Help is available if the parents have sleep problems. The same thing happens at my home every night. My husband falls asleep effortlessly, sometimes while we are watching TV in bed and most of the time we are still wearing his glasses. Relaxation ritual in which you read beloved books again, calm down and increase the white noise. And even after that, it can still be hours before it goes down.
Even if it’s not her fault that she sleeps well, it pisses me off. How dare you snore quietly and happily while I whisper under the covers like a dog looking for its comfortable place! My daughters who share the room have the same dynamic: the greatest difficulty falling asleep and it drives them crazy that the youngest passes out immediately.
One of the great joys of being a columnist is that I can call an expert on such family issues and seek advice; this advice can be carried over to other mothers and fathers as well, as I keep hearing from readers that sleep is a problem for them. So I reached out to Shelby Harris, an assistant professor of neurology and psychiatry at the Albert Einstein School of Medicine, who specializes in behavioral medicine for sleep, common parental sleep problems, and how to fix them. (Dr. Harris also has an extremely helpful Instagram account, @sleepdocshelby.) The answers below are in a paragraph from Mr. Shelby’s conversation with me.
Interview with Assistant Professor of Neurology
Shelby Harris: Many parents I work with tell me, “Even though my baby slept through the night, I stopped sleeping. Lots of mothers, some fathers, but most of the mothers are almost connected to “Hear what I call” sleeping threats “. For example, if your baby cries or comes to pick them up, they will continue to have trouble sleeping even after the threat has subsided because they are so conditioned to listen.
With these patients, we are going to do cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) for insomnia: Part of that therapy is to stimulate thoughts like, “Well, if I fall asleep, something might happen” and look at real evidence of what happens when you sleep. Do bad things happen?
It’s really about C.B.T. to train your body to sleep more soundly and not wake up late in the middle of the night; many people wake up in the middle of the night and are alone on the phone. I am a big fan of meditating at night. Even if you do it for two minutes, you will recover and it can help you in the middle of the night, you can learn to recognize when your brain is activated and can focus on the present moment.
If you’re a little bit sensitive to sleep and someone next to you is snoring, all you have to do is focus on that because it’s a potential sleep disorder, one of those sleep threats I was talking about.
Having an honest conversation with your partner is the first step. If the partner snores to the point where it becomes uncomfortable, this is a discussion of Maybe You should be assessed. Maybe you need to see if something happens because sleep insomnia is very common; for men especially. Sometimes I advise people to sleep separately until their snoring stops. Start in bed together, watch TV, play games, do what you want. But when it’s time to go to bed, sleeping apart can be liberating.
Sure, that’s something you can do, but if the snoring is loud enough to be heard through headphones, that person will likely need investigation.
There is a hereditary component. For some people, it can be more of a widespread anxiety problem. Some families may have more than one in eight owl genes.
Then there is what do you talk to your children about? Many parents who suffer from insomnia put a lot of emphasis on sleep because they talk a lot about it and sometimes their children internalize a lot as well.
We need to put aside the idea that sleeping together will have a healthy marriage. Sometimes it’s healthier to say, “You know what? We both have very different sleep styles.”When you have a partner who is unwilling to do anything about it, it’s more of a relationship problem that needs to be addressed.
If their snoring is not very loud, some people may need noise-canceling hearing aids or a white noise device. Always say that you should constantly try to give yourself at least half an hour to relax your brain. Because many parents run, run, run. If you don’t have time to relax and unwind for half an hour, good luck with a good night’s sleep. I wrote in my book a few years ago about postponing bedtime in revenge, but I called it “overwhelmed mother.” Many of the parents I work with just want a few hours to themselves to do what they want, and I understand that. I will do it myself.
But if you can fall asleep with an hour of routine, you will be more efficient in your daily activities. Find time to watch TV, pillows, do whatever you want, but don’t try to sacrifice sleep regularly as you will have more problems in the long run.
10 Tips to Fight Insomnia
If you suffer from insomnia, there are many things you can do to change your behavior, lifestyle, and help you fall asleep. Here are some tips to help you overcome insomnia.
1. Get up at the same time each day.
It’s tempting to sleep late on the weekend, especially if you’ve slept little during the week. However, if you suffer from insomnia, you should get up at the same time each day to train your body to wake up at a constant time.
2. Eliminate alcohol and stimulants.
The effects of caffeine can last for hours, possibly up to 24 hours, so the chances are good that it will interfere with sleep. Not only caffeine can cause difficulty falling asleep causing frequent awakenings. Alcohol can be sedative in the first few hours after consumption but then cause frequent awakenings and nighttime sleep that act as stimulants, such as decongestants or asthma inhalers. Ask your doctor when it is best to take them to minimize the effects on sleep.
3. Limit naps.
Napping seems like a great way to make up for lost sleep, but it’s not always the case. It is important to establish and maintain a regular sleep pattern and to train yourself to associate sleep with signals like darkness and a constant bedtime the quality of sleep.
4. Exercise regularly.
Regular exercise can improve the quality and duration of sleep. However, exercise immediately before bed can have a stimulating effect on the body and should be avoided. Try to stop exercising at least three hours before retirement.
5. Limit Activities in Bed
The bed is for sleeping, and that’s it, if you suffer from insomnia, don’t balance your checkbook, study, or phone; in bed or even in the bedroom, and avoid watching TV or listening to the radio. All of these activities can increase alertness and make it difficult to fall asleep.
6. Do not eat or drink immediately before bed.
A late evening meal or a snack before bed can activate your digestive system and keep you awake. If you have gastro esophageal reflux disease (GERD) or heartburn, it is also more important not to eat and drink right before bed as it is the most important Disease that can worsen the symptoms. Also, drinking plenty of fluids before bed can overload the bladder and require frequent toilet visits, disrupting sleep.
7. Ensure a comfortable sleeping environment.
Temperature, lighting, and sounds need to be controlled so that the room is suitable for falling asleep (and staying asleep). Your bed should be comfortable and if you have a pet. The housekeeper who sleeps with you in the room, consider letting the animal sleep elsewhere if it tends to be noisy at night.
8. Stop worrying before you go to bed.
When you find yourself in bed thinking about tomorrow, take some time, perhaps after dinner, to review your day and make plans for the next day. It also makes sense to make a list of work activities for the next day, for example, before leaving work. This removes at least some concerns.
9. Reduce stress.
There are several relaxation therapies and stress-relief methods that you can try to help relax your mind and body before bed. For example, progressive muscle relaxation (maybe with tapes), deep breathing techniques, images, meditation, and biofeedback.
10. Consider attending cognitive therapy.
Cognitive therapy helps some people with insomnia identify and correct inappropriate thoughts and beliefs that may contribute to insomnia. In addition, cognitive therapy can provide you with the right information about sleep standards and age-related sleep changes, among other things, and help you set sensible sleep goals.