Getting Our Little Ones The Best ZZZs- May 31st, 2018

5 Ways to Have the Entire Family Happily Snoozin’

It’s not a groundbreaking concept that better sleep leads to better health. Whether you’re 15 months or 15 years old, the most important vitamin for healthy growth is our sleep. Sleep is not only essential for our children but also critical for the entire family. Restorative rest greatly impacts our physical and mental wellbeing, from weight control to focus, memory retention and countless other benefits. Of course, getting those precious hours of rest can often feel like more of a challenge than it’s worth, we also often sacrifice our sleep to make up for lost time. In a quest to achieve better sleep for the entire family, consider the following tips for a well rested household.

Some factors that may interfere with your sleep are sometimes out of our control, you can certainly adopt simple and mindful habits that encourage better ZZZs:

 

  1. Develop A Sleep Routine

Depending on your age, the recommended amount of sleep will range and change. Too much sleep can be as harmful to our health as too little. Familiarize yourself with the recommended of hours in relation to your age. The younger we are, the more sleep we require, and this is increasingly important for children as their bodies rapidly grow. Humans inherently desire patterns and familiarity. Going to bed and waking up around the same time (including weekends and vacations) is healthy and makes sleep feel like a habit rather than a task/challenge. In the time surrounding bedtime, revisit calming and familiar routines that onset the feeling of tiredness, this may be a warm bath, a few chapters of a book, or your nightly bedtime story. For children and adults alike consistency reinforces the body’s sleep-wake cycle making sleep easy in the long haul.

 

  1. Mindful Diet

Don’t go to bed starved or stuffed. Avoid heavy meals within a couple of hours before bed. It is no secret that what we ingest can have serious impacts on our health. It’s more commonly overlooked that particular foods can hinder our ability to fall asleep and stay asleep, caffeine and sugar are the obvious culprits. Explore and familiarize yourself with some of the lesser known foods that may be stealing from your sleep. There are also several foods that increase your ability to doze away. Learn more about foods that affect sleep here.

 

  1. Create a Restful Space

In a world and a home full of distractions this simple tip feels obvious but you’d be surprised the impact it can have. The bedroom should serve as a sanctuary, cluttered spaces or overwhelming environments create mental distractions leaving your mind far more active that it should be after lights are out. Comfort is surely a preference, create a bedroom that is ideal for sleeping. This simply means cool, dark and quiet. Exposure to harsh light and heavy noise can make it harder to fall asleep and easy to wake up before fully rested. Limit the use of screen time in the bedroom. Evaluate your sleep necessities (pillows, bedding, mattress) overworn and unsupportive must haves might be the reason you’re not getting the rest deserved.

 

  1. Napping

For children napping is a must, and there is a common misconception that day time naps will make it harder for a child to fall asleep at night. A well rested child will actually fall asleep faster than one who is sleep deprived. For mommy and daddy, if you nap, limit yourself to ~30 minutes and avoid doing so too late into the day. Napping will not necessarily make up for prolonged inadequate sleep, although a short nap can help improve mood, focus and performance. Shorts burst of rest can be categorized in 3 different ways:

 

  • Planned napping. This involves taking a nap before you actually get drowsy. Many people use this technique to compensate for an upcoming change in their regular sleep schedule.

 

  • Emergency napping. This occurs when you instantly become extremely tired and within an instant your body powers down, even if you’re engaged in something else.

 

  • Habitual napping. Habitual napper take a nap at the same time each day. Young children often fall asleep at the same time each afternoon by habit. Where some adults take a short snooze regularly after their lunch.

 

  1. Physical Activity and Fresh Air

Physical activity can promote better sleep. Although, being too active too close to bedtime, can make it harder to fall asleep. Physical activity does not have to be an entire afternoon at the gym, a simple walk outdoors can be enough to tire you out. Research shows, time spent outdoors has been linked to decreased levels of stress. People with less stress experience longer hours of restful sleep and are less challenged getting to sleep