Many children and adults have trouble getting to sleep at night. This might be caused by bad “sleep hygiene” this term is defined as things that can help facilitate good, continuous and adequate sleep.
Creating good sleep hygiene can be quite simple by following these tips.
Create a Quiet Room – Remove items that can disrupt sleep. For example electronics, TV, or even noisy pets. Also have light blocking curtains to block out the glow from street lamps if you live in a city. Having a white noise machine can also be helpful to block out the neighborhood sounds that might be distracting.
Establish Gadget Free Time – The National Sleep Foundation recommends at least 30 minutes of “gadget free transition time” before bedtime. It is important to “power down” to get higher sleep quality. As said in some of our earlier articles the blue light emitted from devices can decrease the production of the important sleep hormone melatonin. Having low melatonin makes it harder for a person to drift off to sleep. Mobile phones and tablets used in bed can wreck sleep hygiene.
Power Down Physically and Mentally- Do not exercise mentally or physically too close to bedtime. If you want to exercise in the evening make sure to do so at least an hour before bedtime which can help you produce endorphins which might help you decrease stress. Though the boost in endorphins can also make it hard to sleep. So do not run on the treadmill when you should be relaxing and preparing for bed. Also do not work your mind too hard before bed. Make sure to schedule answering emails and other work tasks at least thirty minutes before it is time to “hit the hay”. Working to close to bedtime can make your mind race when it should be calming down.
Create a Comfy Environment- Many would not think the bedroom decor would have much effect on the quality of sleep. However how a room is set up can change how a person sleeps. Having clean sheets, and blankets that are not too hot or too cold can make a difference. Also like stated previously in this article white noise machines and dark curtains can be beneficial additions to your bedroom. Also make sure pillows give your neck the support it needs. Oh and odor might also disrupt sleep so check for dirty laundry or trash that needs to be taken out, which just might solve the kid waking up in the middle of the night issue. If you have kids have them help you make their bedroom a sleep sanctuary. Keep toys organized, have them pick out blankets and curtains, etc.
Creating good sleep hygiene can make a difference on the quality of sleep you receive. If you change your habits and still suffer from insomnia speak with your doctor. If he or she suggest melatonin supplements to help look up World Wide Labs for an all natural option.
In this digital world many families spend too much time watching T.V or playing on tablets and smartphones. These are not evil devices though they can cause damage to health.
“A child needs eight hours of peaceful sleep daily to remain fit and active. Excessive addiction to mobile phones distracts the mind and disturbs his or her sleep-wake cycle.” (DailyMail) With this distraction causes a decrease in melatonin, this is the natural chemical in the brain that is released to tell the mind and body to relax and go to sleep.The blue light from devices makes the mind believe it is daytime, so it does not release the needed amount of melatonin to sleep even though it is late at night.
Parents with young children should take note that screen time late at night can change sleeping patterns. This can cause problems in focusing at school. Parents should encourage kids to play outside during the day and to turn off all devices at least one hour before bedtime. By doing this a child can create better sleeping habits. By receiving the eight to ten hours of sleep needed a child’s performance in school and their daily attitude can improve greatly.
This benefit was stated by Dr Geetha Srinivasan, (senior consultant, pediatric ophthalmology, ICARE Hospital) who said, “…cutting back on tech use at night means getting better sleep, making people more productive at both work and school.”
For parents with children with insomnia, ADHD or Autism should look into creating new habits as well. Though if bedtime routines and cutting back screen time does not improve the quality of sleep of their child parents can consult doctors about melatonin supplements.
Melatonin supplements simply increase the natural chemical melatonin to help children, teens and adults naturally fall asleep. To learn more about melatonin and children click this link. http://bit.ly/MelatoninAndChildren
(Natural Health 365)
Your body has a natural internal “clock.” Light and darkness help your body clock keep time and know when to sleep and when to be awake. Blue light from electronics can make your body think it is time to be awake, even if it actually night. Regular use of electronics before bed can reset your body clock and make it harder for you to sleep at night.
“Studies show that staring at bright screens within four hours of bedtime reduces melatonin, a hormone that makes you naturally tired when it’s time to sleep” (PRN). Melatonin is one way your body regulates your body clock. Decreased levels of melatonin can make it harder for you to fall and stay asleep.
If you don’t get enough sleep your performance at work, your mood, and even your relationships can be affected. It is commonly accepted that 7-9 hours of sleep are important to maintain good health. Here are some tips to help you get a better, electronic free, night’s sleep:
- Turn off all electronic devices at least an hour before going to bed.
- If you don’t want to turn your phone off at least silence it or put it on airplane mode.
- Use the “Night Shift” mode on your iPhone (Android phones have a similar function). Click here to see how.
- Don’t put your phone close to your bed. You might be tempted to check it.
Optometrist Dr. Gary Morgan offered a few more suggestions:
- “Observe the 20/20/20 Rule: Give eyes a break every 20 minutes and spend 20 seconds looking at something at least 20 feet away.
- “Lower Screen Brightness: Turn down the brightness level of device screens to reduce blue light exposure, especially during evening hours.” (The Oakland Press)
Experiment with these tips and find a system that works for you. We hope you will enjoy improved sleep in days to come. Leave us a comment and let us know what worked for you!