Thank you to Julia Merrill at BefriendYourDoc.org for this important guest post about getting enough sleep. All parents know how hard this can sometimes be.
Sleep is an integral part of your family’s health, and the problems sleep deprivation causes go beyond yawning all day and feeling fatigued. Without enough rest at night, the human body is at risk for a weakened immune system, high blood pressure, weight gain, pre-diabetes, and more.
However, some health problems can be prevented with the right tools. For instance, turning on an appropriately sized air purifier in children’s rooms removes allergens from the room to reduce asthma symptoms. And for many adults, the right mattress can make all the difference in the world. However, many of the problems can only be prevented with quality shut-eye.
Your Family’s Best Sleep Routine
First of all, you have to get your family on a constant sleep routine, especially if you have kids. Children thrive on routines, which help eliminate anxiety because children have an idea of what comes next. A steady schedule will also help you save time and feel less stressed, as well. Your family’s particular routine should be personal and based on each individual’s sleep requirements — children of different ages need certain hours (What a great sleep chart at that link!) that vary based on how the body naturally falls asleep and wakes. With that being said, feel free to use these great bedtime rituals to help inspire your own routine.
- Turn off electronics at least an hour before it’s time for sleep. That means no television, video games, or tablets that can distract little ones from what needs to be done.
- Dim lights and turn on some soothing classical music. Turn the thermostat down to somewhere between 60 and 68 degrees F, which is the optimal sleep temperature.
- Have children take a warm bath both to get clean and to slightly raise body temperature. Once they step into their cool room for bedtime, their body temperature dips, which makes them feel drowsy and ready to sleep.
- Whether or not they take a bath, make washing faces, brushing teeth, and combing hair as a part of their routine.
- Pick out pajamas and get dressed. Make sure children’s pajamas are comfortable, breathable, and flame-resistant.
- Little ones who are particularly active may enjoy a bedtime yoga routine that gets all the wiggles out before they hit the sack (you may enjoy this, as well!).
- Read before bed — it relieves stress, improves cognitive function, and encourages children to grow into more empathetic people.
- Finally, always say “I love you” before it’s time for light’s out.
Bedtime Tips for Grown-ups
Most children have a pretty easy time getting enough sleep; it’s the grown-ups that most likely suffer from sleep disorders or wake up with aches and pains. Mattresses should be replaced every seven to ten years; but even if yours is younger, it may need a replacement if you wake up with a sore back or limbs. These days, people love the convenience of buying mattresses online. It saves time and the product is shipped right to your door.
If you want to buy a new mattress via the web, make sure you do diligent research, look over reviews, and purchase a model that has exceptional trial, warranty, and return policies in case it is not the right fit. There are various types of mattresses available, including memory foam, gel, pillow top, innerspring, latex, and more. If you are unsure what kind you prefer, go to a local mattress store to get a feel for what each type offers.
Beyond a great mattress, many adults find it helpful to sip a wind-down beverage as soon as kids are asleep. Different types of herbal teas have anti-anxiety benefits and can even help muscles relax. Also consider flavored magnesium drinks that have the same sleep benefits.
A good night’s sleep means a healthy tomorrow for your family. A steady bedtime routine signals to little ones that it is time to rest and instills healthy habits they can carry with them into adulthood. If your own sleep is suffering, a new mattress may be the key to reducing tossing and turning. Furthermore, a soothing bedtime drink such as sleepytime tea or a magnesium supplement may be just what you need to fall asleep quickly.