Does your family struggle to get enough sleep? Maybe you have a hard time winding down at night, or fall asleep in front of the TV and never make it to bed? Sleep is essential for the entire family, as it keeps your body and mind in shape, but 40 percent of Americans are missing out on recommended shut eye at night. If you need some help getting to bed on time, here are six tips to help you take back your nights.
Stick to a Regular Sleep Schedule
Good sleep hygiene is made by getting into a good routine. Make sure you set a bedtime and stick to it, even on the weekends. The amount of sleep you need varies depending on age, but the general consensus is that adults need 7 to 9 hours of sleep. Be sure to wake up at the same time each morning, and be sure to set your alarm as well so that you can benefit from developing good bedtime habits.
Keep Your House Cool
Our bodies crave cooler temperatures at bedtime. To get a good night’s sleep, set your thermostat between 60 to 70 degrees at night. You can use fans in your room to help your body cool off more quickly, and try warming up your feet to really relax. If you find the temperature sweet spot and still toss and turn trying to get comfortable, perhaps your mattress is to blame. Every member of your family, regardless of age, needs a supportive mattress. Children and teens will have an easier time sleeping through the night with a mattress that supports their spine, while adults will enjoy reduced stress on their joints. For those reasons, consider trading out your lumpy mattress for one that will meet the sleep needs of all of your family members – especially if it’s been 7-10 years (the average lifespan of a mattress) since your last upgrade.
Avoid Caffeine in the Afternoons
If you’re having trouble getting to sleep at night, your afternoon coffee, tea, or soda may be to blame. Caffeine can stay in your body for six hours or more, meaning that afternoon energy boost could be keeping you from getting the sleep you need. Try to avoid taking in any caffeine after lunch and opt for healthier sources of energy instead. Watch out for sneaky sources of the stimulant, like chocolate and ice cream.
Get Some Exercise
When you’re tired and not sleeping well, exercising may be the last task on your mind. But studies show that a good workout can help you fall asleep faster at night. Exercise in the morning or during the daytime to make the most impact on your sleep. Burning off excess energy is a great way to keep bedtime struggles out of your evening routine.
Shut Off Screens at Night
Winding down with a good movie or using social media may seem like a good way to relax, but exposing your eyes to bright screens can make it difficult for your brain to power down at night. The blue light emitted by these electronics actually cause your brain to wake up and stay alert, which can be damaging to your sleep. Make it a rule that screens have to be off a couple of hours before bedtime. If you can’t avoid using your phone, TV, or laptop at night, try adjusting the brightness or using warmer settings at night.
Make Sure Bedrooms Are Dark
Once you are snuggled into your bed, it’s important to keep things dark. Think of your bedroom as your comfort cave, and take steps to eliminate any excess sources of light. Use blackout curtains or blinds to block outside light. Use nightlights in bathrooms and hallways to avoid having to turn on bright lights during sleepy hours. Darkness helps your brain relax and fall into a deeper, more satisfying cycle of sleep.
Better sleep at night means better days for you, so take steps to ensure you stick to a healthy sleep routine and get the rest you need. Your body and mind will be better for it.