Secrets To a Perfect Night’s Sleep

Secrets To a Perfect Night’s Sleep

Here’s how to get the shut-eye you need to be your best self.

By: Marina Delio

A full night’s sleep is essential to our health and happiness, but getting enough is not always easy. Being kept awake by children or our own racing minds is exhausting. But by following a few simple secrets, you and your family can get back on track to a restful night.

Establish Nightly Rituals
With work, school and home activities, today’s families lead very busy lives. It can be hard to slow down enough for our bodies and minds to transition from active daytime mode to sleep mode. Give yourself and your family at least an hour or two to make that transition smooth.

Children especially benefit from a consistent routine. Each step of the routine allows your body to relax. Enjoying an evening cup of chamomiletea or milk, taking a lavender bubble bath, dressing for bed, doing yoga or stretching, getting a soothing massage, snuggling with your kids, sharing favourite parts of the day and reading books in bed are a few unwinding ritual ideas.

Don’t Discount Daytime Habits
A good night’s sleep isn’t just about what we do during the night! Diet and exercise can play an important role in our ability to sleep. If you find that you or your children are just not tired at bedtime, it may be helpful to get more exercise during the day.

Swimming or playing at the park works wonders for expending kids’ excess energy, and the same goes for adults. If you’ve ever had a day of skiing or hiking, you know just how good the bed feels after a solid bout of activity. A healthy diet will help you go to bed feeling well, rather than bloated, so skip heavy evening snacking.


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Avoid afternoon and evening caffeine and sugar as much as possible so that you have a calm mind. It’s also important to make sure kids are not overtired — it can actually make sleep more difficult. When small children are overtired, they can become so uncomfortable they have meltdowns and tantrums.

Check everything off your to-do list well before bedtime. Then make a deal with yourself: Don’t worry about work or other obligations until the next day. Those nagging thoughts will only keep you from the sleep you need to be productive tomorrow.

Disconnect from screens. As difficult as it can be to put down the smartphone, looking at phone, tablet, TV and computer screens keeps our minds buzzing. Try unplugging an hour before bedtime and instead adopt some of the nighttime rituals mentioned above.

Prepare a Peaceful Space
Make sure bedrooms are dark and quiet enough. Some people find that a white noise machine helps them relax and sleep. Putting one in your kids’ room can also help get them into bed a little quicker. Kids come up with all sorts of requests at night to delay bedtime. If your kids frequently ask for a glass of water or to use the bathroom at bedtime, leave water on their nightstands and ask them to use the bathroom before getting tucked in.

Teach Children to Sleep Independently
Don’t get stuck sleeping on the kids’ room floor! Learning to fall asleep is an important lesson everyone must learn. Once kids learn to fall asleep without a parent’s rocking or snuggling, they are able to put themselves back to sleep when they wake at night without calling for mom or dad.

These small fixes will all add up to make a big difference — so you can enjoy the benefits of a great night’s sleep.

Marina is a mom of two and author of the Yummy Mummy Kitchen blog and cookbook. Marina loves cooking, healthy living, crafts, and gardening. She lives in Santa Barbara, Calif., with her husband, little girls, cat and five chickens.

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