How to Sleep Train Yourself
Learn to snooze properly
You’ve counted sheep. You’ve nixed caffeine. You’ve banned before-bed Candy Crush time. But you’re still spending hours tossing and turning. A radical idea: Maybe you need to learn to sleep properly. Here’s how to teach yourself, using the methods of infant sleep training (pacifier optional).
Use Shushing White Noise
For a baby, this mimics the sound of the womb. For an adult, it may just tune out the sound of your neighbor’s death metal or remind you of a calming forest stream you once visited. Either way, most folks report that a white-noise machine set on a moderate volume helps them get to a state of restfulness.
Get Blackout Shades
Unlike a 4-week-old, your circadian rhythms are fairly balanced. But that doesn’t mean you can’t be distracted by a fluorescent street lamp or 6 a.m. sun beaming through your window. Get yourself some good blackout shades or a sleep mask and behold as drifting off becomes just a bit easier.
OK, fine—you don’t actually have to wrap yourself up in a giant muslin cloth all burrito-style. (But how cute would that be?) Just make sure your PJs and bedding are super warm and cozy, creating a sense of safety and serenity.
Establish a bedtime routine
For your baby, it’s milk, bath, picture books, lullabies. For you, maybe it’s chamomile tea, shower, NPR, New Yorker. Whatever your ritual may be, stick to it religiously and your body will come to cue itself toward bedtime.
When all else fails, cry it out
Yep, we’re going all Ferber on you. The next time you hop into bed and can’t for the life of you fall asleep, resist the urge to turn on the light and start tapping away on your iPad. Lie there in the dark and try to take your mind off your insomnia (we like visualizing all the rooms of our childhood home). After a few nights, the exercise should get easier and easier. And chances are, you’ll be sleeping through the night in no time. (Your parents would be so proud.)