As a parent, you know how important nutrition and exercise are in maintaining your family’s health. However, did you know that sleep plays an important role in wellness too? In addition to improving mental health, sleep can enhance other aspects of your family’s physical and mental well-being. Here are a few ways you can help your family get the sleep they need.
Determine How Much Sleep Everyone Needs
Before you start taking steps to improve your family’s sleep habits, it’s helpful to assess just how much sleep is needed. To create the best mental health-boosting sleep routine, you should use each family member’s age to calculate their nightly sleep needs. Getting enough sleepis important because it helps to preserve good mental health. But lack of sleep can also cause other unwanted issues, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, and depression.
Create Relaxing Bedtime Routines
For many children and adults, falling asleep can be a challenge. That’s why it is helpful to have a routine that helps everyone unwind before they crawl into bed. Try dimming the lights around your home as evening approaches. Our bodies are wired to stick to a circadian rhythm, and bright lights at night can disrupt this process. If anxiety seems to be an issue, try starting a journal where family members can empty their thoughts onto paper before bedtime.
Build a Sleep Cave in Your Bedrooms
Humans have yet to let go of many of their evolutionary habits, and that includes sleeping. We love to sleep in cave-like conditions, so make sure your bedrooms are set up as sanctuaries for sleep. Darkness is key, so use blackout curtains or sleep masks to block out any light that may keep you up. You need quiet too, but sometimes total silence can make it hard to relax. You can try using a fan for white noise, but be aware of some of the potential side effectsof using white noise while sleeping. Lastly, but not least, you should aim to keep your bedrooms cool. The optimal temperature for sleepis between 60 to 67 degrees to encourage deep, restful sleep that will help preserve your mental health.
Make Sure You All Have the Right Mattress
Sleeping on an old, worn-out mattress can definitely cause you to lose sleep. Lack of sleep alone can impact your mental health and overall wellness, but a bad mattress can cause chronic pain as well. Chronic pain can lead to feelings of depression, anxiety, and other mental health problems for your family. However, pain can also cause you to lose even more sleep. To break this vicious cycle, try figuring out whether your mattress should be replaced. Generally, a mattress that is more than 10 years old can be cause for concern, as are any large rips, damaged springs, or just an overall lack of support. If you do buy a new mattress, make sure you research to find the perfect mattressfor each family member.
Turn Off Electronics in the Evening Hours
You likely already know there are benefit to limiting screen time for your kids throughout the day. But did you know that exposure to screens can impact sleepfor children and adults? The blue light emitted from phones, tablets, and laptops sends a signal to your brain that it’s time to wake up, which is definitely not what you need when you are preparing for bed. So, keep screens from keeping you awake by making it a house rule to shut them off well before bedtime. You can also keep these electronics out of bedroomsaltogether. If you do need to look at your screen, try using a night setting or dimming it so it’s less harsh on your eyes.
It’s a fact: Better sleep leads to better mental health and better overall wellness for your entire family. Use these tips to improve your sleep, and if all else fails, consult your doctor to make sure you are getting the sleep you need to stay healthy.