How to Get a Few Extra Minutes Sleep When You Have Youngsters

I mentioned in a recent post that I didn’t get many full nights of sleep. There are a few simple tricks one can employ to gain a few precious minutes:

  1. Sleep when your baby sleeps—This is basic advice given to new mothers. And when you bring home your first newborn, it is pretty easy to follow. But it is still valid no matted the age of your children. If you are tired in the morning, go to sleep closer to your children’s bedtime. And if they nap, perhaps you should too.
  2. Develop a bedtime routine—Just like your kids, you will wind down when you have a routine that gets mind and body ready for sleep.
  3. Have a “no-no” list—There are, I’m sure, a list of things your children are not allowed to do after bedtime. There are things you should not do as well. For example, do not check your email our Facebook or any pet project you have that doesn’t have a clear stopping point. Anything that can suck up an hour without you realizing it should be on your list. Would your nighttime behavior be okay if you were your own child?
  4. Stretching out naptime—I have noticed with my kids that when they take a nap with me on my bed they sleep longer. When they begin to stir, I stay still and a lot of the time they’ll fall back to sleep. I know this particular trick isn’t going to be for everyone. But pay attention to what will work. Can they have “read, write, or draw time” on their beds? Will they respond well to lavender aroma therapy or a white noise machine?
    My older kids are pretty happy to let me take a nap with two youngest ones if it means they can do what they want for an hour without interruption from me or littles.
  5. Fake it—I was taught at my first job to smile before I answered the phone. When you have a smile on your face, you are more cheerful and polite. I actually helps even when the smile is fake. If you are sleepy and cranky in the morning, put on your phony-phone-smile, jump yes jump out of bed, and get going!

Following these tips can go a long way toward allowing us to achieve Benjamin’s Franklin’s adage: “Early to bed and early to rise, make a man healthy, wealthy and wise.” Hey, it worked for him.


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