Last week I was able to attend an awesome event in Cincinnati, Ohio with P&G and we talked about pretty much my favorite subject next to food, sleep. I love to sleep. It’s the best thing ever. A good nap on a Sunday afternoon with it raining outside is actually my true favorite, but it doesn’t rain much in Utah and Sunday naps don’t seem to happen very often anymore. In fact, good sleep is hard to come by the older you get and if you’re a parent you realize you have to teach a little one to sleep as well. Thankfully we had a sleep expert come and teach us 5 healthy steps to a good night’s sleep.
The rules are good for both children and adults and listen, it’s up to us to train ourselves and our little ones so no matter what habits have already been created if we really want to sleep better or help our children to not only sleep better but not have bad habits we have to be quick to act. My family has personally applied all of these and we will now be adding scent since I got the Febreeze Sleep Serenity, and I can truly testify to you all that these really do work. It’s what has helped our children have solid sleep schedules and gotten us through our daughter’s period of night terrors (with a few extra things).
1. Exercise Regularly
Isn’t it funny how those who exercised, years and years ago, were just thought of as the athletes or the health fanatics and now, no matter your size or weight we are all encouraged to get in regular exercise every day? Exercise has so many health benefits for us emotionally and physically, but regular exercise actually helps us to sleep better. No matter what time of day you do it, physically exercising the body will help you to sleep better at night. Want help? Our health/fitness section has quick videos and exercises you can do at the gym or at home.
2. Establish Regular Routines, Especially Going to Sleep and Waking up Times
This one always makes me take a deep breath because I love that on Saturday we have nothing to wake up for. Sunday-Friday we all wake at the same time, but Saturday is our sleeping in day. However, this past year I noticed that sleeping in wasn’t feeling all that great to me. In fact, I seemed to have a worse day and night’s sleep when I did sleep in. Our bodies, adults and children crave routines. It’s good to have a set time to wake up, eat breakfast, do certain activities, and wind back down and go to sleep. Try it, for one month get the kids up at the same time every day, and have a set routine (no need to schedule every minute) followed by a set bedtime and see how it goes. Think about babies, they are on a very set routine and their bodies grow and mature so much during that time. As we age we forget that we still need a routine. Don’t get all crazy strict with your kids that later on they struggle to have any changes in the schedule that they cannot cope like running errands a little late, or church times. Instead this is meant for waking up and going to sleep and should still be a little bendable to help them go with the flow.
3. Wind Down Without Electronics
I am a huge believer in this one. Big time. I had a professor in college that once told us how he was always waking up during the night, tired during the day, struggling to fall asleep etc. He was prescribed sleeping pills, but after a while he didn’t like that answer. He decided he wanted to help his body the best he could so he saw a sleep specialist who told him…
- No television in the hours before bed
- Do not have a television in the bedroom
- No phones or computers at least 30-60 minutes before bed
- Get an alarm clock without red numbers
Apparently the stimulation of the lights and sounds cause your brain to stay more active and slowly train you to not go to sleep and stay asleep. The tv constantly fluctuates in sound and the activities stimulate us without us even noticing. He said this is the number one thing you can change for a better nights sleep. We will never have a tv in our’s or our children’s rooms for that reason.
The good news? It’s never too late to train ourselves or our children to not need electronics to fall asleep. Turn it off, unplug, get it out of your room. You will eventually have wonderful sleep again and that’s pretty priceless.
4.Create a relaxing bedtime routine.
Many of us have children that we read to or sing to before bed. Our girls love story time from dad or a song from mom before bed. It’s the same every night, shower for the oldest since school is so early, pajamas, brush their teeth, family prayer, story time and a song, personal prayers (the little ones saying their prayers) and hugs and kisses goodnight. This routine helps the girls to settle down, and prepares their minds and bodies for rest. Again, both children and adults need a regular routine that’s quiet and helps our bodies to make the transition from awake to asleep so that we can hit our deep sleep cycles which is essential, ESSENTIAL for a good night’s sleep.
This one shouldn’t have been, but was a little surprising to me. Have you ever had a moment where you smelled a scent and instantly you are literally taken up into an exact place and time, a memory? I have. It can be good or bad, but either way smells, much like music can bring on powerful memories and feelings. When preparing for a good night’s sleep you can use scent to help your body to relax and calm itself. And the best part is that the more you incorporate a soothing scent into your routine the more your body will respond and know that it’s time to nod off into dreamland. Which unless it’s a dream about the end of the world like this one, can be a wonderful place.
I can’t wait to share with you even more posts about what I learned about sleep from P&G, but for now take the sleep challenge, one month to begin to see the changes. You can do it!! And you’ll certainly thank me.