Sleep should come naturally— you would think. But tell that to the 40 million people in the U.S. that suffer from sleep disorders, or the 70 million baggy-eyed Americans dealing with insomnia. According to recent statistics, a vast majority of Americans, 62% to be precise, experience problems a few nights per week. So, if you’re having trouble focusing on what your boss is saying, can’t remember what you ate for breakfast, or nod off while you’re driving, you may be the victim of good ol’ sleep deprivation.
Now what about your family members? Is little Suzy getting enough rest? What about your 16-year old high school student who pulls all-nighters during the week and doesn’t get up until 1pm on the weekends? One study showed that students who scored Cs, Ds, and Fs got about 25 minutes fewer sleep and went to bed 40 minutes later than students who scored As and Bs. There’s no question that developing positive habits for you and your family will bring about mental clarity, emotional balance, productivity, energy, and even safety.
Although you can’t entirely control how well your kids sleep, there are things within your control that can make a difference. Why not try these simple tips to see how it works for you?
How To Get Good Sleep
Tip 1: Get with the Good Stuff and Avoid All the Bad Stuff!
It’s easier said than done, but some things are sure to mess with your much-needed REM.
The root cause of many sleep disorders, like sleep apnea, is often a direct result of what we consume. Smoking, drinking, and excess weight are all ingredients for sleep apnea, insomnia, and other health issues. A good starting point to getting better rest is eliminating unhealthy consumption and avoiding caffeine, liquids, spicy foods, alcohol, sugary foods and too many liquids sleep in the latter part of the day.
Build exercise into your daily routine. Exercise has proven to increase the amount of time in deep, restorative stages of sleep. Even 10 minutes of walking can make a difference. Rigorous activity should be completed no later than 3 hours before bedtime.
Tip 2: Let Your Circadian Rhythm Flow
Keep a regular sleep-wake schedule for you and your kids. When you go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, you maximize the quality of your sleep. If you need to catch up on rest, naps are okay as long as you limit them to about a half an hour in the early part of the day. Of course, longer naps are needed for children.
Tip 3: Light By Day, Dark By Night
Exposing yourself to natural light and fresh air during the day energizes your body by day and helps establish your circadian rhythm. In the evenings, start winding down two hours before bedtime. Instead of scrolling through your Facebook feed, watching Channel 2 News, or reading your Kindle, try reading a good old fashioned book with pages. Because exposure to light can cause insomnia and impact how well you rest, avoid bright screens before bed and make sure your room is dark when you turn in. By repeating positive habits daily, you can condition your body for the right kind of sleep you need.