Improving sleep quality naturally

A Dad’s Ultimate Guide to Improving Sleep Quality (Naturally)

A Dad’s Ultimate Guide to Improving Sleep Quality (Naturally)


As a Dad, you’re probably used to running low on sleep, especially if you have younger children. 

If you’re like me, you find yourself dozing off whenever you get the chance, just waiting for the kid’s to finally go to bed. The worst part is that no matter how tired you are, falling asleep at night is still challenging.

It’s no way to live.

In this ultimate guide, we’ll explore natural techniques and tips to help you say goodbye to restless nights and wake up feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.

Create a Consistent Sleep Routine

One of the best ways to improve your sleep quality naturally is to create a sleep routine. Going to bed and waking up at the same time every day helps regulate your body’s internal clock and promotes better sleep. Many Dads wake up at the same time, but don’t go to bed at the same time consistently. Recent studies have shown that sleep routine is even more important than sleep length. 

“A study, examining more than 8,000 people in Italy during COVID-19 lockdowns, found that while most people spent more time in bed, they reported lower sleep quality.”

How Important is Sticking to a Sleep Schedule, Really? |

The general consensus is that you should plan to go to bed and wake up at the same time. If you’re a Dad, it’s hard to control the time you wake up, but often we CAN control when we go to bed – even if it cuts into our Netflix, or gaming time.

How to Create a Consistent Sleep Routine

Set a Regular Bedtime and Wake-Up Time: Choose a bedtime that allows for sufficient sleep and a wake-up time that aligns with your daily schedule. Aim to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, including weekends.

Gradually Adjust Your Sleep Schedule: If your current sleep schedule is significantly different from your desired routine, make gradual adjustments. Move your bedtime and wake-up time by 15 minutes each day until you reach your target schedule.

Create a Bedtime Routine: Develop a relaxing routine to signal to your body that it’s time to wind down. Engage in activities that help you relax, such as reading a book, taking a warm bath, practicing relaxation techniques, or listening to calming music.

Limit Stimulating Activities Before Bed: Avoid engaging in stimulating activities close to bedtime, such as intense exercise, using electronic devices, or watching stimulating TV shows. The blue light emitted by screens can interfere with your body’s production of sleep-inducing hormones.

Create a Sleep-Inducing Environment: Make your bedroom conducive to sleep by creating a comfortable and relaxing environment. Ensure the room is cool, dark, and quiet. Consider using blackout curtains, earplugs, or white noise machines to block out any disturbances.

Avoid Napping Too Close to Bedtime: If you take daytime naps, make sure they are early in the day and limited to 20-30 minutes. Napping too close to your bedtime can make it harder to fall asleep at night.

Be Consistent on Weekends: While it can be tempting to sleep in or stay up late on weekends, try to maintain your regular sleep schedule as closely as possible. Consistency throughout the week helps regulate your body’s internal clock.

Be Patient and Persistent: It may take some time for your body to adjust to a new sleep routine. Be patient and consistent in following your schedule, and over time, your body will adapt to the routine, making it easier to fall asleep and wake up at the desired times.

Sleeping and Diet

You can make small diet changes around bed time to get a better night sleep. The foods and beverages you consume throughout the day can affect your sleep quality. Here are some tips to optimize your diet for a good night’s sleep:

  • Avoid Heavy Meals Before Bed: Consuming large, heavy meals close to bedtime can cause discomfort and indigestion, making it harder to fall asleep. Try to finish your dinner at least two to three hours before going to bed.
  • Be Careful with The Spice: Spicy or acidic foods, such as chili peppers, hot sauce, citrus fruits, and tomato-based products, can cause heartburn and disrupt sleep. If you’re prone to acid reflux or heartburn, it’s best to avoid these foods, especially in the evening.
  • Cool it on the Caffeine (Obviously): Caffeine is a powerful stimulant that can interfere with sleep. Avoid or minimize consumption of caffeine-containing beverages like coffee, tea, energy drinks, and sodas, particularly in the afternoon and evening. Remember, caffeine can stay in your system for several hours, so be mindful of hidden sources like chocolate or certain medications.
  • Don’t drink too much of anything: While it’s essential to stay hydrated throughout the day, it’s advisable to reduce your liquid intake, particularly close to bedtime, to avoid disruptive trips to the bathroom during the night. However, don’t neglect your hydration needs during the day as dehydration can also negatively impact sleep.

