Oh, the lazy days of summer. It's light outside longer, the kids stay up later, and hopefully, also sleep-in the next morning, too. So what happens when the lazy days of summer turn into the busy school days of autumn? In many families, sleep schedules become an issue. Sleepy's, "The Mattress Professionals,"recently hosted an event at their store on Fifth Avenue to discuss how to make sure back-to-school is also back-to-sleep.
Michael Breus, "The Sleep Doctor" and author of the book The Sleep Doctor's Diet Plan - Lose Weight Through Better Sleep had some tips to help. Some of his suggestions:
- Keep bedtime consistent.
- Remind yourself that it is important to make sure your kids have a good night's sleep so that they will be alert, happy and in a good mood. (We all know nothing is worse than a cranky, tired kid.)
- Teach your kids to like like sleep, and that a good night's sleep is an important part of living a healthy life.
- Exercising during the day improves sleep at night.
- Try to eat a good, solid meal an hour before going to sleep.
- Unplug an hour before bed (great advice for adults, too) and begin a relaxing, winding-down routine, Dr. Breus calls it the "power down hour." Get ready for bed, organize everything that needs to be in place for the following day, and just relax. Relaxing can include a bath, books, or in some cases depending on the child, a television show.
- Do not rough-house, or otherwise excite and rile up the kids before bed. And if you do, be aware that once you miss a child's "sleep window" it may be very hard to get him/her to go to sleep.
And for grown-ups struggling with falling asleep at night? Restrict caffeine in general, drink highly-caffeinated drinks in the morning, and lower caffeinated drinks later in the day. Try to have no caffeine after 2pm. And if you're lying in bed unable to sleep? Dr. Breus cautions not to keep looking at the clock, and to count backwards from 100, by threes. I tried it, and I have to say, it worked like a charm.
We received a gift bag from the event, and this post enters us into a contest to win a bed from Sleepy's. And while that's all nice, it does not influence the opinions expressed here.
Anna Sandler is a contributor to Momtrends and writes a personal blog about life in scenic New Jersey with her three kids at RandomHandprints.com. She is always glad when she gets a good night's sleep.