“Mom, I can’t sleep” is a phrase I have heard off and on during my parent journey, but never so much as I have these past few months. I have two kids who have experienced different sleep challenges all throughout their lives. One of my kids could fall asleep in the middle of chaos and noise while the other struggles to fall asleep, even in the ideal sleep setting.
The strangeness of living through a pandemic has impacted our life in a million little ways, including our sleeping schedules. Maybe it started with a later bedtime that’s made mornings start later and later. It could be a body that’s not getting as much physical movement during the day and just isn’t as tired at night. For some, the anxiety coming from the changes and unknown future catch-up once the lights turn off and it gets harder and harder to fall asleep. With so many differences in our day to day living right now (school from home, work from home, socialize from home)etc. a consistent sleep schedule can easily get lost.
Consistent sleep is important for both the physical and mental health of each person in your family. Healthy sleep increases our immunity, keeps our bodies regulated throughout the day. A lack of good sleep can cause increased stress response and we can see an increase in irritation, forgetfulness, difficulties learning, and challenges in taking in new information. Poor sleep can negatively impact one’s experience of depression and anxiety. A lack of sleep overtime can also impact one’s experience of depression and anxiety.
Sleep is important and taking time to evaluate your family’s current sleep rhythms for what’s working and what’s not is important to the overall health of the family. Here are some easy and simple actions you can take that can help get you and your kids back on a healthy sleep schedule.
- Talk through anxieties that come up during the day, so that they are not all waiting for nighttime to pop up
- Maintain a consistent bedtime and wake up time each day
- Develop an evening routine for you and your kiddos. Start at least an hour before bedtime and turn off the screens, it really does help!
- Get active during the day, it will help your body be ready to sleep at night. This is especially important for our kiddos who may be sitting the majority of their day in front of a screen for school.
- Limit the consumption of sugary or caffeinated foods or drinks before bed
- Sleep before you get overtired- sometimes kids can struggle to fall asleep when they get overtired. A simple thing such as moving their bedtime forward by 30 minutes may help them fall asleep before they reach the overtired stage of the night.
We all know that life is going to happen, and there will just be some of those days when falling asleep is hard. Our hope for your family is that this doesn’t become the norm and that you all can start finding some consistency once again!
We’ve got more simple steps for not just surviving but thriving as a family right now. Register today for our FREE online parenting class “Parenting in a Pandemic: Secrets for Survival.” It’s full of helpful information about the impact of anxiety on the brain and body and simple survival tips that you can start using today with your family.