When we talk about sleep problems in families, the conversation often centers around the needs of the family’s youngest members when, in fact, sleep deprivation can be a major problem for parents as well. Even the most compassionate moms and dads can find themselves at wits’ end with their little ones when they are caught in a self-perpetuating cycle of bad days and worse nights. It may be a challenge, but developing healthy sleep habits for the whole family can have positive effects that will last a lifetime.

Until around five, children need at least twelve hours of sleep, and when they don’t get it, the effects can be devastating. In a young child, a lack of sleep can be the catalyst for tantrums, feeding problems, cognitive impairment, memory issues, and, some researchers theorize, may even be a precursor for ADHD.  By the time elementary school rolls around, children need an average of ten hours per night and teens need just over eight. However, sleep deprivation remains a very real issue for older children as well, with consequences like mood swings, anxiety, and poor performance in school.

Parents often bear the brunt of their family’s sleep deprivation, spending their days having to wrangle grumpy children while in a fog of exhaustion. The impact of too many sleepless nights can potentially result in everything from mood disorders to heart disease and obesity. It may seem that there simply aren’t enough hours in the day to solve the family’s sleep problems, but a few easy tips may help get you back on the right track.

Take some down time before hitting the sack: Having a routine before bed can help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. Whether you read a book or do a few yoga poses, a relaxing ritual every evening before your head hits the pillow can make a big difference.

Keep other activities out of the bedroom: If your family loves to eat, play, or watch TV in bed, now’s the time to break yourselves of that bad habit. Make your bed a sacred space for sleeping and you’ll have an easier time turning in at night.

Implement a “no screens before sleep” policy for everyone: A recent study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences suggests that reading on your phone, tablet, or computer within an hour or two of bedtime might actually be the reason you’re having difficulty drifting off. So avoid those glowing electronics before you go to sleep.

You can’t be your best self when you’re exhausted. Taking a few simple steps now can help you, and your family, look forward to a happier, healthier, and better-rested future.

 

Share this:

More in this category: Building Relationships in Blended Families » Teaching Children Humility » What Does Mindful Parenting Look Like? » How Do We Show Our Families We Love Them? » Avoiding Good Cop, Bad Cop with a Balanced Approach » Modeling Positive Behaviour Through Community » Balancing Childrearing and Career » Shielding Children From Marriage Troubles » Build Confidence as a Parent » Dental Health from Baby Teeth to Braces » 20 Tips for Preventing the Spread of Germs » Sleepover Check List » Packed Lunch » Santa, Online » Holiday Gifts to Make with Kids » Holiday Do’s (and One Don’t) for Teens » 5 Ways for Little Hands to Help During the Holidays » Halloween Crafts » Brown-bagging it » Getting Carried Away » Six Questions with Author Sanjay Nambiar » Get Outside! » Cyberbullying » Getting Ready for Sleepaway Camp » A Handful of Gratitude & How to Teach It to Our Kids » Calling all UK Families for Jo Frost Family Matters » Halloween and Allergies, A Heads Up » When Opt-Out Isn’t An Option » Jo Frost Rewards » Family SOS with Jo Frost Premieres May 28th on TLC » Gifts For a New Baby » Girl Power » Jo Frost’s Toddler SOS » Black History Month » 10 Holiday Tips for Kids » Kids and Natural Disasters » Good Cop, Bad Cop » Can Women Have It All? » The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee » Jo’s New Show » Family Valentine’s Day Activities » Gender Marketing » Holiday Dinner Table Tips for Teens » Book Signings, TV Show Premiere Date & More » Happy Birthday, Jo! » Celebrate the Royal Wedding » Kids, Food Dye And ADHD » Jo’s Extreme Parental Guidance Roadshows hit the U.K. » Reading, Writing, Tweeting, Blogging » One Good Deed » UK Families: Are You In Need of Jo’s Expert Advice and Extreme Parental Guidance? » Have a British-American Christmas » Are Your Kids Tuning In or Tuning Out? » Get Back to Giving Back » Come On and Get Healthy (on the ‘net!) » YOU Time » Off to college, they go! » Create your own Waterpark! » Announcement about the website » Dental care » Kids and nature » Great crafts for kids of all ages » Talk about sex with kids » Unique and handmade presents » TIP OF THE MONTH » Videos that made us laugh » Children’s homework » Bon Appetit! » Children and their dreams » Summertime … and the livin’ is easy » Family comes first » New activities » Women’s History Month » Tune out » Fun kid activities » New Year » Halloween or Mischief night » Good ideas for after-school programs » Some tips for your vacation »
Read previous post:
Kids Talk About Love

In honor of Valentine's Day, myself and my team asked children to tell us what love means to them. I've...

Close