*Originally published February, 23, 2022

I believe that most people have suffered from the challenges of falling asleep or going back to sleep at one time or another.

I also believe that many parents suffer from this on another level.

There are 10 times the worries, stress, aggravation and responsibility when you are a parent!

And all of that can send you into a mental overdrive that seems to be triggered by darkness and silence.

As parents who want to have the power and strength to change the world, we need all of the rest that we can get!

My Sleepless Experience!

One thing that I have learned (since becoming a parent) is that the only time that I really have to actually think about everything on my plate is at night, once the kids fall asleep.

They keep me so preoccupied throughout the day, that I cannot really focus on much until there is that final bit of silence in the house.

It wasn’t long before I realized that the reason that I could not sleep at night was because it was the only time that my mind could scream, “Hey! Finally! Over here! You have some things that need attention! Like, the bills that are coming due and the grocery list. Oh, and hey! Don’t forget to ask your uncle about that leaky pipe under the sink!”

Since that was the only time that I had to really focus on all of the other activities that I had to manage, outside of caring for the kids, I would be wound up like a top!

3am and I was ready to run to the store, vacuum the whole house or clean the oven!

At 5am I recycled through everything that I should’ve said to that doggone rude woman at the checkout line at the grocery store 3 years ago!


3 years ago!?

Why the hell was I losing sleep over some lady who I will never see again from 3 years ago?!

That was it.

When I was averaging 2 hours of sleep per night because my brain wouldn’t shut off, I knew that there was something that I had to do!

The Sleep Plan!

I am not someone to reach for anything from the medicine cabinet in order to aid with sleep.

I will not take medication any more than I absolutely have to.

Heck! I don’t even take anything for a headache!

So, I devised a plan…

It wasn’t going to be just one strategy to help me fall asleep, I was going to have a variety of tricks so that I did not stress if one trick didn’t work.

I can usually rely on, at least, one of these so that I do not lay there and stress even more about why the one strategy that I try isn’t working.

I want to share these with you so that you have a whole bag of ideas on some natural ways to fall asleep fast!

1. Understand 1st Sleep/2nd Sleep

There is research that shows that people – way back when – used to go through 2 sleep cycles per night.

They didn’t sleep no 8 hours straight, as has been recommended in this day and age!

They slept for a little bit, got up, did a few things and then went back to sleep for the 2nd round.

When I read about this, I suddenly stopped stressing about the whole 8 hours of sleep per night ordeal.

First off, when you are laying there trying to fall asleep and keep checking the clock and realize that there is no way that you are getting 8 hours of sleep per night, that starts to stress you even more!

I would have thoughts of, “Oh my god. I’m not getting 8 hours. I’m going to die a young woman because of sleep deprivation!”

As soon as I knew about this, so called, biphasic sleep, I immediately felt better.

Knowing is Half the Battle!

Not to say that sleeping in two phases versus one is better or worse, it is just that knowing that this used to be a trend, put me at ease.

It was another option, I suppose.

I encourage you to read this article here that puts the idea of 1st Sleep/2nd Sleep into perspective.

The writer experienced the same relief that I did when I stumbled upon this ancient nighttime routine.

Since then, if I happen to wake up at 2am, I no longer stress it.

I do something and then try to go back to sleep.

I have yet to figure out if I actually want to get into this routine, as I have just more recently learned about biphasic sleep, but just knowing about it has been half the battle!

*Always speak with your doctor about making changes to your sleep patterns or anything else that may affect your health prior to trying!

2. Assess Your Ingredients for Proper Sleep

What could possibly be keeping you from getting a good night’s sleep?

Is your Mattress old and causing you serious back pain in the middle of the night?

Do you have a crappy pillow that causes your neck to ache?

Is there too much outside light coming in from your window, even though you have the blinds closed?

Is it too noisy or too quiet in the room?

Do you have too much technology flowing through your place of rest that is keeping you up at night?

Are you eating too late at night and that acid indigestion is keeping you up?

Is your partner hogging all of the blankets, leaving you cold at night?

Take a serious look at your sleeping arrangements and make some adjustments, as needed.

My Assessment:

Following my own sleep assessment, I discovered that it was just too quiet in the room and that I sleep better with some background noise.

I tried leaving the TV on, but that ended up being stressful for me because I felt a need to shut it off in the middle of the night. I don’t know why….it just caused me stress…

The noise machines that I searched for didn’t appeal to me.

When I realized that I had an air purifier that made a gentle humming sound, I knew that that was just the background noise that I needed!

Whatever it is that you feel that you need to help you sleep better, it is worth the investment, the time and the energy that you may need to make that adjustment!

Get a new mattress!

Buy a few good pillows!

Get sheets that are really soft and that you will be excited about crawling into!

Sleep is important!

If you are going to invest in anything, make sure it is better quality sleep!

3. Use the Ol’ Fashion Pen/Paper by Your Bedside Idea!

I keep a pen/paper under my pillow at night since I do not have a nightstand by my bed.

Why don’t I have a nightstand by my bedside like most other normal people do?

I don’t know…


Anyways, I keep it under my pillow.

When I wake up and I cannot sleep, I either write down all of the thoughts that are running through my head (such as the crap I should’ve said to that woman in the checkout line 3 years ago) or I will write down the things that I want to remember about my children, such as the little things that they said or did that day.

That way, I feel as though my awake state is purposeful instead of wasted time.

