So last month, Sara and I got an invitation from Procter and Gamble to visit their headquarters and learn about the science of sleep. Now…you might think this wouldn’t be of interest to me because I am a food blogger. It was actually of great interest to me because I am very interested in sleep, specifically how I can get more of it. And if it took me staying in a hotel room by myself to learn more about sleep, I was all for it. Unfortunately, Sara couldn’t go because she and her family had other plans (and it became clear how unfortunate it was that she wasn’t there as we explored out hotel–more about that later. We would have had a lot of fun together.)
So I headed to my local airport where I learned my flight was delayed. Which is not surprising, because I tend to attract bad luck and bad weather whenever I travel (like that time I went to Hawaii and the first hurricane in 20 years headed straight for me.)
I finally made it to Cincinnati…
We stayed in the Museum 21C Hotel. Yes, that is a nose in my shower. There were other body parts in my shower, too, but this blog is pretty g-rated, so I’m going to have to leave it at the nose.
This guy was hanging above my bed:
And then there was this dude wearing a pair of tighty-whities on the Do Not Disturb sign. Don’t worry, I documented all of it for posterity, so when my kids think I never do anything cool and I embarrass them when I yell their names in public places and sing loudly to the chorus of “Gonna Get Over You” by Sara Bareilles every dang time, I can prove that I’m super hip and edgy.
This was the party place. Yes, that is a bed in the bottom right-hand corner. No, I didn’t lie down in it. More on that, too.
and talked and laughed. There were yellow penguins everywhere.
There was this Cincinnati artist who would paint your dreams.
I didn’t want to scare him with my most recent vivid dream about me walking down a steep hill at a mountain resort in a pair of high heels with a bag of brown sugar, and at the bottom of the hill, Phillip Seymour Hoffman was offering to help me if I’d buy him a Mountain Dew, but I got the feeling he wanted more than a Mountain Dew, so I declined. And then I woke up to the news that Phillip Seymour Hoffman had died.
After the party, Carrian and I visited in our Snuggies (seriously, we got purple Snuggies that smelled like lavender) and then after she went back to her room, I rounded up a few penguins and put them outside her door.
As a mom, I always wonder if my kids are getting enough sleep (I know I’m not getting enough sleep). She shared an infographic that can be found here that kind of encapsulated all of my favorite sleep information into one place, but these are a few of the things I really took to heart that I learned from her:
- Newborns need 12-18 hours of sleep
- Infants (3-11 months old) need 14-15 hours of sleep
- Toddlers (1-3) need 12-14 hours of sleep
- Preschoolers (3-5) need 11-13 hours of sleep
- School-aged children (5-10) need 10-11 hours of sleep
- Teens (11-17) need 8.5-9.5 hours of sleep
- Adults need 7-9 hours
Other interesting facts:
- Most people are most alert during the mid-morning and evening (like after dinner) hours.
- You’re sleepiest right after lunch and right before 6:00 am. Unfortunately, unless you’re under the age of four, you’re probably awake during one of those times. And if you have a kid under the age of four, you’re probably awake for both of them.
- If you want to take a nap, you should make naps less than 20 minutes (um…I don’t think I’ve ever laid down for a nap and fallen asleep in less than 20 minutes) or around 90 minutes; that’s so your body can make it through one sleep cycle. This explains why I feel nauseous and stabby when someone wakes me up from a nap early.
These were her tips for improving your sleep:
- Establish a routine. Go to bed and wake up at about the same time every night, even on weekends.
- Create a regular, relaxing bedtime routine. Listen to relaxing music, take a hot bath, read a book, unplug from electronics, dim your lights.
- Create a sleep-conducive environment. Bedrooms should be on the cool side (but you can keep warm with blankets). Keep it dark, free from distractions, paint it relaxing colors, and use white noise machines and/or sleep friendly scents like lavender, vanilla, and honey to help you relax.
We also got some of these…
and smelled some of these (heavenly…seriously.)
and Carrian and I hopped onto the display bed because we’re wild like that.
Then we got to tour the P&G archives. It was such a fun tour down memory lane, both my own memories and those that came from Mad Men. I swear that in my house growing up, we had every container of Vicks Vaporub that ever existed between 1962 and, well, whenever I didn’t live there anymore.
They even gave us a couple to take apart.
After that, things started to wrap up and we all headed home. At the airport, I had dinner…
then on the plane, I finished a book, drank a Diet Coke, and listened to Coldplay’s “‘Til Kingdom Come” while the sun was setting.
When I came home, I really had a newfound determination to make sleep a priority. I was always a morning person until I had kids, then I became a night owl because that was MY time, and then a morning person because my kids were up. So I came to the conclusion that part of my “me” time was getting more sleep. So I’m trying to get to bed by 10:30 and up by 5:30-6:00 and I’m not gonna lie, I feel so much better. I’m nicer to my kids, I’m more patient, and I’m less stressed and more productive throughout the day.
This was such a fun and educational trip that let me connect with friends oldish and newer and inspired me to make some positive changes in my life!
This trip was sponsored by P&G, but I have not been compensated in any other way and all the opinions are my own. If the photos were not taken with my iPhone, they were taken by Jason Donovan Hall.