Not much tops sliding between the sheets to nestle down for a good night’s sleep. But when your brain won’t shut off, use these tips to encourage restful, restorative sleep.
Develop and stick to a sleep schedule. Most adults need between seven and eight hours of sleep. Try going to bed and waking up at the same time each day. Consistency benefits your body’s sleep-wake cycle.
Don’t toss and turn. After 20 minutes, if you’re still staring at the ceiling, get up. Find something relaxing to do—in another room. Read a book. Listen to music. Don’t watch TV or play on a tablet or smartphone. When your eyelids begin to droop, go back to bed and try again.
Watch evening snacking. Heavy meals or snacks weigh you down making it harder to fall asleep. Avoid consuming caffeine or alcohol close to bedtime. Caffeine takes hours to wear off; switch to decaf mid-afternoon. A glass of wine might make you feel sleepy, but it can ruin your sleep.
Design a den. Create an environment that fosters sleeping — a cool, dark and quiet room with room-darkening shades and a white noise machine or fan is perfect.
Try not to nap. Long naps can wreak havoc with your nighttime sleep routine. If you need a power nap, do it earlier in the day; set your alarm for 30 minutes.
Exercise. No, you don’t have to hit the gym every day, but getting in 30 minutes of daily activity fosters better sleep, too. If you must workout close to bedtime, follow these steps to keep it from negatively impacting your sleep.
Creating good sleep habits for kids
Most people — including kids of all ages — thrive on routine. Develop a good, healthy sleep routine for your kids. In lieu of driving aimlessly for hours each night to get your little one to sleep, try these suggestions:
Identify your kids’ sleep patterns. Your son might be a night owl and your daughter might prefer to rise early. Adjust bed and wake-up times accordingly. The Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine published updated sleep recommendations based on age in 2017.
Develop a consistent bedtime routine. A warm bath, snuggle time and story help kids wind down and prep for sleep.
Power down. Turn off electronics and TV two hours before bedtime. Research has shown that even 30 minutes of screen time before bed disrupts melatonin levels. Keep TVs, phones, and tablets out of the bedroom.
Stay cool. Kids sleep better when their bodies are cooler. Don’t bundle them up in layers; set the thermostat lower.
Get anti-monster spray. Bedtime fears are real to kids. So spritz the room with “Go Away Monster” spray, write and chant an incantation, set one of your child’s toys to stand guard, or try one of these 40 solutions for helping your kid face and triumph over her fears and anxiety.
Watch calories. Eating too closely to bedtime—especially if the snacks have excessive sugar or caffeine—can keep kids up. If she suffers a snack attack, offer her one of these options about 45 minutes before bedtime.
Set rules and stick to them. Setting context for rules—for older kids especially—is important. You’ll likely get less pushback if you explain to them that the light from screens disrupts their melatonin or that short-changing sleep can cause real physical and mental issues.
Be a role model. If your kids can’t have smartphones or tablets in their rooms, keep your room device-free, too.
When siblings share a bedroom
Sharing a bedroom provides siblings with a great opportunity to bond—and engage in epic pillow fights. But just because your kids share a room doesn’t mean they should go to bed at the same time. Redfin offers some practical suggestions for helping kids share a bedroom peacefully.
A good night’s sleep affects your physical and mental health, productivity, emotional well-being and energy levels. Sleep gives your brain down time to form new memories, process information and even remove toxins that build up when you’re awake. Whether you’re four, 44, or 104, it’s important to make restful sleep a priority.