Jenni June’s 11 Step #SleepHygiene Recovery Program for Parents:
Once I get the kiddos sleeping better, I get to work on the parents!
- Optimum restorative sleep hours for adults: 10PM to 6AM
- Respect and anticipate your need for sleep, just as you anticipate your need for food.
- AT 8:30pm- Write your ‘to do’ list for the next day, in order to help turn your brain off and resist the urge to check your phone/email/social media later on.
- AT 9pm- Shut down all screen devices (laptop, tablet, smart phone, TV, video games, etc.) According to a study conducted by Harvard University [[INCLUDE LINK OR CITATION HERE OF THAT STUDY]] the blue light that emanates from all screen devices stimulates the brain and the tricks it into thinking that it’s daylight outside, which sabotages melatonin production (those powerful sleep hormones) and messes with your circadian rhythms.
- Begin your bedtime routine gradually over the span of about an hour. This prepares and relaxes you before bed, signaling to your brain and body that sleep is about to come, kick-starting melatonin production so that sleep will come easier and be deeper. This should follow directly after making your ‘to do’ list. This routine can include gradually dimming the lights as you draw closer to bedtime, quiet dinner/intimacy with your spouse/massage, meditation, prayer, yoga, listening to music, bath/shower, reading a book, magazine, knitting, painting, writing in your journal, etc.
- Room conditions for optimal sleep: Cool (68 to 71 degrees), dark (black out shades), quiet (If you choose to have some form of “background noise” while you sleep, it must be ambient sound, such as white noise. No ocean waves, rain, or music. These have notable detectable rhythms and beats that arouse the brain awake during lighter stages of your sleep cycles. I recommend a true white noise machine, such as the Marpac Dohm DS.)
- Expose yourself to at least 20 minutes of the rising morning sun. It’s a wonderful time to take a walk, have breakfast and coffee outside, do yoga, stretching or working out in front of a window, and even playing with your child before work (because they need this, too!).
- Take a vitamin D3 and magnesium supplement before noon each day. Check with your doctor for recommended dosage, and to make sure it won’t react adversely with any other medications you may be taking.
- Eat foods rich in iron. Low iron equals poor sleep at night!
- Avoid processed foods, sugars and simple carbohydrates. You will lose your craving for these things once you are well rested.
- Regular daily exercise, as approved by your doctor, (approximately 30-60 minutes). Best to get your workout on before 6PM.
Commit to these lifestyle changes completely for 3 weeks and you will be a changed man/woman! You will be more productive in less time, more focused, creative, relaxed, less anxious, increased libido, improve your immune system, memory and… enjoy parenting so much more!
Written by Jenni June Certified Child and Family Sleep Consultant, CLC and Mom of four amazing young adults!