Do you find yourself waking at night, feeling wide awake and unable to return to sleep? Did you know that approximately half of women and men suffer from insomnia, according to Stats Canada in 2017? I believe that this number is much higher during the pandemic where stress and anxiety have increased for many.
If you are looking for solutions, here are my top 4 tips for managing a night waking so that you can return to sleep more easily at night.
- Get out of bed and move to a different room in the house once 20 minutes have passed. Keep lights low, and do a relaxing activity such as some light reading. Once 20 minutes have passed or you begin to feel sleepy, then return to your bed. Doing this will allow you to associate your bed with a positive place where you can sleep easily, rather than not.
- Practice good sleep hygiene by waking up and going to bed at the same time each day. Have a relaxing bedtime routine most nights without screens at least 1-2 hours before going to bed.
- Decrease stress by controlling what you can. We may not always be able to change our circumstances, but we can move more during the day, keep healthy food on hand and breathe in the fresh air. Making positive changes to your routines will allow you to sleep more easily at night. Work with small actionable steps. Just a few minutes a day can positively impact your sleep.
- Create a list if stress and anxiety are keeping you awake. Write down everything that is on your mind at bedtime, or if you wake at night. Reading the list the next morning can help to improve stress during the night. You will always be able to find a better solution to the problem after a solid night of sleep!
Feeling ready to improve your sleep now? Schedule a complimentary call with me here.
Children are soon ending a long break from their last “normal” day at school. This is a time when I typically receive many questions about getting children back on their sleep schedule. However, this year could prove to be a bigger task than most if late nights, sleeping in, and a lack of routine have been happening regularly. Here are my top sleep tips for getting sleep back on track by September!
Get back on track now.
When does your child’s school day start and how much time is needed to have breakfast, get ready and commute to school? How much sleep is needed for your child? Make sure they are getting to bed early and receiving the appropriate amount of sleep for their age.
Have a bedtime routine.
Start working with a consistent bedtime routine each night. If bedtime has been later than it will be when school begins, start to adjust your child’s clock by 15 minutes every couple of days until you arrive at the desired bedtime.
Make sure some time outdoors with fresh air is happening regularly. The best hours will be when the school day is complete. This allows time to take a break, have some exercise, and get some fresh air. Hydrating properly, eating healthy food and having dedicated time to spend together as a family will also help maintain positive mental health for your child and the entire family. Placing importance in these areas will help your child sleep more easily at night.
Prepare you child for a different kind of school year.
Has your family decided to learn at home or attend school? Are they aware of what a “cohort” is or the importance of social distancing? Have some simple conversations about what school will be like:
- What are they looking forward to?
- Explain how the school year might look different and how some things might feel okay for them and some might feel different. Maintain a positive outlook while listening and validating their thoughts. If they are worried or concerned find ways to reassure them.
- Discuss the importance of proper handwashing and wearing a mask if it is necessary.
Keeping your child aware and keeping their mind at ease, can decrease the chance that your child will have a difficult time sleeping at night.
Have questions about sleep for your child or yourself as we approach new routines this September? I welcome you to call and schedule a free consultation here.
With the last long weekend of summer coming soon, the countdown is on for back-to-school! To ensure that our children feel rested and at their best when the bell rings on the first day, it is important to make sure that they are receiving the proper amount of good quality sleep.
If summer time took your children way off track with their sleep schedules (ie. they are sleeping until noon but are no where near the teenage years yet!) here are my essential sleep tips for getting sleep back on track, starting tonight.
Start an early bedtime now.
There is no time like the present to get your children into an early bedtime routine before the first day of class. Start now – make sure that children are going to sleep no later than 8:00 p.m. so that they can get 9-11 hours of much needed sleep! Children will go through 5 sleep cycles, 5-6 times per night and each one is essential to help them focus, be creative, solve problems and be in a good mood at school. Not getting enough night time sleep means being forgetful, grumpy, impatient and can cause difficulty listening to teachers. For children that are in their first or second year of Kindergarten (as young as 3 or 4 years of age in Ontario), be prepared for overtiredness. If they are showing signs of fatigue, such as having more melt downs than usual, then moving bedtime earlier by even just 15 minutes can help them become more rested.
Use bedtime/morning routine charts.
Bedtime routine charts are an excellent tool to help re-establish that bedtime routine that may have been lacking or non-existent during the more flexible days of summer vacation. Creating one with children is easy by talking about the different steps in their routine, using clip art for a visual and posting it in their bedroom.
Morning routine charts are also an extremely useful tool to help with getting back in the groove for busier mornings. Having a list for children with important steps like, brushing teeth, getting dressed, and packing their lunch will eliminate frustration and that rushed feeling before heading out the door. Having a chart is both a fun checklist that children enjoy using each morning and a mental checklist for parents to refer to as well!
Implement school wake-up time.
In order to set children up for success on the first day of school, begin implementing the morning wake-up time now. If children are still sleeping in later than they will on a school day, then it is time to push bedtime even earlier. Getting enough sleep means waking up easily on their own and feeling rested without an alarm or wake-up call from parents.
Completing as many tasks as possible before school mornings is crucial to help the morning flow more easily. Decide on school-safe snacks to keep handy in the pantry along with grab and go fruits and vegetables, label all clothing and shoes before the first day, and select 5 days of school outfits with your child on Sunday night. Making a list of simple and nutritious dinners such as pasta, vegetables, and a protein or a taco night will minimize the after school dinner rush too. Decide on the weekend and refer to your list each morning!
Parent’s sleep needs.
Taking care of our own sleep needs as parents is essential to enjoying and succeeding in the awesome role of raising children. Be kind to yourself and make sure that you are getting 7-8 hours of uninterrupted sleep too. Turn off all electronics at least 1 hour before bedtime, and create your own bedtime routine to help yourself stay on track with sleep, along with your child, during the busy and fun back-to-school season!