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How Did You Sleep Last Night?

October 9, 2012 9:38 am
Written by: Odile Fredericks

When people ask me what my favorite hobby is, I reply without hesitation, "sleeping." If you're a parent, you'll understand why. Between homework worries, school projects gone awry, kids with fever, teething, monsters under the bed and other issues that pop up at night needing attention, it's something difficult for parents to get some good, old fashioned shut-eye.

But I've recently discovered that I'm sabotaging my own somnolent pleasure, and I suspect many parents might be doing so, as well. What does your routine look like after the kids are tucked in bed? I head to the fridge to indulge in my favorite snack—salsa and chips—and yet am surprised to wake up tired the next morning from a string of jalapeno-induced nightmares that would keep Freud busy for a week or two.

We parents tend to be vigilant about what we give our kids to eat—especially at night—but not so careful about what we put in our own stomachs. So what should we be eating before we nod off? Madelyn Fernstrom, a certified nutrition specialist and TODAY Health editor, says eating a snack before bedtime can be relaxing for some people as long as it is consumed no more than half an hour before sleeping.  And as far as snacks go, you won't be surprised to learn that she cautions against spicy food but recommends warm milk simply because it's soothing. The best snacks before bed are comforting, warm and about150 to 200 calories, she says. Besides what you eat—or avoid eating—isn't the whole story. You'll get more restful sleep, if you work in some comforting downtime, to relax your mind and body, before you fall asleep. Isn't that the feeling we try to give for our kids when we read them a story before bed?

If you're busy cooking and cleaning late into the night, you could be shortchanging your health. According to a study from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 40 million Americans get less than the recommended minimum amount of six hours of sleep a night. Not getting enough sleep is among the top five ways women cut corners and hurt their health. See the other four mistakes moms commonly make, and resolve to make your health a priority.

Also,consider these 10 baby steps toward better sleep for everyone in the family.



When people ask me what my favorite hobby is, I reply without hesitation, "sleeping." If you're a parent, you'll understand why. Between homework worries, school projects gone awry, kids with fever, teething, monsters under the bed and other issues that pop up at night needing attention, it's something difficult for parents to get some good, old fashioned shut-eye.

But I've recently discovered that I'm sabotaging my own somnolent pleasure, and I suspect many parents might be doing so, as well. What does your routine look like after the kids are tucked in bed? I head to the fridge to indulge in my favorite snack—salsa and chips—and yet am surprised to wake up tired the next morning from a string of jalapeno-induced nightmares that would keep Freud busy for a week or two.

We parents tend to be vigilant about what we give our kids to eat—especially at night—but not so careful about what we put in our own stomachs. So what should we be eating before we nod off? Madelyn Fernstrom, a certified nutrition specialist and TODAY Health editor, says eating a snack before bedtime can be relaxing for some people as long as it is consumed no more than half an hour before sleeping.  And as far as snacks go, you won't be surprised to learn that she cautions against spicy food but recommends warm milk simply because it's soothing. The best snacks before bed are comforting, warm and about150 to 200 calories, she says. Besides what you eat—or avoid eating—isn't the whole story. You'll get more restful sleep, if you work in some comforting downtime, to relax your mind and body, before you fall asleep. Isn't that the feeling we try to give for our kids when we read them a story before bed?

If you're busy cooking and cleaning late into the night, you could be shortchanging your health. According to a study from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 40 million Americans get less than the recommended minimum amount of six hours of sleep a night. Not getting enough sleep is among the top five ways women cut corners and hurt their health. See the other four mistakes moms commonly make, and resolve to make your health a priority.

Also,consider these 10 baby steps toward better sleep for everyone in the family.


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