I’ve always said that sleeping is the thing I’m best at. “If only I could figure out how to monetize this and make it my job!” I’d joke.
I never thought much about things like sleep hygiene or whether I was getting too much blue light from screen time before bed. I was one of those people who could fall (and stay) asleep pretty easily. In fact, if I had any sleep issues at all, it was that left to my own devices, I could sleep a bit too much.
I was made for leisurely wake-ups and breakfast in bed. It’s amazing to me that I was ever able to dress and feed myself, do a 45-minute commute, and still make it into the office by 9 a.m. (OK, 9:30 a.m.)
Then I became a parent.
Everyone tells you how sleep is the first thing you lose when you have a baby. I can’t tell you how many times I heard “get your sleep in now,” as if it were possible to bank all of those hours and use them as credit in the months to come. It wasn’t that I didn’t believe any of those other well-meaning parents, but like most experiences in parenting, you don’t really get it until you’re in it.
I didn’t know that the night before I went into labor was the last time I’d sleep a full, uninterrupted 8 hours for many, many months to come. I couldn’t imagine the type of bone-deep fatigue that would come with waking every few hours (or some nights, every 45 minutes) for weeks and months on end.
As new parents, my husband and I had to learn how to function on a sleep deficit. I kept reminding myself that it would get better, this part was only temporary. And things did get better — babies are amazing that way — but it still felt like we were rolling the dice every night.
My experience may be specific to the challenges of new parenthood, but research shows that a surprising number of Americans aren’t getting enough sleep.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, about
In a survey of Healthline readers, 3 out of 5 reported that they get only light sleep, and more than half experience pain or discomfort that interferes with their ability to fall or stay asleep.
My fellow tired folks, Healthline Sleep was made for us.
We know that sleep is crucial — in fact, about 50% of Healthline readers say quality sleep is an important part of their overall health — but few people actually get the amount of rest they need each night.
When we look at our own audience data in the context of the world around us, it’s not surprising why so many people are feeling restless. We’ve all been living under a state of heightened stress for more than two years as a result of a pandemic, rising inequality, political unrest, grief, and loss.
But even prior to the pandemic, our culture has long been dominated by the narrative of “hustle now, rest later.” Our feeds seemed to be full of articles about successful people who start their day before dawn, or tips on how to squeeze the most out of your waking hours, or catchy slogans like “You have the same 24 hours in your day as Beyoncé.”
Rest was a reward, something we might indulge in only once we’d accomplished enough — otherwise, restfulness was akin to laziness.
Good sleep may seem like a luxury, but the cost of sleep deprivation is much higher. Over time, consistently poor sleep can weaken your immune system, affect your memory and balance, and even increase your risk for type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
It’s time to change the narrative. In many ways, the events of the last few years have forced a cultural shift in the way we think about our health and well-being, including sleep and the concept of rest in general.
More and more people are intentionally prioritizing rest and good sleep as necessary acts of self-care. We’re waking up to the fact that rest itself is productive — when we get the sleep we need at night and take breaks throughout the day, it helps our bodies and minds reset and regenerate. It helps our cells repair, aids in faster healing, balances hormones, and improves mental well-being.
Good sleep helps us to be better versions of ourselves and gives us more energy to invest in the things and the people we love.
We launched Healthline Sleep to help you get the rest you need and deserve.
We know that sleep isn’t just something that happens at night when your head hits the pillow. Good sleep is a holistic collection of daily healthy habits and practices that support your overall health and set you up for better, more restful nights.
It’s about nurturing your mental health and understanding how your favorite foods impact your sleep. It’s about mindful movement and knowing how your sleep needs change as you age. It’s about creating the perfect nighttime routine and learning how to take the best nap of your life (because naps are productive, too).
But most of all, it’s about finding solutions that feel accessible, practical, and tailored to you. Solutions that make sense for your unique lifestyle, sleep concerns, wellness goals, and even your work schedule.
My own sleep journey hit an inflection point earlier this year when, after an especially tearful night (me and baby both), my spouse and I decided to quit winging it. We made a plan and started implementing more structure when it came to both daytime and nighttime sleep. As parents, that meant we also had to reassess our own sleep hygiene and make some changes. As a new mom, I realized that I needed to better prioritize my well-being. To do that, I had to learn how to ask for help.
Eventually, we worked with a sleep coach who helped us identify a handful of daily habits, nightly rituals, and even clutch baby gear (thank you, blackout curtains!) that have made all the difference. We’re still taking it one day (and night) at a time, but we’re getting there and feeling much, much better in the process.
We hope that Healthline Sleep can be a coach of sorts for you, too.
Our team of medical experts, sleep specialists, and writers have curated the ultimate guide to all things sleep. Whether you want evidence-based tips to figure out your ideal sleep schedule, find the best gear to create your own personal sleep sanctuary, find a specialist to help address a sleep disorder, or just how to make it through daylight saving time, we’ve got you.
Healthline Sleep is your partner on the path to getting the sleep of your dreams. Here’s to better nights ahead.
Erin Edge, Editor in Chief