got sleep? 6 tips to getting more of it.

My friend Nancy Rothstein wrote a book called My Daddy Snores and is known as The Sleep Ambassador®.

My Daddy Snores by Nancy Rothstein

I’m pretty sure she wrote this book about me, though.

Perhaps she wrote it about my entire brood.  We all snore.

Even this guy.

snoring toddler

It’s like a really bad rendition of dueling chainsaws.

What to do, what to do?  Call Nancy!  Nancy’s fascination with sleep  began when she was volunteering at her daughter’s Kindergarten class.  After a particularly bad night of sleep due to her husband’s snoring, Nancy was struggling to keep her eyes open during art time at school.  So she wrote her first version of My Daddy Snores on a piece of construction paper. Fast forward- since publication by Scholastic, her book has sold over 385,000 copies, indicative of just how big an issue sleep is for families!

Nancy Rothstein, The Sleep Ambassador

And just like that, Nancy took her U Penn degree in International Relations, her University of Chicago MBA, decades of experience in finance and marketing, and dove head first into the world of sleep.  Her corporate skills served her well and Nancy has since sold 385,000 books worldwide and now consults to Fortune 500 companies on the topic.  The likes of Hyatt are leveraging Nancy’s expertise to provide better sleep experiences for employees and customers.

Think about this really true and weird factoid: the only thing a firm can’t outsource is sleep!  Sorry, China.

In a world of investment bankers and sprinting entrepreneurial ventures, it’s not unusual to hear of people pulling 2-3 all-nighters in a row, often at great risk to their health.

So if the first statement in so many company’s mission statement resembles “People are #1” or “We succeed because of our people,” the irony is that unrealistic expectations of our human resources can be a detriment to our businesses, creativity, and ultimate success.

But don’t get me wrong.  I’m certainly not suggesting that people shouldn’t work hard.  The lackadaisical attitudes of many of our 20-somethings make me bonkers.  As a young college grad I worked in the music biz and was always in the office before my boss and left with her to see shows until the wee hours, only to beat her into the office the next day.  Kids, listen up!  Smart, dedicated effort opens doors!

Anyway, I’ll step off my soap box now.  🙂  I guess it’s a sign of old age.

Cold hard facts about sleep:

  • Sleep is as important as food and oxygen.
  • Sleep deprivation is tied to obesity.  When you’re tired, your ghrelin (an amino acid hunger-stimulating peptide and hormone) increases telling your body it’s hungry, and your lectin (carbohydrate-binding proteins) decreases, so your brain is not clearly signaled when you are satiated.
  • Blue light from TVs, iPads, iPhones and tablets signals your brain to suppress melatonin.  Melatonin is your body’s hormone that helps you sleep.  If you just can’t put technology to bed, Nancy recommends wearing blue light blocking glasses. Not all are created equal. So try the Live Eyewear Cocoons in hazelnut, which block 98% of the blue light.  The hazelnut version are those which block the blue light.
  • Consistent bed times lead to better cognitive performance due to brain plasticity and circadian rhythm.
  • Kids’ ADD and ADHD are being diagnosed more frequently when core issues may be sleep-related.

So, how many hours do we need to sleep?

  • newborn: up to 18 hours
  • 1-12 months: 14-18 hours
  • 1-3 years: 12-15 hours
  • 5-12 years: 9-11 hours
  • adolescents: 9-10 hours
  • adults: 7-9 hours

Ok, now the good stuff.  How can YOU and your kids get a better night’s sleep?  I was amazed to learn that our addiction to our technology was causing a lot of missed zzzzz’s.  IMPROVE your sleep habits with these tips:

  • Hit the sack at a consistent time each night and awaken at the same time each morning, including weekends.
  • An hour before going to bed, stop looking at all your technology.  Read a book.  Talk on the phone (just don’t look at the phone!).  Talk to your spouse (WHAT?!).
  • IF you wake up in the middle of the night, don’t look at the clock.  We’ve all done it.  If it’s before 3:30, you think “Oh, I’ve got a few more hours!”  If it’s after 3:30, you’re hosed and can’t get back to sleep.
  • 30 minute (or less) power naps are the most restful for adults.  If you nap longer than that, you enter too deep of a sleep and will wake up more groggy than when you started.  Some companies are starting to add napping rooms for employees to rejuvenate.  Brilliant.  I’m just envisioning the Google campus with dark, napping areas.  However, Nancy says that these companies should provide basic sleep education and sleep strategy training, which may lead to less need for naps and napping rooms.
  • Have a set routine for kids’ bedtime.  Read to them.  It calms them.  It’s also a very sweet and very honest time for the kids. They divulge their secrets and concerns right before bed.  Cherish this time with them and give them space to feel safe to tell you anything and help them process their day.  Work on problem solving skills with them based on what happened on the playground that day.  An added bonus is that recent research shows that a consistent bedtime can lead to improvement in cognitive development for children.  Go brain cells, go!
  • Talk to your internist if you continue to have sleep problems.  Apnea, depression, and hypertension are also underlying factors that could be affecting your sleep.

Rest well, friends!



About meesh

Meesh has a passion for people, creative projects, and technology. She enjoys painting furniture back to life, gardening, playing with her kids, and connecting people.