Who doesn’t love a good night’s sleep? Nothing feels better than waking up refreshed after an uninterrupted, restful sleep. For many people – kids and adults – these kinds of great, sleep-filled nights can be few and far between.
As a pediatric sleep coach, I specialize in kids’ sleep but parents are always asking me for tips to improve their sleep as well. Good quality sleep is crucial to the health and happiness of everyone in your family so here are 5 easy steps you can take to improve the S.L.E.E.P of everyone in your house.
Slow down: The first step to sleep is relaxation. Have you ever been too stressed-out to fall asleep? Do your kids get so over stimulated that they won’t go to bed? Both adults and kids should have a relaxing wind-down routine that helps calm their minds and bodies before bed. Reading, taking a warm bath and singing lullabies are all great options.
Lights out: The blue light emitted from all of our various screens can make it hard to fall asleep. Some people are more sensitive to light than others and it can be especially impactful to children. Turn off TVs, tablets and phones 1 to 2 hours before bed. For some of my clients this one simple tip makes the difference between a peaceful evening routine with their child and a nightmarish one.
Excellent environment: Everyone in your family should love their bedrooms. Your kids should feel safe and cozy there. And you should feel calm and relaxed which means no multi-tasking in your bedroom – no working and no TV. The temperature should be cool, around 68 degrees, to help promote deep restorative sleep.
Expected bedtime: For kids and adults consistency is key if you want great sleep night after night. This means going to bed at the same time and waking up around the same time 7 days a week. Sorry to break it to you but “sleeping in” on the weekends may feel good in the short term but you’re actually doing yourself a disservice in the long run. Maintaining consistent sleep timing each night actually trains your body for better sleep.
Praise: This tip is primarily for your kids but it can work for you, too, if
you like to have goals. Determine age-appropriate rewards for your family members when they follow the bedtime and sleep rules. Little kids might like to have pancakes for breakfast as a reward when they go to bed on time and sleep until morning. Older toddlers and school-aged kids might prefer a reward chart where they earn a star each day and build up a week of stars to get a bigger prize. For adults, stick to a consistent sleep and wake time for a month and treat yourself to a massage.
Incorporating these 5 easy tips will spell better sleep for your entire family. Why not start tonight?