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People who say they slept like a baby, usually dont have one!

Dad sleeping peacefullyMost dads need about 8½ to more than 9 hours of sleep each night.  But about 1 in 4 dads has trouble sleeping.  Lack of sleep can affect everything from our emotions to how well we focus on juggling all the things we need to do as a parent.  It can affect our mood and increase our chances of getting sick.

How do we get to sleep?  Here are a few ideas:

  1. Be active during the day. You’ve probably noticed how much running around our kids do — and how soundly they sleep. Let’s take a tip from them and try to get at least 60 minutes of exercise a day.  Physical activity can decrease stress and help people feel more relaxed.  Just don’t work out too close to bedtime because exercise can wake you up before it slows you down.
  2. Avoid alcohol. Lots of people think that alcohol will make them relaxed and drowsy, but that’s not the case.  Drugs and alcohol disrupt sleep, increasing a person’s chance of waking up in the middle of the night.
  3. Say goodnight to electronics. Experts recommend using the bedroom for sleep only.  If you can’t make your bedroom a tech-free zone, at least shut everything down an hour or more before lights out.  Nothing wakes us up quicker than a buzz or a ping of your mobile phone.
  4. Keep a sleep routine. Going to bed at the same time every night helps the body expect sleep. Creating a set bedtime routine can enhance this relaxation effect.  So unwind every night by reading, listening to music, playing Sudoku, or doing anything else that relaxes you.
  5. Expect a good night’s sleep. Stress can trigger insomnia,  so the more you think about not sleeping, the greater the risk you’ll lie awake staring at the ceiling.  Instead of worrying that you won’t sleep, remind yourself that you can.  Say, “Tonight, I will sleep well” several times during the day.  It can also help to practice breathing exercises or gentle stretches before bed.
  6. Be talked into sleep through guided meditation. This is a powerful method of finding sleep. Simply find a guided meditation track that you like and listen to it when your ready for sleep.  We spoke recently on this topic here.