How Everyone in Your Family Can Get a Good Night’s Sleep

While requirements vary by age, everyone needs sleep to recover from the events of the day.

Without good quality slumber, our health, performance, and outlook on life can wane. Children don’t do as well in school, adults don’t do as well at work, and everyone can get cranky.  Thankfully, there are plenty of ways to help you and your kids get a good night’s sleep.

We all need sleep

Everybody needs good quality sleep each night, but how much sleep constitutes enough varies by age.  As Raising Children Network explains, our sleep requirements are different in accordance with how old we are.  Babies sleep the most, although they spend only short periods of time in deep sleep.  As we grow up, our deep-sleep periods lengthen. While we sleep, our minds and bodies perform processes to help us recover from the wear and tear of the day.  We gain important health benefits, and when we lack sufficient sleep, our minds and bodies are adversely affected.  We can’t think as clearly, don’t concentrate as well, and have memory issues. Being sleep deprived can also affect your ability to regulate blood sugar, puts you at higher risk for heart disease, and can reduce your immune function.  The good news is if those in your household struggle to get good quality sleep, there is much you can do to help.

Slumber-oriented spaces

An appropriate sleep environment can make a big difference in how well someone sleeps.  Think about whether you and your children have sleep-friendly bedroom design.  Aim for comfort by cutting down on clutter, and include soothing things that make you feel peaceful.  Have soft lamp lighting or use candlelight to promote rest when preparing for sleep, and if your child uses a nightlight, select a bulb that is warm and dim.  Remove the technological devices from your room, since they can be distracting, unsettling, and cause you to feel more awake. Also eliminate anything that isn’t bedroom-oriented, such as workout or home office equipment.  For your children, opt to keep distinctly separate areas for active activities (such as play and homework) and for slumber.

Go outside and play

You might be surprised to learn getting outside a little bit every day can help you and the kids get more sleep.  The sunshine vitamin in vitamin D is integral to how well you can sleep at night, and some experts say less than half of us get enough.  When you do get enough vitamin D, you are more likely to sleep longer and enjoy better quality sleep, and that’s true at any age.  As a bonus, vitamin D also helps control inflammation and reduce pain levels.

Take a deep breath

It’s common to suggest to someone who’s upset to take a deep breath to help with relaxation.  You can also use that concept to help you get to sleep at night. Medical Daily suggests using deep breathing exercises to help your mind and body slow down.  You can use the same sort of concept with the kids.  Doing some relaxing yoga poses before bed can help them settle in and unwind.  

Food for thought

It might seem unrelated, but your family’s diet and nutrition can make a big impact on how well everyone sleeps at night.  While you probably recognize caffeine can keep you awake, you might be surprised to find out it takes about 6 hours for caffeine to work its way out of your system.  With that in mind, both you and the kids should watch your beverages late in the day. Along those same lines, sugar-laden foods can boost energy levels, so sweet snacks should be avoided at bedtime.  Instead, choose a bedtime snack that is light and promotes good sleep, such as cheese and whole grain crackers, or cereal with milk.  

Both you and your children need sleep to be happy and healthy.  Make adjustments to your environment and habits to promote better slumber.  With simple changes, your family can enjoy sound sleep for better overall well-being.