Sunday January 17, 2021
Sleep is such an important aspect of family life. Without enough sleep, the members of your house will become irritable, exhausted, unable to focus, and prone to conflict and confrontation. Go long enough without decent sleep, and it begins to impact your health as well.
The best way to tackle this problem is to have a plan in place to create better pre-sleep habits and a healthy routine that works for everyone. It’s essential that you role model this behavior as well since your children are more likely to resist a new routine that isn’t followed by everyone.
It’s worth noting that each family, and family member, is different and it may take a week or two to figure out what does (and doesn’t work) for your family.
Here is our best advice of establishing a healthy sleep routine at home:
- Starting Early - The last hour or two before bedtime is probably not the time to eat a big meal, exercise, or get glued to a stimulating device (such as TV, video games, or social media). Give your bodies a chance to mellow before heading to bed.
- Setting the Mood - Creating the right environment is fundamental for getting a good night’s sleep - for both you AND your children. Make sure the space is comfortable (clean might be a stretch for some children but comfy sheets, blankets, and pillows work). Remove distractions. If a family member struggles to fall asleep because of a TV, cell phone, toys or anything else - move them to another area of the home that’s accessible during the day only. Find some soothing sounds to play and remove as much light as you can. Studies find that a room that is quiet, dark, and slightly cool is the ideal environment for sleep.
Setting the Routine - Children, and humans in general, work best with a routine. Common tasks are a soothing or warm bath or shower and a bedtime story. Other activities might work as well, depending on the person, including journaling, meditation, a gratitude practice, or listening to soft music. Once you figure out the routine, make it a habit for best results.