New Year’s Day is here, which means it’s time to make some resolutions! If you have children you’ve been trying to get on a better sleep schedule, this is the time to do it. And good sleep isn’t just for babies— many adults think if they could only get their baby sleeping well then their own sleep habits would be so much better. While this is the case for some people, many adults have bad habits they need to break too. So why not make a plan for the whole family to follow?
Tips for making better sleep one of your New Year’s resolutions:
1. Make sure you stick to the same bedtime every night.
For the next six weeks, I want you to set an early bedtime for your children that ensures they will be getting all the sleep they need. Seven o’clock is a good time for babies, toddlers and preschoolers, but choose a time that works best for your family. Do not waver from this set time, no matter what! That means weekends, holidays and even when family or friends are visiting.
This applies to you too, adults. Give yourself eight hours of sleep time and stick to it. Even if you’re dying for a bubble bath or your favourite show is on, make sure you’re in bed with the lights out by your set bedtime. Most adults are just not getting the average eight hours of sleep they need every night, which can affect mood and ability to focus.
2. Make a commitment to get up at the same time every morning for the next six weeks.
Sorry, yes, this means on weekends too. If your child is going to sleep at the same time every night, chances are you will not need to wake them up in the morning, as they will be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed pretty early. But if you and your spouse have been taking turns sleeping in, it’s time to stop, especially if you have trouble sleeping at night. The truth is, if you’re getting enough rest during the week there’s no reason why you should be sleeping in on the weekends…you simply won’t need the extra sleep. Just think of all those extra projects you’ll get done! :)
3. Create a bedtime routine.
Like many things in life, the right mood is everything. Kids thrive on relaxing bedtime routines, and adults can benefit from them as well.
Decide what you want to do every night before you go to sleep. For your child this could be bath, jammies, tooth brushing, story, cuddle, lights out. For you it could be bubble bath, tea, reading a chapter of a book, lights out. It doesn’t so much matter WHAT you do as the fact that you do it every night in the same order at the same time.
4. Turn off all electronics an hour before bed.
The light from your electronics disrupts melatonin levels in your brain, which can then wreak havoc on sleep patterns. Shut down all phones, tablets, computers and TVs an hour before you plan to sleep.
Commit to these four simple resolutions and you will see big differences with how well you and your children sleep. I’m willing to bet that you will want to stick to these resolutions long after the six weeks is up. Happy New Year to you and your family— and sweet dreams to all.
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