Eat Sleep-Promoting Foods

Certain foods contain nutrients that can support better sleep. Consider adding the following to your evening routine:

  • Bananas: They are rich in magnesium, potassium, and tryptophan, which promote relaxation and the production of sleep-regulating hormones.
  • Almonds: These nuts are a good source of magnesium, which can help relax muscles and promote better sleep.
  • Chamomile Tea: This herbal tea has calming properties and is often used as a natural remedy for insomnia and promoting relaxation.
  • Warm Milk: Milk contains tryptophan, an amino acid that can increase serotonin levels, promoting a sense of calm and drowsiness.
  • Be Mindful of Alcohol Consumption: While alcohol may initially make you feel sleepy, it can disrupt your sleep patterns later in the night. It can interfere with your REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, leading to poorer sleep quality. If you choose to consume alcohol, do so in moderation and finish drinking well before bedtime.
  • Avoid Excessive Sugar and Processed Foods: Foods high in sugar and processed carbohydrates can cause blood sugar spikes and crashes, leading to disturbances in sleep. Opt for whole foods, including fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains, which provide a more balanced and sustained source of energy.
  • Consider Magnesium-Rich Foods: Magnesium is a mineral that plays a crucial role in promoting relaxation and quality sleep. Include foods rich in magnesium, such as spinach, kale, avocados, nuts, and seeds, in your diet.

Everyone’s body reacts differently to specific foods, so it’s essential to pay attention to how different foods affect your sleep. Keep a food diary to track any patterns or correlations between your diet and sleep quality. Making informed choices about your diet can positively impact your sleep and overall well-being.

Limit Exposure to Blue Light Before Bed

Basically, get off your phone. Blue light, emitted by electronic devices such as smartphones, tablets, and computers, can interfere with your body’s natural sleep-wake cycle. This suppresses the production of melatonin, a hormone that helps regulate sleep. Avoid using electronic devices at least an hour before you plan to sleep. If you still need to be scrolling Instagram, use blue light filters or apps that reduce the amount of blue light emitted. Additionally, you can switch to reading a book or engaging in a relaxing activity that doesn’t involve screens to help prepare your mind and body for sleep.

Leave the Office (Mentally)

Work never ends, especially if you work remotely. You might feel compelled to get a head-start on work, but once you turn on work-mode, it might be hard to turn it off. So no email, slack messages, or spreadsheets if you can help it. Instead, set clear expectations with yourself and your employer on when you’ll be available.

Try a Natural Sleep Aid

If you’re still having trouble falling asleep, I recommend trying an over-the-counter, natural sleep aid.


Melatonin is a hormone naturally produced by the pineal gland in the brain. It regulates the sleep-wake cycle and is commonly used as a sleep aid. Melatonin supplements are available over-the-counter.

Active Ingredients: Melatonin

How it Works: Melatonin supplements help regulate sleep patterns by signaling to the body that it’s time to sleep. It can be particularly effective for individuals with disrupted sleep-wake cycles, such as those experiencing jet lag or shift work.

Valerian Root

Valerian root is an herb that has been used for centuries as a sleep aid and to promote relaxation.

Active Ingredients: Valerenic acid, valepotriates

How it Works: Valerian root may help increase levels of a neurotransmitter called gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain, which has a calming effect. It may also help reduce anxiety and promote better sleep quality.


Chamomile is a well-known herb often consumed as a tea. It is known for its calming properties and is commonly used as a sleep aid.

Active Ingredients: Apigenin, bisabolol

How it Works: Chamomile contains compounds that may bind to certain receptors in the brain, promoting relaxation and reducing anxiety. It can help induce a sense of calm and prepare the body for sleep.

L-theanine is an amino acid found in green tea. It is known for its relaxing properties and is sometimes used as a sleep supplement.

Active Ingredient: L-theanine

How it Works: L-theanine promotes relaxation by increasing the production of GABA and serotonin, neurotransmitters associated with feelings of calmness and well-being. It may help reduce anxiety and improve sleep quality.


Magnesium is a mineral that plays a crucial role in promoting relaxation and quality sleep.

Active Ingredient: Magnesium

How it Works: Magnesium helps regulate neurotransmitters involved in sleep and relaxation, such as GABA. It may also help relax muscles, allowing for a more peaceful sleep.

Try Taping your Mouth

Yes. I’m serious. Recent studies have illuminated the effectiveness of taping your mouth shut to improve your sleep. Mouth tape is a special adhesive tape designed to gently seal your mouth while you sleep. It works by promoting nasal breathing, allowing you to bypass the common habit of mouth breathing during the night.

By keeping your mouth closed, mouth tape encourages the natural flow of air through your nose, facilitating numerous positive changes that can lead to improved sleep quality and help reduce snoring, promote better breathing, and even help with sleep apnea.

Tell your partner about your plan

This is an often-overlooked aspect of changing your sleep habits. Many times, night-time is a time to get a break from the kids and spend time with your partner. Deciding to go to bed early, might be off-putting to them. Let them know you’ve been feeling really tired, and in order to be more present around them and around the kids you think it’d be beneficial to go to bed earlier. Establishing a bed-time for adults will help you prioritize the time you do spend together.

Ashley Broadwater, a contributor at Well + Good, wrote a great article on how to keep a healthy relationship with your partner, despite different sleep schedules. These include communicating your feelings and needs, prioritizing quality time outside of sleep, and brainstorming how to address sleep disturbances.


Dad’s – you need to get some sleep. I hope this guide helps show you there are small steps you can take to start getting more sleep tonight.

Grant O

Grant O

Grant is a busy father of 3 who is eternally tired

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