Here are our six easy tips for you and the family to help get good sleep habits.
1) Go to bed at the same time each night – This is especially important during the week when most people cannot afford a sleep-in and have work or school commitments the next day. Regular bedtimes help the body “know” when it needs to wind down and also helps you wake up more refreshed in the morning. Kids need about 10 -12 hours of sleep each day, while teens need at least 9. Adults should aim for a good 7-9 hours each night.
2) Wind down, switch off before bed – Turn off the TV, any screens and reduce intake or any caffeine about an hour to 45 mins before bedtime. If you can do some gentle yoga, meditation or yoga this may help. Some children and adults find meditative music or meditation CD helps them calm down such as Smiling Mind, Dinosnores for Kids.
3) Have a bedtime ritual – For kids this means brushing teeth, maybe a bath and some story reading. A standard routine means children know what to expect and when, and are hopefully less likely to fight it!
4) Make bedrooms comfortable – remove all phones, devices, computers and in the case of young kids, any distracting toys. Keep rooms cool, dark and well- If you can avoid the use of a night light this is preferable.
5) Don’t bring work or school work into the bedroom – otherwise you may find it harder to unwind and kids might associate their bedroom with homework. Your bedroom should be a sanctuary where you can leave your work behind.
6) Breathe easier at night – if you or your child is a congested due to a cold, allergy or other viral infection, try a preservative-free saline wash which gently washes away airborne germs, irritants and inflammatory mediators in the nose (that the virus has stimulated). This is especially useful for babies and young kids who are obligated nose breathers. You may find a humidifier in the bedroom also helps but always clean it regularly.
If you or your child are still finding sleep difficult and it is causing you distress, refer to a healthcare practitioner.