As parents we worry about our babies and children getting enough sleep. What about you? How can you get more sleep? There can be many reasons you are not sleeping besides having children or a new baby. Healthy sleep habits start with you and here are a few tips that can help you get more sleep so you can help your child get more sleep.
Lights and Technology
Research has shown most lights emit short wavelength blue light which often disrupts the production of melatonin which would interfere with your circadian rhythm making sleep more difficult. This problem can be easily solved by having a blue light eliminator bulb in your bedroom or as a night light. A clock with red numbers or something that will filter out the blue light. Many of your gadgets like cell phone, computer, tablet, etc. have blue lights. You can now find blue light filtering apps that will keep things the same during the day but in the evening the app will change your screen to a red overlay giving everything a red hue. This would be very beneficial to helping you get more sleep and the rest you need if done at least an hour before bedtime. The National Sleep Foundation says that more than 95% of people in the US use some kind of tech gadget within an hour of going to bed. Using your gadgets to stay connected or for alarms will keep your brain active and harder to shut down when it is time to go to bed.
This is also so true for young children. They may not be on your phone or computer but a night light with the wrong bulb or a parent feeding their baby at night with their cell phone in their hand or somewhere the child can see it will do the same thing. Also no television right before bed or watching TV at night while feeding your baby can definitely affect both child and parent’s ability to go back to sleep.
Our body generally cools down while we sleep. If your room is too warm you won’t be able to cool down and may be more likely to have trouble sleeping or staying asleep. For adults the ideal room temperature is around 65 degrees. For babies and children, the ideal room temperature is between 65 to 70 degrees. Remember as an adult you can throw off your covers or bundle up but as a baby they are not capable of doing this and too hot can put a baby at risk for SIDs. Please remember babies should not wear hats at night or while sleeping especially if they are swaddled. Heat escapes through our feet and head and a swaddled baby would not be able to cool off in the event they became over heated.
Anxiety and worry can lead to sleeplessness at night. It is hard to turn off your brain and relax if you are worried about something. One of the things that has helped me is to follow the suggestions above and turn off all your technology an hour before bedtime and do something relaxing like listening to soothing music, meditating or reading a book. Another thing is to use a white noise machine. Yes! Adults like and can benefit from using white noise at night as it will help quiet their minds and allow them to shut down. We all know that white noise is recommended for young babies and children and will help them sleep longer and go back to sleep more quickly when they have awakenings during the night. The same is true for adults and can help you get more sleep.
How much sleep do we need?
There is a difference of opinion on this subject but generally it is said that adults need at least 5 hours of sleep a night and preferably 6 to 8 hours. Everyone is different but a little more is better than less. Babies need around 14 to 16 hours of sleep which include naps and young children 1 year to 5 years need around 11 to 13 hours of sleep depending on their exact age.
It is very difficult to make up for sleep loss and well rested adults and children make happy, healthy and functional people.