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Today, we have a great guest post by Julia Merrill of BefriendYourDoctor.org, with some practical tips on how to get better sleep for the whole family.
How to help the whole family sleep better
Sleep – we all need it, but sometimes it can be hard to get a good night’s rest. As you probably know, sleep is absolutely vital to every human’s overall health and well-being. The Atlantic report that, though we don’t know exactly why humans even need sleep in the first place, it is not a mindless, energy-saving state. Instead, our brains are going to work doing, well, something.
Despite the fact that we really don’t know why sleep is important, you’ve undoubtedly felt the effects of not getting the sleep you need. Exhaustion, “brain fog,” difficulty concentrating, and even falling asleep randomly are all symptoms of those that haven’t been getting the sleep they need.
Put off sleep even longer, and you’ll be at a higher risk for obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. Getting enough sleep is important, so here are some tips if you or your children are having trouble getting the sleep you all need.
After a day of hiking or swimming, it is extremely common to fall asleep as soon as your head hits the pillow.
This is for a good reason. The more you work your body during the day, the more rest it needs at night. Getting enough exercise throughout the day can lead to increased sleep amounts because it will take you less time to fall asleep and you’ll enjoy an overall improvement in sleep quality. In other words, you’ll sleep better and spend less time trying to get to dreamland.
If you’re having trouble falling asleep, taking a walk around the block can be extremely helpful. If you have a new baby in the house or can’t leave the house to exercise for some other reason, Physical Living recommends exercising first thing in the morning but remaining flexible about when you fit in your daily dose of activity.
2. Establish a Bedtime Routine
We mostly hear about bedtime routines in regards to toddlers and smaller children. Without a doubt, bedtime routines are very important for all children. Bedtime routines help ease them from the waking world into the sleeping world. However, bedtime routines can be extremely helpful for adults as well. Basically, they help our bodies know that sleep is coming. Instead of laying in bed restless and awake, a bedtime routine allows people of any age wind down before they actually get in the bed, which can help us sleep longer and get a better quality of sleep. While a child’s bedtime routine might involve reading a book, rocking, and taking a bath, an adult’s might including putting away electronics, enjoying a warm beverage, and relaxing with a book.
3. Stick to a Schedule
This works very closely with having a set bedtime routine but is important enough to have its own mention. A bedtime routine won’t do you much good if you don’t go to bed at the same time each day. If you’re constantly changing the time you go to bed, you could easily be metaphorically shooting yourself in the foot when it comes to getting the rest you need. Going to bed at the same time each night allows your body to prepare ahead. Much like a bedroom routine, a set schedule of sleep and wake makes it easier for your body to know what is coming next and get ready to sleep at the right time.
4. Prepare Your Room
Your room should be prepared correctly to support healthy sleep. You should keep electronics out of your room if at all possible, including your smartphone. If you or your children have respiratory problems like asthma or allergies, you should equip your room with an appropriately-sized air purifier to avoid excess symptoms and allow your sleep to be more restful. There are lots of great options, even for rooms that are tiny and only have space for a mini air purifier. This is especially important if you have a baby, since their respiratory system is still developing and will benefit greatly from air that’s free of impurities.
Sleep is extremely important for our overall health, no matter your age. Helping your children get enough sleep and making sure you get the rest you need is important.
Julia Merrill is retired board certified nurse practitioner. In the many years in the medical field, she experienced the challenges that a lot of my patients came across when dealing with their medical care. Julia has made it her goal to bridge the gap between those who receive care and those who provide it. Visit her site befriendyourdoc.org.