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5 Secrets to a Mediocre Night’s Sleep

It happens every single time.  I see a teaser on a magazine cover and practically burst with excitement, as if this one particular article has the answers.  I can hardly stand the anticipation as I get the kids bathed, storied, and settled into sleep.  I run downstairs, flop on the sofa, and tear open the magazine, only to find that I’ve fallen for magazine trickery once again.

This month Real Simple Magazine promised to provide me with “the secret to a great night’s sleep” (finally, some strategies to erase these dark circles that have come to define me!).  I should have known better.  When you’re a parent to two very young kids, “a great night’s sleep” isn’t even on the radar.  I like to aim for good most nights, but I will settle for mediocre on any given night.

As it turns out, the people at Real Simple would have you believe that all you really need is a good pillow.  It’s simple.  Choose the right pillow for you and you will wake up refreshed, cheerful, and without any circles under your eyes.


Need I say more?

This “article”, if that is indeed what we are calling it, got me thinking.  What is the secret to a great night’s sleep?  How can I get rid of these circles for good?  I’m not sure I have the right answers for you, but I’m most certain that I have the right answers for me.

A husband with better nighttime hearing:  Nobody loves my husband more than me.  That’s a fact.  But if I had a dollar for every time that he looked at me in sheer disbelief when I mumbled something about the 300 hundred wake-ups (ok, maybe that’s a slight exaggeration, but you get the point) that night…let’s just say that I would be sitting on my own private island sipping rum drinks crafted by my own personal bartender.  It’s ironic, really.  The guy who can pick out a single errant note during a concert played to a sold-out arena of 20,000 screaming fans somehow manages to sleep through most of the calls for attention that occur during the night.  So yes, a husband with better nighttime hearing would really help my cause.

A clone:  I know, I know, everybody wants a clone to run errands and handle pick-ups and drop-offs, particularly when schedules conflict (which, apparently, is all of the time once your kids reach a certain age).  The truth is that I’m way too much of a control freak to let a clone handle my day-to-day affairs.  I would worry that she might linger a little too long at the Coffee Bean and be late for pick-up or forget an essential item on the grocery list, which would obviously ruin dinner.  I am happy, however, to send in clone Katie at night.  I’m sure that she is more than capable of handling things like sips of water, getting kids cozy, and providing a few words of comfort.  This is her specialty; of that I’m quite certain.

Hangover-free wine:  Believe me, I know.  Wine is not a sleep aid…blah, blah, blah.  Honestly, I only enjoy a glass of wine (or 3) if my husband is home for dinner, which is pretty much once a week if I’m lucky.  But I do find that glass of wine to be relaxing at the end of a long day/week.  I’m careful not to over-indulge because I need to be bright and chipper for the roosters (I mean kids) come sunrise and because I might not actually be that young anymore and I might be a bit of a lightweight.  Wine induced headaches are so not my thing.  But if I could drink a couple of glasses of tasty cabernet without any repercussions?  That I would do.  Most nights.

A butler:  I don’t know about you, but when I finally get the kids to bed the last thing I want to do is face the kitchen sink.  Instead I do things like dive into the black hole that we call Pinterest, Tweet, look at every single picture posted on Facebook that day, read magazines that infuriate me, or text-stalk my friend Jenny (why she continues to put up with me is a mystery). Then…I make my way to the dishes, the toys, the never-ending task of sweeping under the kitchen table, the big rig full of laundry in need of folding, etc.  By the time I sit down to relax, it’s already past my bedtime.  If I had a butler, however, I would not waste so much time.  I wouldn’t have to stare at my laptop for an hour while avoiding the above-mentioned chores because the butler would have finished them for me.  I could go straight to relaxing and, as a result, get to bed much earlier.  Also?  He probably would have made me a delicious, healthy dinner as well.  That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

My own room at the Four Seasons:  Let’s face it:  Sometimes what you really need is a super cozy bed in a very dark and silent room.  That option doesn’t exist in my house.  My very own room at the Four Seasons, even just one night a week, could really make a dent in these dark circles.  Just one key please…I won’t be inviting any guests.

What sleep secrets will you share?

Katie is a Child & Adolescent Psychotherapist/Parenting Expert in Los Angeles, CA.  She has a five year old daughter, three year old son, and a rock and roll husband who makes her life complete. Katie has a parenting advice blog, Practical Parenting, and can be found on Twitter.  She also writes for moonfrye.

About Katie

Katie is a Child & Adolescent Psychotherapist/Parenting Expert in Los Angeles, CA. She has a five year old daughter, three year old son, and a rock and roll husband who makes her life complete. Katie has a parenting advice blog, Practical Parenting, an infertility support blog, Clomid and Cabernet and can be found on Twitter. She also writes for moonfrye.


  1. Oh Katie, I loved this! I think I need to take up your suggestions!
    Cheers for a good night sleep!

  2. It is good know I’m not the only one! I agree with you on all points!
    Sleep is oh so elusive! And now that I work on top of the two boys I get even less!

  3. Oh Katie — I can TOTALLY relate with the A husband with better nighttime hearing paragraph. Last night I was up 3 times an HOUR with our son and dearest hubby didn’t hear him once!
    I’d love to join you at the Four Seasons :)

  4. Oh my, yes this! See you at the Seasons? xo

  5. The husband part is the worst! They just don’t get it (unless you Jab them in the ribs a couple times)
    As for work just started back part time – I really don’t know how moms can work full time ! Hats off to them! I work mornings most days 4:30-10:30am and nap with my boys!!!! Of course working at Starbucks helps. Wine helps to :-)

  6. Jessika Welcome says:

    I highly recommend a sleep mask, an air filter, and earplugs (which don’t block out calls of real distress, but definitely mute the ambient sounds of little ones mumbling in their sleep).

  7. Drink a full glass of water after your glass of wine, and those headaches will disappear.

  8. Hangover free wine? I think you’re on to something. Let me know when you find it!!!!

  9. Great post! Oh! I could use some more sleep for sure!

  10. Julia Stone says:

    I know plenty of ways to not manage to sleep. As for how to sleep, I have yet to solve that one for me personally. My husband has to leave for work at 6am, so I’m kind of glad he doesn’t get up during all those night time necessities. However, I get up at 6am with him. And then get all four kids (4, 5, 7, 7) up and ready for school. And send two off to public school while two stay home for school. And 2-5 doctor/therapy appointments any given week. And helping my mom with housework and shopping almost every day. And doing my house work. And making lunch. And dinner… So yeah, maybe I should start waking him up? lol


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