Most people know that sleep deprivation has an unfavourable effect on our mood. Long periods with little or no sleep will also effect our well being and general state of mind. Healthy sleep habits, often referred to as having good sleep hygiene, can make a big difference in your quality of life. However, if you are a parent then you’ll know what it’s like to have little to no sleep, but babies will be babies and toddlers will be toddlers so the best thing you can do is follow these sleep practises the best way you can.
1. Maintain a Relaxing Bedtime Routine.
When you set a routine that relaxes you before getting into bed, you will realise a better quality of sleep. Keeping the same bedtime and wake up time, even on the weekends, will help to regulate your body clock and get a sound and deep slumber. Around one hour before bed, avoid all digital sources including phone, laptop, TV or tablet (I know! I am bad for this too, but it will help if you are struggling to sleep). Dim any bright lights and try to relax your mind by reading a book or taking a warm bath. Have a soothing drink like chamomile or hot chocolate and when you climb into bed you will be ready for a good night’s sleep.
2. Exercise During the Day
It is a well known fact that exercise helps to ward off stress and anxiety, which are one of the biggest contributing factors to lack of sleep. Although vigorous exercise is best, a brisk 10 minute walk every day will release hormones and improve your rest. Plus you can always take your little one with you if needed.
3. Make Sure Your Room is Right
You may need to make some slight changes to your bedroom, depending on your circumstances. Check that the room is cool, it should be around 15.5 and 19.5 °C (between 60 and 67 °F), and also dark. Try using a blackout blind to eliminate any light, or an eye mask. It should also be quiet, at least until the baby wakes! If possible, try white noise like a fan or humidifier, or ear plugs. You need to make sure you can still hear your child if they wake though so use this advice with caution.
4. Check Your Mattress and Pillows
Having a comfortable mattress and pillow is very important. They must be supportive and if you are tossing and turning all night, it could be time for a new one. The life expectancy of a good quality mattress is around 8 or 9 years. Anything older than that needs replacing.
5. Avoid Naps
We’ve all been there. Dropping off in the middle of the afternoon because the night before was such a terrible nights sleep. A power nap might get you through the day but it will just cause the adverse effect later when you can’t fall asleep at bedtime. Napping creates a viscous circle you need to avoid.
So there you have it. My top 5 tips for a restful nights sleep. Of course, this doesn’t account for the toddler standing by your bed until you are woken by his/her presence and getting freaked out a-la horror film. Why do they do that? But at least the tips will help get you to that place. Hopefully!
Disclaimer: I am not a sleep therapist or a doctor of sleep etc. My tips are just via research on google. Please don’t shout at me if you still can’t sleep!
See you soon!