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What a baby can teach you about sleep

07-05-2014

What a baby can teach you about sleep

You may have noticed that most babies are pretty good sleepers. We have and we want to be able to sleep like a baby. The phrase ‘sleeping like a baby’ exists for a good reason. When you look at most babies sleeping there is something special about their sleep, something that most of us adults would like to emulate. Sadly for most of us it seems impossible to ever ‘sleep like a baby’, we spend our days stressed over work and family and then try and fit a few hours of sleep in at night. However, while we may never fully replicate the baby sleep there are some things that we can do to approximate it. The following are a few lessons we can learn on how you can best sleep like a baby... and don’t worry, we are not going to recommend that you suck your thumb (though that may help!).

The first lesson on how to sleep like a baby
Right so the first lesson on how to sleep like a baby is one of the more obvious, but this doesn’t make it any easier. If you ask most people why they think that babies are able to sleep so well they will probably tell you that it is because they are not stressed. They do not have a care in the world and that makes it way easier for them to sleep. While there is no scientific evidence to back this up it certainly seems like it is true. Imagine going to bed at night without anything to concern or stress you, imagine how easy it would be to go to sleep?

The reality is that most of us do have something that at least concerns, if not stresses us, when we go to bed, so if we want to take the babies’ lesson on board we need to work out how we can best deal with the stress. How about doing the same thing as we do for babies before bedtime? Take a bath, read a book, do something calming. That is what parents do for their babies before bed and it is one of the best ways of relaxing before bed. Try it. 

The second lesson on how to sleep like a baby
Ok, so the second lesson on how to sleep like a baby is that you need to stick to a regular sleep schedule. Most parents make sure that their baby goes to bed around the same time and gets up at the same time. Sleep periods are often rigorously controlled. Not just at night but for naps during the day. Keeping a good sleep routine is also the best way of making sure that the child will go to sleep when you need them to. It is also a good way of monitoring how much sleep they are getting every day, as the sleep levels of a growing baby are critical to their overall development.

So why is it important for adults too? Because our body clock, the internal process that manages our sleep-wake cycle, works like, yes, clockwork. The better you can stick to a regular schedule the more you help your body clock. Going to bed at around the same time each night and getting up at about the same time every morning makes it easier for your body clock to manage your sleep routine. The more irregular your sleeping habits are the more it will struggle to regular the complex mix of chemicals that it uses to put you to sleep and wake you up.

The third lesson on how to sleep like a baby
Now onto the third lesson on how to sleep like a baby is to learn how to nap when you need to. Babies are expert nappers and if you can master the nap then you will have better sleep health. Most children under the age of two or three will have at least one nap during the day. Without a nap most of them will get grumpy and tired. While adults do not need to nap as regularly as a baby they are a very good way of catching up on sleep that we missed the night before.

As mentioned above, you need to stick to your regular sleep cycle, and the best way of catching up on missed sleep without impacting the sleep cycle is by napping during the day. If you can master the power nap, say 20-30 minutes, you will find how rejuvenating it can be.

The fourth lesson on how to sleep like a baby
Now onto the fourth and final lesson on how to sleep like a baby. This one might sound a bit crazy but bear with us. Ok, babies will often have a drink of milk before bed, many young babies will go to sleep as they are drinking milk. This is largely a comfort thing, but there is a lesson here for us adults too.

We should have a nice drink of cow’s milk before bed. Cow’s milk is actually an excellent soporific. Yes, milk is one of the best things you can have before bedtime so if you want to sleep like a baby then you can get yourself some warm milk, don’t worry you don’t have to drink it out of a bottle.

Sleep like a baby
There you have it, if you want to sleep like a baby you need to try to forget about the stressful things in your life, you can do this by having a bath or reading before bed. You also need to stick to a regular sleep schedule so your body clock can control your sleep-wake cycle better.

Learning how to nap is also very useful as a way of catching up on missed sleep without effecting your body clock. And have a glass of warm milk before bed, it really does help you to sleep better. 


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