Do you wake up most mornings still feeling tired? Are you concerned that your kids might not be getting the rest they need to do well at school? If so, you’re not alone. But don’t panic, here are some top tips on how to get enough downtime at night to keep your family happy and healthy.
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Sleep Quality and Family Well Being
Why is rest important? Sleep helps the brain process information. If it doesn’t get enough, kids and adults might struggle with handling day-to-day tasks as well as they would after a proper night’s rest – both in school, during work and at home. Look at sleep as your body’s idea of ‘night-shift’. This includes a variety of vital bodily functions such as:
- Boosting your immune system.
- Mending damaged cells.
- Charging up your cardiovascular system for tomorrow.
- General maintenance and recovery from daily activities.
When we consider our entire family’s health, it’s clear that we need to make sure everyone gets enough shut-eye. According to research put together by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, not sleeping enough is connected with behavior and attention difficulties in children. While the American Sleep Apnea Association found that lack of sleep could lead to stress, reduced alertness and low mood for parents, too.
Also, poor sleeping patterns and sleep deprivation is believed to be linked to depression in young adults. According to a study by the University of Texas Health Science Center, teenagers are four times more likely to suffer from depression if they are sleep deprived.
What is a Sufficient Amount of Sleep?
Obviously, sleep is important. But how do we know when enough is enough? Here’s a rundown of how much rest everyone in your family should ideally get every day, according to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine:
- Kids aged 4-12 months = 12-16 hours.
- Kids aged 1-2 years = 11-14 hours.
- Kids aged 3-5 years = 10-13 hours.
- Kids aged 6-12 years = 9-12 hours.
- Teenagers aged 13-18 years = 8-10 hours.
- Adults over 18 years = 7-8 hours.
Think your family has it about right? If not, there’s no need to panic. Here are some ways you can sleep well as a family and improve your home life and health in the process!
The Perfect Bedroom
Ideally, you and your family’s bedrooms should be cool, dark and quiet. Buy blackout curtains to block out streetlights or use earplugs if you live near a busy road with nighttime traffic.
Ceiling fans are great for stopping your and the kids’ bedrooms from getting too hot and having both summer and winter-appropriate bed sheets can help maintain a sleep-perfect temperature all year round.
Do you and your family go to bed at about the same time every night? Keeping to a good sleep schedule means that your family’s body clocks will stay in check and help you all get enough rest by making it easier to fall asleep. We know getting the kids to go to bed can be tough for parents, but try to make a time that you can all stick to. Remember to take into account school bus times, the morning rush hour and similar daily activities.
Get Rid of Gadgets
A report by Common Sense Media found that teens use around nine hours of entertainments media every day and the same organization also found that 42% of kids aged eight and under now have their own tablets.
What’s the problem? Using electronic devices at night can stop us from falling asleep, as the screens give off a blue light that blocks our bodies’ production of melatonin. This controls our sleep-wake routine, according to the National Sleep Association. If you’re a parent who sends a lot of emails when the kids have gone to bed, this can trick your brain into believing it needs to be alert. That can also make it harder to fall asleep.
Try and get your family into the habit of switching off all devices at least an hour before bedtime and keep cellphones, tablets and laptops out of all bedrooms, so there’s no cheating!
Consider a New Bed
Are you comfy at night? If not, this will obviously affect how well you and your family sleep. Getting the right level of comfort and support is crucial to our quality and duration of rest, as well as our body’s natural alignment. Perhaps it’s time to shop around for a new mattress!
Did you know that the ‘side sleeper’ is the most common type of sleeper? If your family usually sleeps this way too, look online to find a mattress for people who sleep on their side and get the perfect bed for adequate shut-eye!
Food and Drinks
Caffeine is a stimulant that can last up to eight hours and a heavy meal can make drifting off tough, too. So make bedtimes easier for your family by banning coffee, sodas, chocolate, and tea after 6 pm, and don’t have dinner within two hours of bedtime.
Being more physical during the day will help everyone feel ready for bed at end of the day! So, take regular family bike rides or walks and organize a few after-school activities to tire everyone out pre-bedtime.
Now, you and your family should be ready to hit the hay with few problems and disruptions!