Tips to help the whole family get a goodnight's sleep
There’s pretty much a national day for everything now; pets, chocolate, doughnuts – the list goes on! There’s even a whole month dedicated to your bed, and as it’s March, it got us thinking – a lot of us could probably do with getting a better night’s sleep, but how?
While our sleeping patterns and habits will all be different, there’s one thing we all have in common when it comes to sleep – we can’t live without it! No matter our age we all need to rest come the end of the day for lots of different reasons that go beyond getting energised for the day ahead.
There’ll be times when you feel like you’ve had a better night of sleep than others and that’s completely normal, but it’s the falling asleep part that can impact this most and what is often the tricky bit. We’ve listed some tips and things you can try introducing to help everyone in your household rest easy…
Make time to wind down
Some people find themselves asleep not long after their head hits the pillow, lucky things! For others nodding off is a slower process and some find it a challenge. We lead busy lives and it’s not often that our minds aren’t stimulated, from binge watching the latest boxset to scrolling on our phones. This could be harming your sleep, but factoring in some time to wind down before you head to bed for the night can help. It applies to children too, who benefit so much from a bedtime routine.
Things to try:
- Have a warm bath – this can work for little ones too but try to avoid having toys in the bath
- Read – whether it’s a chapter of a book as you get into bed or a bedtime story for children
- Listen to music – nothing heavy, go for relaxing, calm and quiet – unless listening to heavy metal, rock and dance music relaxes you that is!
- Meditate – doing this for as little as 10 minutes helps both your body and mind to wind down for sleep. If it’s something you want to try for the first time, there are free apps to guide you through it
Form a bedtime routine
Take what you enjoy and find works for you from the above and make it into your daily bedtime routine. Not only can this be relaxing, it lets your body know that it’s almost time for sleep as our brains recognise repetition – clever! Do the same for your children and you’ll hopefully be able to enjoy more peace and quiet on an evening.
Be smart with food and drinks
It’s pretty simple but we all know how easy it can be to slip into bad habits. Ultimately, don’t overdo it on caffeinated drinks during the day and avoid having anything with caffeine in up to six hours before you’re planning on going to bed. Replace that nightcap coffee with a decaffeinated green tea or warm milk which children could have too. There’s food for thought when it comes to eating too. It’s all about balance – going to bed having eaten not long before will make it hard for your body to wind down as it’s working hard to digest your food, or go to bed hungry and it’s hard not to think about. Go with what works for you and fits around your lifestyle, but try to avoid eating anything heavy a few hours before going to bed as well as anything sugary – avoiding sugar being especially important for little ones.
Check your sleep set-up
A few small changes could make the world of difference to your quality of sleep, and who wouldn’t want that?! Houseplants can improve air quality (whilst looking good!), having the right duvet for the season might mean there’s no arguments about the temperature – this goes for your choice of pyjamas too, your body associates darkness with sleep so reducing natural light in your bedroom is key, and get rid of anything that could make unwanted noise disturbing your sleep (not including alarm clocks unfortunately!).
Then there’s the bigger things, like your bed, mattress and pillows. Is your bed big enough, is your mattress still supportive or past its best (it’s recommended to change your mattress every eight years or so) and are your pillows comfortable? The average person spends 26 years of their life sleeping according to bed store Dreams, so it’s worth investing time and money into getting these things just right.
If you found this content useful, check out our blog post on how to turn your bedroom into a sleep sanctuary.