Not getting enough sleep?
A lack of sleep can affect your whole day, your mindset, your mood and your physical health (no matter how old you are).
When you are a child, sleep is the last thing you want to do. You have so much built up energy and just want to play. That is fair enough.
As an adult, sleep becomes much more valuable. There isn’t enough time in the day to do all the work, let alone sleep long enough.
The side effects of sleep deprivation can go on and on. In fact, if you do not get enough sleep for multiple days in a row, you can accumulate a sleep debt. A large sleep debt may lead to extreme mental or physical fatigue.
The only way to fix sleep debt… is to get more sleep!
However, you cannot fix your sleep debt overnight. You have to consistently get more sleep in order to start fixing it.
How much sleep do you need?
To avoid these side effects, how much sleep is needed? It differs from each age group and the younger you are, the more sleep you need. These are merely guidelines as it depends on various factors.
- Average adults: 7-9 hours daily
- Average teens: 9-10 hours daily
- Primary & Secondary children: 10-11 hours daily
- Preschoolers: 11-13 hours daily
How your family can get more (and better) sleep
There is no question that getting enough sleep is important for anyone. There are several things you can do that will help you and your family improve your sleep quality and improve the amount of sleep everyone gets. Here are 5 practical tips.
1. Prioritise sleep
Sounds easy? Sleep is overlooked because it may seem ‘unproductive’. The mindset about sleep needs to change and it needs to become a priority for yourself and your family.
Yes, you can do more work before bed, you can read an extra 30 minutes or… you could sleep. Most people wouldn’t choose the latter. If you are faced with a choice between more work or activities and sleep, start to prioritise sleep in some situations.
2. Create a bedtime routine
You know how you settle your kids into bed, read them a story, pray with them and tuck them in most nights? Adults need a bedtime routine as well!
Take the time to sit down and write out a bedtime routine that works for both you and your spouse. The important thing to note is that the routine needs to be telling your body ‘it’s time to relax and get ready to sleep’.
It may take a couple tries to see what actually works for you both. So, test it out for a week and see which routine you liked best and continue with that.
3. Control lighting exposure
When you or your family members are settling in for bed, the lighting in your room matters. Dim the lights one hour before you go to bed at the same time every night. When you’re trying to improve your sleep you need to build a consistent routine that can train your body and your mind.
4. No electronics the hour before bedtime
The blue light of any of the electronics we use regularly (phone, computer, TV etc) tricks our body into thinking it is still daytime when it isn’t. Turn off the television, put the phone away and get away from the computer.
This also helps you to turn off your mind from thinking about everything happening in your life and start to focus on going to sleep.
An evening walk with the family, playing footy at the park, or going to the gym is a great way to help you improve your sleep quality and possibly help you fall asleep faster. The good thing is you do not have to be able to run a marathon to use exercise to improve your sleep.
There’s no shortcut to better sleep
There’s no easy way to get better sleep. It takes dedication, commitment and perseverance to improve the amount of sleep and sleep quality.You simply need to prioritise your health – physically, mentally and spiritually. Our bodies are a temple for Christ to flow through and it’s important to ensure we are taking care of it.
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