When Your Family is Experiencing Sleep Issues, Taking These Steps Can Help
Whether it’s you or your kids struggling to fall asleep at night, it could be a change in your nightly routines or sleep environments that make all the difference. Here are a few tips and suggestions that may help.
Update Your Family’s Bedrooms for Maximum Comfort
Your family’s bedrooms should be havens for sleep. Are they set up that way? Things to think about:
• Is your mattress right?
• How’s the comfort of the clothes you’re sleeping in?
• Are your curtains doing their job keeping the room dark enough?
If your answer is “no” for any of the above, then you have a good place to start.
Minimize Your Family’s Screen Time During Evening Hours
The debate over screens and whether it’s harmful, helpful, or a little bit of both for children is still quite active. When it comes to helping your children get better sleep, though, the evidence is much clearer: Evening screen use disrupts sleep. This happens in several different ways, but the main takeaway for parents should be that using screens before bed interferes with key processes that help the brain and body fall asleep and stay asleep throughout the night. So if you or your children are experiencing insomnia or other sleep problems, time on an electronic devise may be to blame.
To see if removing screens will remove your sleep issues, try turning off screens at least two to three hours before your family gets into bed. Need some alternatives to help your family relax and wind down? A calming bedtime routine that includes a warm bath, story time, and even playing relaxing music or white noise sleep sounds are a much better way to get kids to fall asleep with ease. So try a few out and find what works for your family, then keep that routine as consistent as possible.
Know When to Consult Your Family’s Doctor for Help With Sleep Issues
Adjusting your family’s environment and nighttime habits should be your first step for helping them sleep better. If those changes don’t work, though, it may be time to speak with your healthcare providers about your concerns. For instance, if parents or children wake in the night gasping and feel tired all day, they may be exhibiting symptoms of sleep apnea. Sleep apnea can be a result of physical health issues that require treatment in order to improve sleep quality.
Children or adults who are on the Autism spectrum may also experience frequent insomnia. Your healthcare provider may recommend making other lifestyle changes to decrease any Autism-related insomnia symptoms, but he/she can also prescribe medications if needed. More often than not, melatonin supplements will be preferred to prescription sleep medications, but it’s likely that a sleep study will be required before a final treatment can be recommended to help you and your children improve your sleep quality.
A good night’s sleep is crucial for helping both your brain and body to recharge and stay healthy. So if you or your children are struggling to fall asleep, stay asleep, or get the quality of sleep you need to take on the day, you should try making minor adjustments to enhance your sleep environment and improve your bedtime routines. If those modifications don’t work, talk to your doctor about other actions you can take to ensure your family gets the sleep they need to thrive.