By Jane Marsh
Because you spend roughly a third of your life sleeping, it’s no wonder a good night’s rest is crucial for your wellbeing. Establishing a routine is a valuable way to help you and your kids get to bed on time. Here are 10 tips for creating healthy sleep routines for your whole family.
1. Schedule Naptimes
Everyone can benefit from naps, but babies and young children especially love their afternoon siestas. The amount of sleep people need varies by age. Schedule naps for the same time every day, preferably in the early afternoon, and set an alarm so you get just the right amount of sleep.
2. Exercise Early in the Day
The whole family can join together for some jumping jacks or gentle yoga stretches, depending on everyone’s physical abilities. Even a short daily walk might help you sleep more restfully at night. Just be sure to exercise earlier in the day instead of close to bedtime, as it can make you feel energised for a while afterwards.
3. Eat a Balanced Dinner
Instead of a three-course meal of cereal or leftover birthday cake, aim to have a balance of protein, long-acting carbohydrates, fibre, and healthy fats in your dinner. This will keep your blood sugar stable so you don’t wake up hungry for a midnight snack. It’s also part of a healthy lifestyle, in general, that might give you more benefits than just restful sleep.
Just be sure to exercise earlier in the day instead of close to bedtime, as it can make you feel energised for a while afterwards.
4. Shut Off Your Screens
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends shutting off your screens one to two hours before bedtime or keeping the light levels low if you must use them. Daylight is on the same part of the colour spectrum as the blue light produced by screens, and both tell the brain to make less melatonin. This can keep you awake.
5. Read a Relaxing Book
This is a great alternative to enduring yet another episode of ‘Bob the Builder’. Reading a bedtime story can help the whole family fall asleep, and it’s a useful way for kids to learn to read and sound out words. To help children wind down, turn the pages slowly and narrate in a calm voice.
6. Turn Down the AC
A quiet, dark room isn’t the only requirement for a good night’s sleep. People tend to sleep best in temperatures of 60-67°F. This might vary depending on the person, so experiment to see what feels most comfortable for you.