I think we can all agree that “sleep like a baby” is a silly expression. Babies sleep for a couple of hours at a time tops. Babies usually wet themselves in their sleep. Babies need to sleep on the backs (or whatever position is fashionable this week). NO ONE wants to sleep like that!
What you really want is to sleep like a Marquardt. Me and my family have been amazing and irritating spouses, relatives and roommates for decades with our ability to sleep through things like sirens, thunderstorms, marching bands and very excited pets. We may, quite possibly, sleep through the end of the world and just wake up in Heaven the next morning wondering where we are.
Granted, my family’s amazing sleeping ability is simply God-given. However, there are tricks for getting to sleep that I as the lightest sleeper in my clan have picked up over the years that anyone can use to improve their own slumbertime.
#1 Decide you can sleep. Some people say “Oh, I can’t sleep unless it’s perfectly dark and it’s 75 degrees in the room and the northwest window is open 3 inches and I’m wearing my favorite undies” or something similar. Get that out of your head immediately. Think of the worse night’s sleep you can remember. Did you actually stay awake the entire night? Of course not, you eventually fell asleep. So yes, you CAN sleep wherever you are.
#2 Redirect your brain. This is the biggest complaint I hear- people can’t sleep because they can’t shut their brains off. I can’t shut my brain off either, but I have trained my brain to go where I want it to go when I decide it’s sleepy time. Where that road should go is going to be different for everyone, but it should absolutely not involve anything related to work or anything you are worried about. I usually either write short stories in my head or imagine meeting someone I’ve always wanted to meet in a completely fantastic setting- if it’s too real I keep myself awake. Basically I’m daydreaming (nightdreaming?) and it works like a charm.
#3 Make noise your friend. Once you master #2 this one is a piece of cake.
We don’t always get the perfect quiet we want to sleep. Having a fan or white noise machine is very helpful- put the fan on the floor if you don’t want the breeze on you. But what if their are noises that fan doesn’t cover up or you aren’t at home? What then? Instead of annoyances, you think of the sounds another way. They are either constant, or they come and go so you frame them accordingly.
Constant noises are the easiest to deal with. They become white/ background noise very quickly if you stop stewing over them and just accept they are there.
Noises that come and go are best imagined as waves. Lots of people use the “crashing wave” sound on their noise machines already anyway. Loud talking/ laughing, traffic, even construction sounds ebb and flow in much the same way waves on the shore do. Once you hear it for yourself you’ll be amazed you never noticed it before.
I will warm you, these mind tricks do take time to master. Don’t get frustrated or decide I’m off my rocker if they don’t work right away- practice makes perfect. I can’t promise you the sleep of the Marquardt clan, but I can promise you less time staring at your alarm clock or ceiling once you get the hang of them.
Now if you’ll excuse me, it’s time for my nap.