After yesterday’s story with my favorite apps to keep myself awake while rocking the baby back to sleep in the middle of the night, I received a few messages from our readers… they all ask…
“But how do YOU fall back asleep after that!?”
That’s a great question. To me, I didn’t put much thought into that aspect while I was writing the piece. The 3am rocking session is such a part of my nightly routine, that it’s relatively easy for me to get back to my bed, hit the pillow and zonk right back out. That’s why my apps were ones that didn’t over stimulate.
That being said – here are some tips that I do use…
1. Do NOT turn on the lights.
I’m like a changing ninja. One night I changed a diaper, pajamas AND crib sheets all in the dark. My Dad eyes have transformed into cat-like. That little nightlite on the baby monitor base is more than enough for me.
If you turn the lights on to see what you’re doing, you’re done for. Your eyes and brain will start to take in everything in the room. The laundry that has to be folded, the floor that needs to be mopped, the toys that weren’t put away…. keep it dark.
2. Do NOT read work emails.
If you can avoid any emails – even better. There is nothing brain-less about reading emails. Especially work related ones. If you get one that’s stressing you out – you’ll lay back down and your brain won’t stop thinking about it.
Same goes for social media. If the mere sight of a POTUS Meme or Tweet will get your blooding boiling, avoid it at all costs. 3am is NO time for that. You won’t reply in your best way. I’ve received many emails from co-workers/clients/vendors who send stuff in the early morning hours – I’m sure they’d like to get all those back. “Sleepy you” is never your best foot forward.
Other than that, I looked for some expert feedback for you.
SleepFoundation.org has GREAT resources if you’re having any troubles sleeping. They suggest a relaxation exercise which sounds pretty easy.
Practice this exercise when you lay down to go to sleep at night, and also if you wake up during the night and have trouble falling back to sleep. This is especially helpful if you find your mind racing or preoccupied, which many people with insomnia do. The idea is to continue to redirect your attention to your breathing and your body any time you find yourself lost in thought. When you let thoughts go and simply keep your attention on your breathing, you are better able to welcome sleep.
TheMuse.com has a list of 19 things to try to help falling asleep. As a kid who LOVED playing pretend – I dig this tip:
Trick your brain into thinking you’re exhausted by, well, pretending you are. Concentrate on the kinds of things you would feel if you were tired, like drooping eyes, the room darkening, or the sensation of sinking into your bed—and before you know it, you just might experience them!
And the Huffington Post has a great piece with 15 methods for falling asleep with are ‘science-backed’.
Use the “4-7-8” method
Championed by best-selling author Dr. Andrew Weil—and various wellness bloggers, the “4-7-8” breathing technique is purported to help you fall asleep in under a minute. The method is said to relax you by increasing the amount of oxygen in your blood stream, slowing your heart rate, and releasing more carbon dioxide from the lungs. According to DrWeil.com, here’s how you do it:
Place the tip of your tongue against the ridge of tissue just behind your upper front teeth, and keep it there through the entire exercise.
Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound.
Close your mouth and inhale quietly through your nose to a mental count of four.
Hold your breath for a count of seven.
Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound to a count of eight.
Repeat the cycle three more times for a total of four breaths.
If you want some tech to HELP you fall asleep (instead of keeping you awake) – check out this video from the gang at The Grommett featuring the Dodow Metronome Light Sleep Aid.
How about you guys? Do you have trouble falling asleep after you’re up for a bit with the baby? Do you have any tips to share with the gang? Head to the comments and share – that’s why we’re here!
Cheers, and good night!