Sleeping with kids
Having kids is easy right? They said have more than one, it gets easier. What they didn’t tell you is how much your sleep would be stolen for years to come. Let’s see how you can sleep better with kids and keep your sanity.
As a father of 2 and anointed night time snuggle king, I have had my fair share of sleep deprivation. I want to share with you how you can still set yourself up for optimum sleep in the most trying circumstances.
I am going to start at the beginning of the day, because what you are doing throughout the day is going to have more of an impact on the quality of your sleep than right there in the moment at night.
Light is your power switch. When you wake up in the morning, you want to be awake right, not in some half groggy slumber state especially when you are hearing the MOM!! DAD!! And the demands of a 2 year old.
Expose yourself to bright light within a few minutes of waking up. This can be standing in front of a bright window, going outside, or during these darker months a bright light therapy device. (sleep tip – grab an led spotlamp from Home Depot or Lowes. Shine this on you when you are making your coffee or in the bathroom getting ready.) The lights around your house are not bright enough.
This light is going to set your body up for having proper cortisol and melatonin curves throughout the day and aligning your body clocks so when bedtime does come, your body will be ready to enter the right phases at the right times.
Don’t overstimulate yourself
The next, component to watch out for is your caffeine consumption. Try to finish up your coffee by 12pm and no more than 200mg of caffeine. If you are sensitive to caffeine even earlier. Caffeine stays in the body for awhile, so that cup you have at 3pm is going to be interacting with your sleep at 12am.
During the day get outside for a few minutes to get bright daylight into your eyes. No sunglasses. They filter out the light that you want and need. This can be a great energy boost over caffeine or sweets.
Avoid mama’s juice at night
Lastly, avoid having that glass of wine or beer before bed to unwind. It is a false sense of sleep. Alcohol will give you a poorer quality sleep.
8 Tips for getting back to sleep at night
Ok, now for the bedtime environment. Here is what I found worked for me.
- Get in the routine of taking a magnesium glycinate supplement in the evening to promote relaxation and deep sleep.
- Avoid eating too close to bed – digestion takes away energy that is used for sleep.
- Make sure the house is cool. 60-68F for the best sleep. I used a space heater for the kids room to keep them warmer, so I could keep my sleep environment cooler.
- Install red LED lights in the kids room and bathrooms. Red light is the least disruptive to sleep. This way when you wake up or even your kids, melatonin will not be suppressed. More melatonin means better quality sleep.
- If you have to turn on lights, wear a pair of amber or red blue blocking glasses and use the least amount of light as possible.
- Get rid of or cover up any clocks that you can see the time. This one is HUGE. Seeing the time sets up a few chain of events. 1. You quickly compute how much time you have left to sleep. 2. Frustration over being woken up at that time. 3. Increased alertness which makes it hard to go back to sleep.
- You can trick your brain also. Since you don’t know the time, you can tell yourself you have plenty of time left to sleep which helps to ease back into sleep.
- Avoid sleeping in too long the next morning. Get up and get that light. Being consistent trains the body and brain to optimize itself.
Things that can be keeping kids up at night
On the flip side and is a whole other topic, kids are little antennae for their environments also. If they are waking up frequently look into the different factors that could be causing wakeups. Too long or late of naps, light exposure (using a white night light), too hot or cold room and clothes, air quality (add a purifier to help with stuffy noses), air too dry, WIFI (kids are more sensitive to this), EMF from baby monitors
Be the best parent you can be by getting the best sleep you can during this period of your life. Enroll in Build Better Sleep’s Invest in Sleep program.