When school or work routines change to include remote, at-home formats here are some helpful tips that can help you sleep better.
First, some background about our sleep.
Healthy sleep begins with two natural internal processes that help keep our bodies on track. The first process increases our need to sleep the longer we are awake. The second process, the circadian rhythm, runs on a 24-hour cycle where we feel most awake during the day and sleepiest at night. This circadian process is strongly influenced by light. The timing of the circadian rhythm can vary from person to person. This is why we have “night owls” and “morning larks.”
Generally, children have the earliest circadian timing of all age groups with a need to be asleep earlier in the evening. Teenagers and younger adults have the latest sleep schedule making early bedtimes and waketimes particularly challenging for this age group. Older adults tend to shift back to an earlier sleep-wake schedule. Although each child and parent may have their own bedtime preference, spending timing in natural light and establishing a day and night routine can help to promote healthy sleep.
Making Time for SLEEP
Establish a regular routine and structure. Set times for sleep and wake. Keep or return to structured activities in your days, especially if your schedules changed over the summer.
Spend time in natural light. Whether outdoors or inside, bright daylight helps you feel alert. Avoid napping except for young children.
Limit use of electronics before bed. Turn off electronics an hour before bed and keep the room dark, cool, comfortable, and ready for sleep.
Exercise regularly. Physical activity increases your drive to sleep at night as well as reduces stress and improves mood.
Prioritize your sleep by reinforcing the benefits of sleep for your family. Model good sleep habits to help children understand the importance of sleep.