Parents need to be well-rested in order to do their jobs effectively. Crucial tools in a mum or dad’s arsenal like problem-solving skills, concentration, calm temperament, and overall sense of wellbeing can be hugely affected by sleep.
Sleep deprivation can wreak havoc on a person’s mental and physical health. Couple that with the stress of parenting, and inadequate rest can be downright infuriating. Here are some of the easiest ways to ensure you get the sleep you, and your family, need.
Avoid stimulants at night
Coffee, tea, energy drinks, and sugary desserts can all interrupt your circadian rhythms and make it difficult to fall asleep. Try swapping these treats out with light, but protein-heavy snacks to give you the energy boost you need without disturbing your sleep. For nighttime snacks, try melatonin-packed proteins, such as almonds, walnuts, and pumpkin seeds, which can fill you up and act as natural sleep aids.
Keep your bedroom cool
When we sleep, our body temperature naturally drops. Keeping your bedroom temperature fairly cool, therefore, can help your brain recognize bedtime and fall asleep faster, which is important when you’re on a tight nightly schedule. Try keeping the thermostat around 19 degrees for optimal sleep.
Showering at night can also help with this, as the sudden temperature shift from the hot water to cooler bedroom air can lower your body temperature quickly.
Keep yourself (and your kids) on a schedule
The body begins to recognize routine after a while, so it’s important to maintain a consistent sleep/wake cycle, even on the weekends. A schedule will also make your children’s bedtime much less stressful for you, and make it easier to fall asleep naturally.
Failing to get enough sleep can make the next day much harder on both parents and children. Try your best to ensure that your kids are getting between 8-10 hours of sleep a night, and you’re getting 7-9. For tips on how to help your children sleep better, check out my post on Transitioning From a Crib to a Regular Bed.
Try some relaxation techniques
After a long day with the kids, it can be nice to indulge in a quiet moment by yourself every now and then.
Relaxing before bed brings down your heart rate and eases the transition to sleep. Some stretching, deep breathing, or journaling can melt away any stress that might keep you up. You can also try propping up on some cozy pillows and meditating to clear your mind and drift off faster.
Keep your kids in their room
Do your kids crawl into your bed in the middle of the night? While this can be a huge comfort to them, it can also upset both your sleep and their own. To prevent them from feeling the need to leave their own bed, make sure they feel safe in their bedroom.
During the day, try to avoid sending your kids to their room as a punishment, and instead, reserve it as a creative, relaxing space. Give them a toy or stuffed animal as a comfort object when they get scared. If they still come to your room, immediately walk them back and tuck them in.
Everyone’s sleep routine is a little different, and what works well for one family, might not work as well for another. However you do it, it’s crucial to look after your own sleep in order to be the best parent you can be. Try these suggestions out and let me know what works best for you!