6 Healthy Sleep Habits for the Whole Family
Sleep – it’s something we all love to talk about and can all struggle to get enough of with the busy pace of everyday living. According to The Great British Bedtime Report 2017 carried out by The Sleep Council, nearly half of us lose shut eye as a result of worry and our hectic lifestyles.
All too often when we settle down for the evening, we struggle to switch off our thoughts from the day, constantly going over things that didn’t get done, and making mental notes of what needs to be achieved tomorrow.
Lots of us also tend to check our social media accounts on our phones or tablets throughout the evening, and the blue light emitted from these devices can cause our minds to stay on full alert.
Many different things can affect our sleep patterns, but there are little things you can do in order to get the recommended 7 hours of shut-eye a night. A good starting point is establishing a restful evening routine that allows you to unwind so you can fully switch off.
1. Put away electronic devices
Ban all electronic (laptops, televisions, phones) at least one hour before bed. Not only do these devices interfere with your body’s internal clock, but with easy access to news sources and social media, it’s easy to increase your stress levels and racing thoughts before you try to wind down for bed. Try reading a book, having a bath or practicing mindfulness or meditation an hour before bed instead.
2. Stick to a regular sleep schedule
We know that getting the kids to go to sleep can be a little tricky sometimes, but while it’s important for children to have a regular routine and get enough sleep, it’s also important for you. If you’re struggling to get the kids in bed, try to think of an evening activity you can do all together to calm them down and get them ready for bed. Instead of reading them a short story in the evening, pick a longer children’s book and read a chapter to them every night. Since the story will be ongoing, they’ll likely get excited to hear the next chapter and will look forward to that time together before they go to sleep. In terms of your own sleep schedule, challenge yourself to go to sleep an hour or two after the kids go to sleep. Pick a time frame and every night, after you’ve put the children to sleep, check the clock and start your own winding down process. Maybe read a book, take a bath or have a quick meditation session in bed. This could also be the perfect time to put the phones and electronics away and get used to your healthy sleep habits!
3. Daily exercise for everyone
While exercise can keep you energised during the day, it is also essential in helping you get a good night’s sleep. Since kids are naturally more active than adults try joining your children when they’re playing outside, you could pick a few different sports and turn it into a family competition.
4. Stay hydrated
We all know how tempting that 2pm cup of coffee can be, but consuming caffeine in the afternoon can have a negative effect on sleep. Instead of coffee, opt for a large glass of water or a herbal tea instead. While drinking water can seem a little boring, but you could add things like frozen berries, lemon or cucumber for a refreshing tasty alternative that’s just as hydrating!
5. Create a relaxing environment
Feeling cosy and comfortable is a must before bed. Put up some fairy lights in the kids’ rooms or create a cosy reading nook with pillows and blankets. In your room, you could light a few candles and burn some essential oils before you get into bed, get into some comfy pjs and read a book before dozing off. Make sure close the curtains or blinds as well!
6. Opt for light evening snacks
While late night snacks aren’t the best idea right before bed, it’s sometimes nice to treat yourself at the weekend and indulge in a few goodies. But, instead of going straight for the jar of sweets, why not try a healthy late night snack instead? If you’re planning a family movie night, popcorn is a must, but pre-made popcorn often contains high amounts of fats and salts. Instead, try this super easy recipe that you can make as a family right before the movie. The kids will love hearing the pops against the lid of the pan and you can control exactly how much oil and salt you want to use!