Learn how to fall asleep fast and have a good night’s rest. 10 Lessons to fall asleep in minutes as taught by a toddler. Get back your sound nights and enjoy your morning well-rested.
I cuddled my tiny baby girl to sleep again, tucked myself into bed, and looked at the alarm clock. It would go off in about 90 minutes again. And again. And again. I cried myself to sleep.
One year before. Turning around and around. My heart seems to beat too fast to fall asleep. While I could hardly keep my eyes open in front of the TV just minutes ago.
In my mind, I draft a response for a Facebook post I have just seen when I was checking my phone while brushing teeth. That reminds me of all the things I had in mind to do for my freelance work this week. I’m behind my plans.
Turning around again.
Can you relate?
Dealing with sleeping issues
All my life I had issues with sleeping. I couldn’t fall asleep for hours after I went to bed. When I was still in the lab, I had to get up anyway, and slept in on the weekend. Or had two-hour naps after work. In my time as a freelancer without a child, I would just sleep in each day.
Yes, I was the living clichée of a person working from home. I couldn’t bring myself to get up before noon. Even though it made me feel miserable and like a failure.
Being pregnant made things even worse as I would wake up in the wee hours and couldn’t go back to sleep. I wondered how to fall asleep again.
Then the baby was there. The little one needed a lot of time before she would sleep some hours in a row. But the worst thing ever was the feeding plan the midwife created for our pre-mature baby girl. She needed nutrients every two hours, 24/7.
I was exhausted beyond words. Once I tried to cheat and expanded the feeding cycle to 2 1/2 hours. Then, the little girl would gain no weight.
That was the worst time ever.
Transition: Lousy to great sleeping routine
But slowly this worst time turned into the best time. The little girl got used to being in this world, grew stronger, and started to teach me about life. And sleep.
I learned a lot from my daughter’s sleep. She turned this compassionate night owl into a happy morning person. And if I don’t spoil the night myself I sleep soundly like a log!
My little one goes to bed with a fixed evening routine. I tuck her in at 7 p.m. and she will fall asleep in less than 10 minutes. Then, she will sleep for approximately 11 hours.
When she doesn’t fall asleep fast she is sick OR – learn from this – she had a nap during the day. Shortly before her third birthday, she didn’t want to take a nap after lunch any longer. Since then she is better off if she doesn’t. One hour naptime usually results in almost 2 hours turning around until she can sleep.
I wanted to learn how to fall asleep fast. She taught me.
10 Lessons for a better night’s rest and how to fall asleep fast – as taught by a toddler
Lesson Number One: Do not sleep during the day. If you are sick, then it is ok. If not and you are just feeling tired, try to have a walk outside and gulp down some water. Or learn how to take a power nap of 30 minutes or less. Set a timer!
Not long ago I decided that my little girl needed to walk more instead of being carried around in her stroller. So, one day I picked her up at playschool and took her with me running errands. Without the stroller. It was a nightmare.
Right after paying at the supermarket, she asked for being carried. She whined about her legs hurting too much to walk. I had a bag of food to carry and she is almost four now. There was no way in the world I could have carried her home even if I wanted to.
The walk home was painful! She was constantly complaining, stopped walking, dragged my jacket, and with our home in sight she decided to sprint to the door … and fell. Lying on the ground she burst into tears and would move no more. I was sweating like crazy in my winter clothes, had to pick her up, carry her and the bag to our house with my last ounce of strength, while she was crying at the top of her lungs.
I should have known better. Afternoons are her least active hours and after a day of playing and romping, she was tired!
Lesson Number Two: Mind your activity cycle. There will be times where you feel fresh and active and times when you need to step back. Your body is adjusted to that and you’d be wise to listen to it and plan accordingly if you want to fall asleep fast at night.
That leads to
Lesson Number Three: Be a night owl or early bird. Not both! You probably have an idea of whether you are a night owl or an early bird. I have been a passionate night owl all my life. I physically felt a spike of energy after 10 p.m. and could do anything on a late evening. One night I didn’t sleep at all to head off to an exam at university in the early morning. And I passed. If you are lucky enough to have enough control over your schedule, live the life of a night owl if that is your natural style. Get some rest in the mornings. Don’t stretch yourself too thin by cutting back on sleeping time.
