Guest post: Sleep tips for busy parents

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The National Sleep Foundation recommends 7-9 hours of sleep a night for adults, but this number might seem like a distant fantasy for parents who have to juggle child care, work, and taking care of the household.

However, we’re here to tell you that a full, restful night of sleep isn’t just a thing of the past. Here are a few tricks you can do throughout the day and around bedtime to ensure you’re still getting your beauty rest, even after the hectic days (and let’s face it, most days are). 

1.) Stick To A Specific Bedtime 

Your little ones aren’t the only ones who benefit from a set bedtime every night — adults can too, especially moms and dads. You obviously don’t have to have the lights out by 9:30 p.m. like you’d enforce with your 4-year-old, but you get the gist. If you wake up at 7 a.m. to get ready for work or take your kids to school, an ideal bedtime is between 10-11 p.m. Once you get into the habit, your body will begin to recognize when your “bedtime” is near and it’ll begin preparation for sleep mode. 

2.) Make Your Bedroom A Haven For Sleep

Your bedroom should be reserved for two things and two things only; sleep and sex. Anything else should be done elsewhere in your home — especially if it’s job related (we’re looking at you workaholics). You should also make sure your room is a cozy, comfortable space that’s ideal for sleep. This means it should be dark, a moderate temperature that’s neither too hot nor too cold, and of course, furnished with a proper mattress. 

A high-quality mattress can make a huge difference in how well you sleep, and can lull you to sleep much faster than an old, uncomfortable, and unaccommodating bed. If your mattress is older than the family pet you adopted a decade ago, it’s definitely time to buy a new one. You may want to consider an innerspring mattress with a pillow-top like the Nest Bedding Alexander Signature because it offers both comfort and support for a price that fits into most families’ budget. 

Family Walking on Path

3.) Stay Off Your Electronics Before Bed

Most days we are surrounded by electronic devices, from the laptop and computer screens at work to the television that’s blaring Little Einsteins at your house when you get home. All the screen time can have a negative effect on your sleep, particularly when it’s close to bedtime. 

The blue light that emits from electronics like your cell phone or television emits a blue light that throws off our circadian rhythm, a bodily process in charge of regulating our sleep-wake cycle that’s heavily influenced by light and darkness. So as a rule of thumb, try turning off your phone and stay away from the late night Netflix binge watching about an hour or hour and a half before bed. 

4.) Try Out A Relaxing Bedtime Routine 

In addition to brushing teeth and bath time, you should incorporate a few other relaxing nighttime activities, both with your child and alone or with your partner. Bedtime routines give your body and mind the opportunity to wind down for the night after a long day on-the-go, and this goes for both kids and adults. After bath time, tuck your child in for a calming, age appropriate bedtime story. Once the kiddos are in for the night, indulge yourself in well-deserved “me time” or spend some one-on-one time with your spouse. 

Common and effective nighttime activities for adults include reading, listening to calming music and sounds, and light stretching. If you aren’t able to fit exercise into your busy schedule, stretching is arguably the next best thing you can do to prepare your body for sleep. There are certain yoga poses that are perfect for nighttime because they give your muscles a gentle stretch that relaxes them before bed, plus it encourages meditation. Meditation is not only beneficial for sleep, but it also relieves stress, anxiety, and helps cardiovascular health. 

5.) Avoid Nighttime Cups Of Coffee

It’s always tempting to reach for that extra cup of coffee when that dreaded midday crash creeps up on you, but you should steer clear of anything containing significant amounts of caffeine passed 2-3 in the afternoon. According to one study, the half-life of caffeine in healthy adults is about 5 ½ hours, which can be troublesome for those looking to get some shut eye at a decent hour. For this reason, try to get in your last fix of caffeine around noon or 1 p.m. if you find yourself really fiending for the stuff.

About the author:

McKenzie Dillon is a blogger and sleep enthusiast for The Slumber Yard, a leading bedding reviews website. When she’s not sleeping, McKenzie likes attending comedy shows, hiking and cooking.

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