussed how to resolve and prevent insomnia without medication. Insomnia (defined as having trouble getting more than three days of restful sleep a week for three out of four weeks) is nothing to ignore, and if you can’t sleep you’re definitely not alone (and most of this advice applies to your toddler as well).
I think that we can all benefit from this advice, adults and children alike. Remember, we are teaching our children how to sleep.

Easy Ways To Help Everyone Sleep:

1. Get some exercise.

Just 30-minutes a day, and, if it’s warm enough, try to also go outside for some fresh air (many people find that they actually sleep better if they spend a short while outside each day).
This is because exercise relieves stress, which can help you sleep better. So go outside, ride a bike, take a walk, just get moving. Try it! Exercise really can help everyone sleep better!

2. Make sure you have a decent mattress.

You aren’t going to get restful sleep on a mattress that isn’t comfortable. Have you ever tried to get a good night’s sleep in a chair or on the couch? You wake up with a sore body, and chances are you are just as tired as you were the night before. Make sure that you invest in your sleep surface (and your baby’s).

3. Give yourself some wind-down time.

A bedtime routine is so important for children, and it’s important for adults, too. Sure, you don’t take a bath before bed or have someone read you a story, but it’s worth taking an hour to decompress and relax before you try to sleep. Your brain needs time to process your day.

4. Get rid of technology in the bedroom (and in the 30-minutes before you go to sleep).

We’ve talked about television inhibiting sleep before. And it bears mentioning again. Screen time (whether it’s TV, an iPad, or even a smart phone) actually tells your brain that it’s time to be awake. The bright light, the sound, it’s a lot to process. Try to turn off the technology at least one hour before you go to bed.

5. Give yourself about 20 minutes to drift off.

Interestingly, many people don’t realize that it actually takes the average person 20 minutes to fall asleep. If you can’t achieve sleep after this amount of time, it may be worth getting up and picking up a relaxing activity, such as a book, yoga, or even meditation and trying again in a little while.
While I don’t recommend allowing your toddler to get out of bed if they don’t fall right to sleep, it’s worth a try for mom and dad.
If you’d like to read more about how get better sleep, you can read the original article here: How to Get Better Sleep and Prevent Insomnia Without Medication.

Which tip do you find works best for you? Does your partner find that something different works better for them?

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Author: Kim West, MSW, Mom of 2, creator of The Sleep Lady Shuffle

My name is Kim West, and I’m the mother of two beautiful girls, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who has been a practicing child and family therapist for more than 21 years, and the creator of the original gentle, proven method to get a good night’s sleep for you and your child. My sleep journey began when I started experimenting with gently shaping my daughter’s sleep by not following the conventional wisdom at the time. After having success (and then more success with my second daughter!), I began helping family and friends and my step-by-step method spread like wildfire, exactly like an excellent night of sleep for a tired parent should!