February 23, 2021
Get your kids and yourself back to sleep with dos and don’ts for restful zzzs
A second pandemic seems to be brewing as the impact of Covid-19 takes a toll on our sleep. According to the NIH, that impact has resulted in high rates of stress, anxiety, and clinically significant insomnia, now described as coronasomnia. If your family is having trouble getting a good night’s sleep these days, here are ways to get your zzzs back on track.
Stick to a routine. At-home learning and working has turned our lives upside down. Commutes and school bells are no longer calling, leaving wake-up times a little more lax. But setting a routine schedule with consistent bedtimes and wake-up times every day (that means weekends too) will not only keep your body’s internal clock, or circadian rhythm, in check and support better sleep, but it will also promote a healthier immune system. Win-win.
Use bedrooms for anything but sleep. Try to designate a separate room or space for schooling and working from home. Bedrooms should be a place where kids can calm their minds so they can rest more easily. Having distracting devices and reminders of school or work stress in the bedroom makes it a less-than-ideal spot for a restful snooze.
Limit screen time before bed. This may seem difficult given that most families need devices to function at school and work but hear us out: It’s important to monitor overexposure to our devices to score better sleep. Schedule device-free breaks throughout the day and limit screen exposure at night. Make it “lights out” on TV and devices at least one hour before bedtime. Circle’s Bedtime feature can help you turn off devices at a scheduled time every evening.
Spend all day indoors. Our circadian rhythm responds to light and darkness so it’s important for our bodies to absorb sunlight and fresh air throughout the day. And without school sports and social interactions, it’s important for kids to get that extra stimulation by moving about. Go for a walk, bike ride or throw the ball around. Sitting on the bed all day doing schoolwork, playing on devices and then trying to sleep is a big Don’t.
Schedule downtime activities before bedtime. Swap video games for board games, put together puzzles, or encourage new hobbies like making art or playing an instrument to get kids away from their devices before bedtime. Circle’s Off Time feature can help you schedule time for your family to engage in more IRL activities, like journal writing, which can help kids and parents calm any thoughts that might provoke tossing and turning.
Consume caffeine before bedtime. This may seem like a no-brainer but drinking tea, coffee and soda before bedtime will disrupt your sleep, as will alcohol, chocolate, and spicy foods. Instead, opt for herbal teas or even grab a bedtime snack rich in melatonin (nuts, rice, olives, broccoli and cucumbers, for example), which helps regulate your internal clock. In general, make sure to give your body time to digest dinner before hitting the hay.
Check with your doctor if problems persist. If your child is often sleepy throughout the day and not getting the recommended sleep he or she needs on a daily basis, consult with your doctor. Promoting good sleep hygiene early will ensure many health benefits down the road.
Learn how Circle can help you limit devices throughout the day so you can sleep better at night.