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10 Secrets Parents Must Know for a Good Nights Sleep

You may have noticed that my blog’s About Me page starts with “A Dallas dad blogs about about life, parenthood and the pursuit of sleep.” As any parent knows, sleep is one of the many things that is in short supply once that first child arrives. I’m not sure it fully improves even after the last leaves home?

One thing I do know though, of the things we can do to maximize our health and well being, besides eating a healthy and exercising, getting a good sleep is one of the most important things we can do for ourselves. And you’ve heard me say it before, but doing things for ourselves translates into doing things for our family.

Sleep Number® - Be sure Santa Sees You When You're Sleeping

We are not doing our families any favors by not taking care of ourselves, and this includes ensuring we get a good night’s rest. Here are TEN TIPS experts consistently tell us about the keys to sleeping well, plus I’d like to tell you about one more thing that has made a HUGE difference to my wife and me.

  1. Adjust the temperature – A bedroom temperature of 65-67 degrees is considered ideal. Excessively warm (above 75 degrees) or super cold rooms disturb sleep.
  2. Darken your bedroom – Light is one of the body’s most powerful time cues. A dark room is the most conducive for sleep – day or night.
  3. Sleep on a schedule – A regular bed time and wake-up time will strengthen your internal clock and helps establish consistent, regular times of sleep onset.
  4. Exercise regularly – Studies indicate regular, daily exercise deepens sleep, but not right before bed. Give you body time to cool and relax first.
  5. Eat right – Hunger tends to disturb sleep. Therefore, a light snack before bed may help you sleep. No heavy meals right before bed, though.
  6. Limit caffeine intake – Caffeine in the evening disturbs sleep—even in those who feel it does not! (Avoid cola, chocolate, coffee, tea, etc.)
  7. Limit alcohol intake – While alcohol may help people fall asleep more easily, it damages important REM sleep and disrupts sleep when it wears off.
  8. Don’t go to bed angry – Taking work or worry to bed is a sure way to lose sleep. Clear your mind before you get under the covers. Journaling can help.
  9. Mask noises – Sound insulation or adding ambient noise, such as a quiet fan, or white noise machine can help. I use ear plugs, myself.
  10. Buy the right bed – Choose an adjustable bed that contours to your unique body, encourages proper spinal support, and reduces pressure points.

For the sake of yourselves, and your families… not to mention the rest of use who are going to meet your sleep deprived butt on the highway, try to work on getting more sleep (e.g. 8 hours… I know, I know… how can we find time?) and better sleep. And if you can’t get more, then at least ensure what you do get is good sleep.

On that note, let me say a few words about our sponsor. That sounded like one of those 60’s TV shows? But really, pay attention to this, as it may change your life, and I honestly don’t feel I’m overstating this. My wife and I have been sleeping on a new Sleep Number® i8 bed for 2 months and it’s amazing.

Sleep Number® i8 - Be sure Santa Sees You When You're SleepingI don’t know about you, but in the past I hated buying a new bed. I had no clue whether it should be firm or soft (everyone has a different opinion), and on top of it, once you bought it you were stuck with it (hard or soft or whatever) for how long? Years… decades? So here’s why we love our sleep Number® i8 bed:

  • Exclusive SLEEP NUMBER® DualAir technology lets you quietly adjust firmness on BOTH sides of the mattress with a wireless remote featuring a memory button, so you both enjoy ideal comfort. My wife LOVES adjusting her side each night. Me I’ve set my side and it remembers.
  • 13-inch Duvet-style Pillowtop with temperature balancing technology minimizes temperature swings that can disrupt sleep. Remember what I said above.
  • 3-inch exclusive comfort layer contours to you to more naturally support your curves
  • Additional layer of foam offers enhanced comfort and support. We’re talking seriously comfy.
  • Visit www.sleepnumber.com or one of their 400 stores near you for details. My wife loved their store!

But wait there’s more (now I sound like one of those guys you watch selling stuff late at night because you can’t sleep), wouldn’t it be great if your pillow had that same sort of adjustablity the Sleep Number bed provides? You know were I am going. Brand new, just in time for holiday giving: AirFit™ Adjustable Pillows!

I got to try one out for a few weeks before my wife stole it (not kidding), and like their beds, it’s amazing. The pillow adjusts to fit your individual size, shape and sleeping position. It actually has an air-valve that puts you in control for more comfortable sleep. There are several great models.

Sleep Number® AirFit Pillow - Be sure Santa Sees You When You're SleepingBy now you know that I don’t post many sponsored blogs because I’m so darned picky. My reputation is at stake, so I take it very seriously. I was provided a Sleep Number® i8 bed and an AirFit™ Adjustable Pillow with European White Goose Down in order to perform this review. The opinions are solely my own.

