Remember the sleepless nights of your child’s infancy: how you mastered sleeping with one ear open? That on-call feeling can persist long after your little chicks have flown the coop. “The brain gets used to waking up at certain hours and you get into a situation biologically where you’re trained to waken at certain times,” says William Kohler of the Florida Sleep Institute.
Throw in hormone fluctuations, possible sleep-related conditions like restless leg syndrome, night-waking children or even genetics, and getting enough sleep can become a nightmare, says Helen Driver, president of the Canadian Sleep Society.
Read on for how to take back the night.
Practise good sleep hygiene “Avoid nicotine, alcohol and caffeine before bed, and sleep in a dark, quiet, cool room,” says Kohler. The ideal sleeping temperature? About 20° C. And keep the TV and cellphone out of the bedroom.
No napping Avoid daytime naps and give yourself 30 minutes to unwind before bed — after you’ve put away the laundry, made lunches and checked backpacks, of course.
Rethink that drink Sipping shiraz to relax? Stop at one glass since alcohol can cause shallower sleep.
Think location Got a snorer sidled up next to you? Break the bad sleep cycle by moving to another bed until you get the snoring corrected.
Break a sweat Kohler recommends 30 minutes of vigorous exercise about five hours before bedtime to help you fall, and stay, asleep.
Cool it! “Sleep is really facilitated by a drop in body temperature,” says Elliott Lee, an Ottawa sleep specialist. Try a hot bath before bed to raise your temperature, followed a cool beverage to drop it.
Mommy yourself Have a light bedtime snack, stick to a nightly routine and try a white noise machine if you have noisy neighbours.
Skip the stimulants Just say no to stimulating habits, such as 3 p.m. coffee, page-turner novels and scary movies. Don’t worry that sex might be too exciting, though: It generally leaves you feeling relaxed.
Outsource it Aromatherapists have long believed lavender can get you to dreamland. Chamomile tea may also help you nod off.
Say uncle Sleep not happening? la“If you can’t get to sleep in 15 minutes, get out of bed, go to another room, do something boring,” advises Kohler. “Then, head back to the bedroom when you’re tired.”
7:00 a.m. Drag your butt out of bed and turn on the shower. Throw on a shower cap to preserve yesterday’s ’do. Giggle at how ridiculous you look in a shower cap.
7:03 Jump in the shower; use a moisturizing body wash (so you can skip the lotion later) with an energizing fragrance to wake you up. Try: Dove Go Fresh Revive with Nutrium Moisture body wash, $7.
7:09 Apply a super-strength anti-perspirant that can take you from rush-hour to tonight without a drop of doubt. Try: Secret Clinical Strength Sport, $10.
7:10 Yank off your shower cap and spray a dry shampoo on the roots of your hair. Gently brush your hair, just enough to tidy it up — but not enough to undo yesterday’s shape. Try: Batiste Dry Shampoo, $8.99. 7:11 Pat on your favourite concealer to disguise the luggage under your eyes. TIP: try a yellow-based corrector if you have dark circles too. Try: Benefit You’re Bluffing, $22.
7:12 Slap on a tinted moisturizer with SPF to face and neck. Try: Marcelle Sheer Tint Fluid Moisturizer SPF 15, $14.
7:13 Use a big brush to sweep bronzer on the highest planes of your face to give you an all-over glow and act as a blush too. Try: Physicians Formula Organic Wear 100% Natural Origin Bronzer, $22.
7:14 Use your finger to apply a neutral no-fuss cream eyeshadow. Try: Rimmel London Stir It Up Trio Cream Eyeshadow, $9.
7:15 Finsh your eyes! Curl your lashes to open them up — or sweep on a lash curling mascara. Try: Clinique High Impact Curling Mascara, $18.
7:19 Brush and whiten your teeth while you freshen your breath. Don’t put on your lipstick yet — it’ll just go all over the coffee cup. Try: Crest Whitening Plus Scope, $3.50.
7:25 Now slick on your lip gloss. This one eliminates coffee breath and gives you a hint of colour! Try: C.O. Bigelow Mentha Organics Sheer Lip Tint, $8, Bath & Body Works.
– Dana Dougherty Reinke