6 Childhood Sleep Remedies That Work For Adults & Will Make You Feel So, So Nostalgic

6 Childhood Sleep Remedies That Work For Adults & Will Make You Feel So, So Nostalgic

February 11, 2019

Isn’t it ironic that something as essential to your wellbeing as sleep can be so hard to navigate? When you’re a baby, all you do is sleep, and when you’re a child, naps are carved into your daily routine. But then you grow up, life happens and becomes inevitably chaotic as you attempt to juggle class schedules with work schedules, on top of every other adult responsibility. Sleep might be a natural thing your body craves, but it doesn’t always come as naturally as it did when you were a kid. Luckily, a handful of childhood sleep remedies work for adults, so you might want to take notes.

During an exclusive interview with Elite Daily, Jennifer Cooper, chief scientific officer for the customizable sleep aid supplement brand, RestoreZ tells me that, oftentimes, sleep is something you and I assume to be simple: You hop into bed, close your eyes, and sleep should just come, right? But the truth is, Cooper clarifies, your body starts preparing for sleep hours before it anticipates your bedtime, so the preparations you take to wind down an hour or so before bed are critical.

The problem is, sometimes, despite your best efforts to fall, there are still plenty of nights where sleep doesn’t come easily. So what are your options? Experts suggest putting down your smartphones, trying to be a little more consistent in your sleep-awake times, and, overall, just going back to basics. In other words, lean into the sleep remedies that worked so well during your childhood. Granted, those days are long gone, so your memory might be a little fuzzy so, if it is, here are a few fool-proof childhood sleep remedies experts in the space swear by.

Drinking A Warm Glass Of Milk Can Help You Fall, And Stay, Asleep

Think about it: Babies drink a bottle before they go to sleep, so it only makes sense why parents would serve their child a warm glass of milk before bed in the years to follow. But what about when you’re all grown up? Does a warm glass of milk help adults lull themselves to sleep at night, or should they stick to mugs of herbal tea, instead?

Well, for starters, herbal teas, especially chamomile, are great to sip on before bed, but according to executive editor of Mattress Advisor, Alesandra Woolley, this age-old trick also has some logic to it.

"Milk contains tryptophan, an amino acid that helps us feel sleepy. It’s the same amino acid that’s found in turkey that makes it easy to drift off after Thanksgiving dinner," Woolley tells Elite Daily over email. Drinking a warm glass of milk before bed "can help relax and calm your body, making it easier to fall asleep," she explains, adding that because milk is also a good source of calcium, a glass before bed can also help you stay asleep throughout the night.

Swaying Motions Prepare Your Brain For Sleep

It may feel a little awkward at first, but Woolley tells me rocking or swaying motions can actually help your brain simmer down and prepare for sleep in the same way it did when you were a child. "It’s the reason why some people fall asleep so easily on a long car ride or by swinging on a hammock," she says.

However, Dr. Roy Raymann, a resident sleep expert and vice president of sleep science and scientific affairs at SleepScore Labs says science still isn’t clear on why motion and sleep are so closely linked. "There is some evidence that the output of the vestibular system in your inner ear (the organ that detects position and movement) is processed by areas of your brain involved in sleep regulation," he tells Elite Daily. In other words, that gentle rocking sensation seems to encourage the sleep enhancing state of the brain. Pretty cool, right?

Mind you, rocking yourself to sleep doesn’t necessarily imply that you sway to side to side while lying in bed (though Woolley tells Elite Daily this is one option). You can also replicate this motion by rocking in a rocking chair close to bedtime, Woolley says, or, if you’re feeling fancy, Mark Russel designed the Rocking Bed, a bed that mimics the same gentle swaying motion you’d experience on a cruise ship for 20 minutes to help you fall asleep.

Reading Before Bed Will Tire Your Eyes And Mind

I know myself, and I always keep a book beside my bed so that as soon as I’m buried under the covers, I can grab either my hardcover or paperback (the blue light emitted from e-readers can actually interfere with your sleep cycle, FYI), and read a few pages before drifting off to sleep. For me, this trick works every time, and according to Raymann, it’s the perfect solution to distracting an otherwise busy mind.

"Reading or being read to is a great way to prevent other thoughts getting between you and your sleep," because racing or repetitive thoughts and worries "are a key factor of not being able to doze off," he tells Elite Daily. Ergo, distracting yourself with a juicy storyline is a great remedy, just as long as the plot is a little more lighthearted and easy going.

And for all you audio book lovers out there, Raymann says listening in can be just as effective. However, she does suggest setting a sleep timer for about 30 minutes or so. This is just enough time to calm your mind and encourage sleep, plus you won’t fall asleep with your battery still running.

Tucking Yourself Into Bed Can Promote Feelings of Warmth And Security

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Love feeling snug as a bug in a rug? Woolley says tucking yourself into bed, in the same way you would swaddle a baby, can make you feel warm and secure, which, I don’t know about you, but I greatly appreciate after a long, chaotic day.

"Adults can replicate the feeling of being swaddled by tucking in sheets and blankets closely around your body, or using a weighted blanket," Woolley suggests. "Weighted blankets can help relieve stress and anxiety and calm your nerves to better prepare your mind and body for sleep."

Listening To Soothing Music Can Ease You To Sleep

Similar to the idea of being read to at night, listening to soothing music can also calm your mind from distracting thoughts, essentially acting as a lullaby and making it easier to fall asleep.

"Meta-analysis has shown that music that helps you relax also helps improving your sleep quality," Raymann tells Elite Daily. Songs with slow tempos are highly recommended for this, as Raymann points out loud sudden noises, screaming or aggressive lyrics you’d find in genres like metal and punk, will hype you up.

"Adults can also find the same type of comfort and calmness in white noise machines or soothing sounds like rain drops or other subtle sounds found in nature," Woolley adds. "These sounds help train our brains to relax and be more prepared for deep, restful sleep."

Exercising During The Day Can Help You Feel Tired At Night

Sometimes parents will rely on the "wearing out" method, in which they’ll literally just let their child play and exert all their physical energy so that by bedtime, they’re exhausted and more than ready to call it a day. According to Raymann, adhering to a regular exercise routine, or even just making it a point to be more active during the day (taking the stairs over the elevator, for instance) will make you feel tired throughout the day, making it easier to fall asleep at night.

That being said, while exercise is great, exercising late in the day is actually counterintuitive if you’re trying to fall asleep at a certain time. "[Working out too close to bedtime] raises your body temperature, gets your heart rate going and stimulates your brain to stay away," Woolley explains. "If you prefer to work out in the evening, you should do it at least two hours before getting into bed to help your mind and body wind down for sleep."

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