6 Healthy Sleep Habits For The Whole Family
Sleep — it’s something we love to talk about, yet something many struggle to get enough of.
According to The Great British Bedtime Report 2017, nearly half of us lose shut eye as a result of worry and our hectic lifestyles (45%).
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.
As we scan through our social feeds on phones and tablets throughout the evening, we expose ourselves to the blue light emitted from these devices, causing our minds to stay on full alert.
Any number of things can affect our sleep patterns — some good, and others not so good. Let us look at the good; a few steps and habits to establish a new healthy sleep hygiene pattern so you get the recommended 7 to 9 hours of shut-eye a night.
#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. (See also: relaxation techniques and breathing exercises.)
#2 | Stick to a regular sleep schedule
We know how important it is for children to have a regular routine and get enough sleep — but it’s equally important for you to do the same. If you struggle to get the kids settled at bedtime, think of an evening activity you can do together, something soothing and calming to get them ready for bed. Instead of reading a short story in the evening, pick a longer children’s book and read a chapter 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 each night. 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 wind 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.
#3 | Daily exercise for everyone
While exercise can keep you energized 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. (See our list of snacks to avoid before bed.) Instead of coffee, opt for a large glass of water or an herbal tea instead. While drinking water can seem a little boring, you can add frozen berries, lemon or cucumber for a refreshing tasty alternative that’s just as hydrating!
#5 | Create a relaxing environment
Feeling cozy and comfortable is a must before bed. Put up some fairy lights in the kids’ rooms or create a cozy reading nook with pillows and blankets. In your room, light a few candles and burn some essential oils before climbing into bed. Get into some comfy pjs and read a book before dozing off. Make sure to 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 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 from AMindfulMom.com 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!
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