How are you sleeping? Any tips?

16 comments

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  1. Elizabeth (@ferg_e)

    Great tips! I had no idea that 65-67 is the ideal temp. Makes perfect sense! Also #8 about letting go and not going to beg angry is so right on. We are so stressed and carry that tension with us to bed… No wonder sleep is hard to find.

    I also find deep breathing helps. If I’m having trouble drifting off – I close my eyes, clear my mind and take full deep breaths filling my chest, my lungs my stomach and then exhaling slowly. A few rounds of this and I find myself letting go of stress and finding relaxation. Sleep usually come shortly after.

    1. Michael Schmid

      Deep breathing sounds like a GREAT suggestion, Elizabeth. I’ll try to remember to do that. Getting upset that one can’t sleep clearly makes it even harder, so focusing on something like that should help on multiple levels. And concerning the temps, my dad always liked to keep it cold, so I kind of grew up with that, but I’ve read that so often now, I realize it’s not just a matter of preference… it really helps. So happy you stopped by. Thank you!

  2. Shannon

    I have a super hard time sleeping when its too warm! So I believe that tip! I love the sleep number bed because it allows me to change my mind about how soft I want the bed…every night! Which I do. Because I heart a remote:)

    1. Michael Schmid

      I’m the same way. The room temperature makes more difference than people think. Also the bed itself matters. I’ve used a Tempur-pedic in the past I can tell you a beds heat handling properties matter, too.

      The Tempur-pedic I had was hot in the summer, and was literally hard when it got cold in the winter. The Sleep Number does a great job of maintaining a moderate temperature, neither too warm or cold.

      I guess you can kinda tell I like it. :)

  3. Lisa A

    Great tips! Also experts advise to not sleep with pets in the room. This one is hard to do.

    1. Michael Schmid

      We were lucky concerning the pets. Our dog never wakes before us and makes nary a yip. Or perhaps I’m so used to him, I don’t notice?

  4. Meryl Neiman

    But what do you do about the snoring spouse???

    1. Michael Schmid

      That’s actually one that you’ll want to address. I’m not a doctor, nor do I play one on TV, but that could be affecting both party’s quality of sleep. I’d recommend an overnight at a sleep clinic to evaluate for apnea, and if it’s even mild, a CPAP machine can do wonders for reducing snoring as well. Insurance, if you’re lucky enough to have it, usually pays for the machine.

  5. Toby Pedersen

    We have been sleeping on Sleep Number beds for several years now. Just recently we bought a new bed, upgraded to a split King with Flex-Fit Plus adjustable base. What can I say — when you are worn slap out, it is heavenly to lie down, elevate your legs and head, set the massage, and feel your muscles relax as you drift off to a deep sleep.
    And now I may have to look at the adjustable pillow too… hmmmm

    1. Michael Schmid

      Wow… if I had a Sleep Number FlexFit PLUS Adjustable Base by Sleep Number (I just looked it up… more here http://bit.ly/vIT2Gk) I’d probably never get out of bed. Oh, and yes, you best get one of their new adjustable pillows. They rock. I need to get another. My wife stole mine. :(

  6. Mayor Gia

    OH MY GOD. I would sell my nonexistent child to be sponsored by sleep number. Like seriously. I even blogged about how bad my mattress was here: http://mayorgia.blogspot.com/2011/12/my-bed-is-piece-of-shizz.html. (Well technically beds first come up here: http://mayorgia.blogspot.com/2011/12/how-to-be-best-boyfriend-ever-part-i.html)

    I can’t even put into words how jelly I am of you.

    1. Michael Schmid

      Your most recent post about your bed is a hoot. Yeah, Sleep Number does make amazing products. I love that my wife and I can adjust our sides separately… and don’t even get me started on their pillows. Amazing. I was honored and quite fortunate to represent their products. Don’t mean to rub it in. The good news is they have lots of stores at which you can check them out and find the right one for you.

  7. Timmi

    I will definitely be checking these out when we decide to purchase a new mattress (after we buy a new house) I have been researching them like crazy since our sleep styles are so different, I need something to help with my back, and he needs something to keep him cool. I was wondering how washable that pillow is (my husband sweats ALOT)

    1. Michael Schmid

      The bed we got (detailed in the post) has special heat handling capabilities. Like your hubby I prefer cool. My wife is really loving the ability to adjust the support. I’d check with your doctor (if you are seeing one about your back) and see what he/she thinks. We love it! Oh, and about your question on the pillow, there is a nice washable cover. 😉

  8. James

    Thanks so much about your tips. I am using CPAP machine for Sleep apnea. I don’t know how to get sleep faster until read your writing.

  9. Joanna

    Airfit pillows is really good, but little expensive :(

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