Not getting the rest you need? Before you look for help in books, blogs or products, consider what works for little kids.Dr. Hasan Merali, a pediatric emergency medicine physician and child health researcher, says for better sleep, borrow the bedtime routine of a toddler. He suggests this easy three-step process to get you the satisfying sleep you deserve.
Start by setting a bedtime- A consistent bedtime is critical, according to Dr. Merali. Research shows regular bedtimes help improve toddler sleep and the same is true for adults and you should even stick to it on weekends. Once your bedtime is set, you can create your three-step routine around it. A study from Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia finds that toddlers who followed these three-steps for two weeks not only fell asleep faster, they woke up fewer times during the night.
- The first step: Take a hot bath- A different study, this one on adults, finds that taking a hot bath one to two hours before a planned bedtime can significantly shorten the time it takes to go to sleep. Even if the soak only lasts 10 minutes.
- Step two: Apply lotion- Ideally, this would be accompanied by a massage, as massage therapy has been shown to improve sleep in children and adults. But since it’s not practical for you to expect a massage every single night, do your best to give yourself a little massage as you put on the lotion.
- Step three: Enjoy a relaxing activity- And finally, end your routine with a quiet activity. Research shows that language-based activities like reading and storytelling are associated with longer sleep duration in kids. And in adults, even 30 minutes of reading has been found to decrease stress, lower blood pressure and heart rate.