It’s important to recognize that sleep is a family issue and not just an individual issue. There are so many ways in which individuals in the family can affect each other’s sleep. Partners affect each other, children affect parents and parents are directly responsible for shaping their children’s sleep patterns.
If one member doesn’t get enough sleep, the disruption that lasts throughout the day could also impact not only their ability to function, but grouchy and negative behavior could infiltrate through to the rest of the family. Additionally, a lack of sleep has been said to be more harmful to mental health than excessive social media usage, which known to have a high amount of negative effects.
But how do you ensure that everyone is getting a good night’s sleep? Sleep is a dynamic thing and how much you need entirely depends on your individual needs, including your age, level of activity and how you organize your day. In addition to this, each member of a family potentially faces a multitude of challenges when attempting to get a good night’s sleep: technology, busy schedules, as well as excitement and stress that may occur from work, social, family or school-related events.
Improving How Your Family Sleeps
Here are some tips that, if followed, will increase your family’s chances of a healthy sleep life:
Stick To A Routine
The best sleep patterns are the regular ones. Your body clock tells your body when it will be able to rest and, when this is disrupted, so is your well-being. Try to go to sleep and wake up at the same time each day, even on weekends! You’ll be surprised at how effective this simple change will be at creating a positive impact on your energy and happiness.
Look At Your Diet
Your diet is one of many factors that can affect your sleep and by making a few small changes, you’ll be sleeping better for it. For foods that help you sleep well, look at increasing your fruit intake, as well as nuts, fatty fish, whole grains, oats and more. And, while some foods are likely to disrupt your sleep, you may not need to remove them from your diet. Simply consider eating or drinking them over an hour before you intend to sleep instead!
Recognize The Different Needs And Challenges For Different Ages
The amount of sleep that children need changes a lot as they grow. From babies to toddlers to adolescence, the challenges faced are all very different since their bodies require different amounts of sleep and their daily life will also change dramatically. For younger children, establishing a routine is the main challenge, while through adolescence factors such as technology and school stresses are likely to interfere with a good night’s rest.
Although difficult, try to be as consistent as possible when setting your children’s bedtime. Perseverance is key and when the routine is set, you’ll be thankful. As stated by the National Sleep Foundation, enforcing rules can result in at least 1.1 hours more sleep than if there were no rules.
For your older children, it’s advisable to remove all technology from their bedrooms to ensure there are no distractions present from their much-needed sleep. The light from screens also tricks the brain into thinking it is still daytime, which is why it is easy to keep yourself awake while scrolling.
Exercising regularly will do wonders for your sleep, as it works to regulate your body clock and also drains your energy, encouraging the body to sleep well later. However, try not to work out too late, since the stimulation can easily keep you from falling asleep.
Focus On Yourself
Parents are the ultimate role models when it comes to their children’s sleep. If you ensure that you’re making sleep a priority and have a consistent, regular sleep routine then you’ll already be on the right path to ensuring that your child gets the best night’s sleep possible.
What Does Your Bedroom Look Like?
Keep your bedroom clean, cool and dark to give yourself the chance of the best possible night’s sleep. Your body is very sensitive to external factors and simply creating an environment that is quiet and free from strong light will help it to know that it’s time to fall asleep.
Did we miss anything? What are your tips for improving how your family sleeps?
*This post is part of a collaborative effort.