You’re going to have sleep-deprived nights – whether it’s because of little ones crawling into bed with you or because you finally had the chance to have a night out with friends and it went a little longer than planned.
We know a good night’s sleep is good for us, and we know it makes us feel better. Sleep deprivation can result in poor memory, poor concentration, mild mood swings and slowed reaction times.
Studies also show a correlation between sleep deprivation and weight gain and other health conditions.
So if you find yourself lacking the requisite rest, here are some ideas.
Make it a Priority
If you’ve decided that bedtime is 10 p.m., make bedtime be 10 p.m. Forget that work project, forget the dirty dishes and make it a point of hopping in bed at the same time every night.
Free up Your Schedule
If your schedule is so jam-packed that you’re unable to get enough sleep, it’s time to loosen it up a little bit. You can occasionally order takeout – or watch that late night TV show the next day – in favor of some solid sleep.
Make a Routine
Routines work for children just as well as they work for grown-ups. Let your body know that it’s time to settle down by coming up with a simple bedtime routine. It could be as simple as changing into pajamas, brushing your teeth and reading a little bit before bed. If you occasionally need to reach for the Zzzquil, go for it.
Televisions, computers, tablets and smartphones emit artificial light and can keep us up at night. Make the decision to unplug an hour (OK, fine, a half hour) before bedtime so your brain knows that it’s no longer in work mode. Trade in social media for a hot shower and cozy slippers.
Work with the Kid Factor
Babies and toddlers can be unpredictable, but if you can, get them on a schedule – they need good sleep, too! If you’re waking up several times a night, trade turns with your spouse on who gets to sleep in on weekends.
If you can catch a catnap during the week, take it! Room-darkening shades and some white noise can help you get in the mood for napping. Also, the soothing scents of vanilla and jasmine in Ultra Downy® Infusions™ Sweet Dreams™ Fabric Softener will have your bedding smelling fresh all night long.
If you can, hire a sitter to take the kids out for a couple hours one afternoon while you and your partner get some much-needed rest. But of course if a lack of sleep is a consistent, life-altering problem, be sure to see your doctor.