There's no part of parenting more exhausting than sleep. It seems ironic given that sleep is meant to be restful and restorative, but when you're raising a family, everything from infant feedings to bedtime battles to missed curfews can disrupt the sleep rythyms of the entire household.
The good news? Sleep doesn't have to be so stressful. Use these key tips to get your family back on track and finally get the peaceful night's slumber you deserve.
1. Get the Right Amount of Sleep
Sleep requirements vary by age, so if you aren't sure how many hours of sleep different members of your family require, refer to the chart in the WebMD article on Sleep Tips for Kids of All Ages. And remember, adults need to get enough sleep too — 7 to 8 hours is considered ideal.
2. Be Consistent
You'll sleep better on a routine basis if you consistently go to bed and wake up around the same time each day. Consistency can be challenging in a large household with family members of different ages on different schedules — but it is a goal worth striving for.
3. Make Bedtime Peaceful
Bedtime battles are common in households with young children and can easily become worse than any nightmare. Try to establish a calming bedtime routine that includes a relaxing bath, stories, and maybe even a massage. And once the kids are asleep, do the same for yourself.
If you still struggle with insomnia, you may find some relief from SleepAid, which includes a small dose of melatonin, a natural hormone believed to help with mild sleep disorders.
4. Avoid Caffeine
Caffeine is best avoided in the late afternoon and evening, for both children and adults. Skip the afternoon cup of coffee, and consider a "no soda with dinner" rule.
5. Encourage Daily Exercise
By getting at least 20-30 minutes of exercise a day, you can almost guarantee yourself a better night of sleep. The really good news? This works for kids as well, so if you have a night owl who can't fall asleep or wakes frequently, add more physical activity to their day.
6. Log Off
Screen time is stimulating, so turn off the television at the end of the day, and encourage the entire family to log off of computers, video games, and yes, even cell phones. This one can be hard for teens who want to stay constantly connected, but it can also lead to better sleep for the whole family.
Does your family sleep well? What sleep problems do you face in your home?