I don't know many people who sleep like babies. Maybe that's because it's scientifically proven that the way we sleep changes as we age. So no, you're not imagining it, and no, it's not all stress or booze related: you're not getting the same kind of z's you used to.
I know, I know. Anytime I hear of a baby getting a better deal than me, I get a little pissed off. So seriously, what are we going to do about this? An occasional sleepless night is unavoidable. But there are about 70 million of us who report chronic sleep deprivation and if you ask me, I don't need those people out on the roads [myself included] or throwing shade in the checkout line [guilty]. So how do we fix this without making sleep one more thing that stresses us out?
I'm not going to sit here and tell you to get 11 hours of shut-eye and go to bed when it's still light out. That's not advisable and quite frankly, who the hell are you if you have that kind of time on your hands. What I will provide are a few natural, non-habit forming goodies from my personal bag of tricks that have actually helped me--one of the world's lightest sleepers and greatest complainers about getting little sleep!--catch more Z's than I would be able to otherwise. Because that's the point, isn't it friends? Not to do something perfectly [WIN AT SLEEPING] but to perhaps do it a little better. Perhaps by treating your bedtime agenda more like you would an infant's--by pampering yourself with routine and calming tricks--you can sleep more like you did when you were a wee thing.
It seems that people who regularly have trouble sleeping--and not because of a crying infant or snoring partner---people who, like me, just can't seem to hack it--fall into one of two camps: those who can't fall asleep, and those who can't stay asleep. These types also seem to have one thing in common: not getting a great start to the next day. Because let's face it, when you have a restless night, you don't wake up feeling like a fox. You wake up feeling like a sloth. (Still cute! But so slow.) If none of the following increase your quality of Z's, I will personally come to your house dressed as a Sloth. Or something.
If you have trouble falling asleep, try:
This stuff is the best blend of relaxing herbs bundled into one glorious tea bag. I make one almost every night before bed, and have found that the ritual alone of brewing a hot cup actually relaxes me itself. **Do avoid excessive tea intake if you're someone who gets up during the night to pee a lot!**
Lavender by your bed
Aromatherapy is real, y'all. Studies have shown that whiffing the scent before bed can help you sleep more soundly. I keep a little jar of it on my nightstand. It bathes the room in a lovely, relaxing scent.
Badger Night Night Balm
I'm obsessed with all things Badger Balm. Their products work great to soften hands and feet, soothe eczema and cracked skin, and calm you with their lovely scents. This particular version is actually designed for kids, but like I said, babies don't get to have all the fun. Treat yourself more like a baby and maybe you'll start sleeping like one. That's my philosophy.
If you have trouble staying asleep, try:
I approached an herbal specialist at the Linden Hills Co-op the other day, looking at her like she was Mother Theresa. "Can you help me?" I quivered [like a baby.] "I'm having trouble sleeping." The kind lady listened to my complaints, and informed me that Gaia Sleepthru is the strongest herbal remedy out there to help people stay asleep. I took her word for it and have been enjoying much better slumbers ever since. Plus, each Gaia bottle has a reference number so you can look up who made your supplements and what they're all about.
A light, protein-carbohydrate snack an hour before bedtime
As the kind lady at the Linden Hills Co-op informed me, waking frequently in the night can also be a sign that your blood sugar is low. Eat a small snack with a carbohydrate base and a bit of protein--like peanut butter toast, for instance--about a half hour to an hour before bedtime. Slug it down with some milk!
Cooling your room:
Studies show that the ideal sleeping temperature is actually a nippy 65 degrees. So invest in an AC unit or fan, and sleep in cooler clothes when needed.
If you have trouble waking up on the right side of the bed:
Avoid looking at your phone for the first 30 minutes you are awake. The nervous system is so sensitive upon waking that flooding it with your twitter feed of current events or stress-inducing emails is gon' be extra harsh on a body. Five things to do upon waking INSTEAD of checking your phone?
- Write down your dreams from the night before.
- Scramble some eggs.
- Say nice things to yourself.
That last one is just helpful no matter what time of day, or how much sleep you're getting. Sleep well.