Writing and thinking will also tire me more, so long as I keep the lights dim.

Make sure you only use as much light as you absolutely need in order to see to write!

Too much light will trick your body into thinking that it is daytime!

Write as much as it takes in order to clear your mind and make you feel better or tire you enough that you feel that you can fall asleep.

Then, stick that pad of paper and pen back under your pillow (Ok, or on your nightstand!) and then tuck yourself back in and try to go back to sleep.

4. Still Can’t Sleep? Try Reading/Doing a Puzzle Book!

Reading something boring (such as a technical textbook) may just be the cure you need to get right back to sleep!

Try not to read something too interesting or something that sucks you in because then you may get your adrenaline going and not be able to get back to sleep anytime soon.

For instance, you don’t want to read a really compelling action/mystery novel that is going to keep your reading until the very end!

Make sure you go for that old college medical textbook that is sitting on your bookshelf or the owner’s manual for your vehicle!

You can even try a challenging puzzle book, such as crosswords or brain teasers! You can find some here.

These may exhaust your brain enough to get to sleep!

Again, make certain that you keep lights dim while working on these so that you don’t wake your body too much.

5. What?! You’re Still Not Sleeping? Get Up!

Okay, you’ve tried all of the above and you are just too much awake still.


Don’t panic.

Whatever you do….don’t panic!

If you panic, you work yourself up and that will make it even harder to get back to sleep!

Do you have some laundry out on the couch that needs folded?

How about some bills that need written out?

Did you forget to floss your teeth?

Keep the lights dim but get up and go do those things!



Don’t do anything that is going to wake your body too much, such as vacuuming or cooking.

You may be surprised to see that writing out that bill to the gas company or folding those towels burns off that bit of energy that is keeping you from a desperate slumber!

6. Oh, Come On! You’ve Got to be Getting Some Shuteye by Now!

No, I’m just joking!

I don’t want to stress you out more!

It is totally okay if you have tried the above things and they are just not working for you.

Everyone has to find their own cup of tea!


Speaking of which….

You could try a calming, relaxing drink that will help you to sleep better!

Maybe some warm milk or chamomile tea? 

I found that I was not eating enough during the day, so I would wake up hungry in the middle of the night.

Although I do not recommend eating a handful of cookies at 4am and then going back to sleep, it is not out of the question.

It actually works for me!

Well, not cookies, but I do seek out a handful of cheese crackers or some saltines.

Just something enough to settle my belly down so that I can go back to sleep.

The best alternative to this is to make certain that you eat well throughout the day and enough later in the day so that you do not wake up hungry in the middle of the night.

Much of my issue with this is that I am breastfeeding, so my body is always seeking extra calories!

If you are a breastfeeding mama, you probably understand where I am coming from.

Either way, if you’re finding that you are waking up hungry, try to make adjustments so that that is no longer a reason why your sleep is being disrupted.

7. Pray

When all else fails…I pray.

I say The Lord’s Prayer (Our Father) over and over and over again or some Hail Mary’s over and over and over again until I put myself into a coma!

This is my last resort.

And it usually does work, so long as I can focus on it.

If my mind is all over the place, I go back to the beginning and try to write out my thoughts onto paper.

Sometimes, I will start saying some Hail Mary’s and I find that I am saying it, but not focusing on it.

“Hail Mary, full of grace, …” (Shit! I forgot to respond to that email!)

Clearly, this isn’t going to work!

You have to be able to fully, 100% focus on what you are praying.

Mind you, it doesn’t have to be a prayer.

If you are not much of a religious person, you can always try repeating a saying, a verse or an inspirational quote that resonates well with you.

Don’t stress about how many times you have to say it either before you fall asleep.

Don’t be like, “Oh my god! I’ve said this 93 times in a row already and I am not asleep yet!”

Don’t do that to yourself!

This is no contest.

You may only have to say it 5 times before it puts you to sleep, or you may have to say it 955 times before it puts you to sleep!

The goal is, simply, that the repetition of saying something over and over again to yourself puts you in a relaxed state enough to get back to sleep.


If you still cannot sleep after trying all of the above, you may need to do some more research or speak with your doctor.

Sometimes, we need some help and that is okay.

Just because I, myself, am too stubborn to rely on sleep medications, does not mean that you have to be a stubborn mule, too!

If your lack of sleep truly cannot seem to be resolved, then speak with your doctor.

Your doctor may be able to prescribe you something to help or perhaps, investigate some other reasons why you may not be able to sleep.

He/she may be able to do a sleep study to determine the cause of your nighttime woes.

Regardless, it is important to follow up and to get the help that you need.

There is no shame, ever, in asking for assistance!

Here’s to a Good Night’s Rest!

I am hoping that these suggestions help you to get the rest that you so desperately need.

Remember not to panic and to keep an open mind about the entire notion of sleep.

There really are no rules and it is best to assess your space so that it fits your needs.

Make certain that you seek help if you need it and don’t be ashamed.

As I tell new parents: don’t worry…I can guarantee that that beautiful baby that is up all night screaming and crying will, eventually, fall asleep.

And you will too!

We cannot go too long without sleep and our bodies will naturally, eventually, make us get there.

It is finding that special routine that helps to get the rest that we need in a more appropriate way that can be so challenging.

But I am confident that you will figure it out!

I raise my glass to you, my friend, and toast to a good night’s sleep for us all!

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