Lesson Number Four: Transform into an early bird if you have to or want to. It is possible!! It has worked for me and that is proof enough that it will work for anyone. I was convinced that night owlism was cemented in my genes and I could never be anything else. And yet, I envied the people who got up early easily. To me, they were so blessed, they fall asleep faster, and were better equipped for modern life.
Well, I made the transition and I’m an early bird now.
Sunday morning, 6 a.m., and I prepare the coffee maker with a smile on my face.
But it is not as great as I thought. While I enjoy the mornings (that I used to suffer through) I feel my energy level drop to zero in the evening. And then I get whiney and all. So, while I got happy mornings, the happy active evenings are gone and I long for the pillows before it is 9 p.m. and start to freak out if I see 10 p.m. on the clock.
How do you transition into a morning person? It’s simple and hard at the same time. I was educated (and forced to) by my toddler.
My husband has a soul-sucking job that makes him get up at 4:30 a.m. and he needs to catch up on sleep on the weekends. Our toddler girl wakes up at exactly 6 a.m. each day, every day. This makes me get up at 6 a.m. seven days a week. These early mornings are followed by days full of mom activities and no time for naps. See lesson number one!
Lesson Number Five: Get up at the same time each day every day. Sounds easy, right? To be honest, without a little girl waking me up each morning I would never have made it. It took time to get used to an early bird lifestyle. It comes natural now.
Thanks to my little one, I got rid of another toxic habit:
Lesson Number Six: Do not hit “snooze”. Just don’t. I sometimes pressed the snooze button two entire hours long. Up and awake, I felt grumpy and clouded. Get an old-fashioned alarm clock and place it at the other end of the room. My phone alarm has the option that it cannot be turned off before you solve a puzzle. I’m pretty sure there are apps out there that do the same if your cell phone doesn’t have this annoying feature.
Lesson Number Seven: Have something to look forward to after you get up. For me, this is one thing: COFFEE! I love a coffee in the morning, to be exact I love homemade iced caramel frappuccino. And gulping down a tall glass of water. On the weekends this is followed by a walk outside with the little one. – Warning, if you are dealing with sleeping issues, cut back on coffee and have no coffee after noon. Or try to go with no caffeine at all for some time. This might help you to fall asleep fast.
Do something you enjoy in the morning and have a meaningful plan for the day. I won’t promise you that you will jump out of the bed. But it is definitely helpful. Stressful mornings are not! So, think of ways to take the stress out of your mornings. Create a morning routine to start the day off right.
Ever heard that a good morning starts the night before?
Lesson Number Eight: Have a relaxing evening routine. First, this will help you stress less in the morning, for example by loading and running the dishwasher or laying out your and the children’s clothes. Second, it will help you disconnect from a noisy busy world and get into a sound and quiet one. One that supports a good nights rest. I like to keep my bedroom organized, dark, and cool. Think of a hotel room. (Mine is usually not that organized but I try).
The smell of lavender helps you relax. You could take a hot evening shower with lavender soap. Or you make this easy all-natural lavender room freshener by The Frugal Girls! Maybe include a homemade hot chocolate made with dark chocolate into your routine as well. Dark chocolate helps with relieving stress.
Lesson Number Nine: Disconnect early. It is poisoning for me to check Facebook or emails shortly before I go to bed. Responses that are due keep looping in my head, I draft posts and to-do-lists in my mind and just cannot unwind. That is why I try to get offline as early as I can. I also keep a brain dump notebook so that I can jot down ideas and get them off my mind.
Lesson Number Ten: Go to bed at a decent hour. As an early riser, I have to make sure to go to bed early. You need your Zzzz’s and a good night’s rest. I have read a lot about how many hours of sleep a grown-up person needs and there doesn’t seem to be a fixed number. You will have to experiment and find your sweet spot. I like to be a solid eight hours in bed if I can. Find out what works for you.
Bonus lesson: When in bed try some easy stretching yoga poses or stress relaxation. I love this little yoga before bed routine of 5 poses that only takes 8 minutes! On most evenings, I’m lazy enough to do just one single yoga pose of these. I don’t know what it is but it really helps me relax and fall asleep faster. Maybe you try one of these poses each night and see what happens. There are great and easy yoga routines for the morning, too.
This is how to fall asleep fast as I was taught by my toddler girl.
I hope these lessons will help you get into a good sleeping routine for more energy during your busy mom days. Let me know what works for you and share this if you find it helpful.
Good nighty and happy mornings!