Do you model good sleep hygiene for your children? Is that even possible if your children go to bed before you do?
I was recently invited to sit on an expert panel to discuss how mothers can make health and wellness a priority. The focus was on nutrition, fitness and sleep. The attendees were honest about how these threes pillars are often neglected, how they have overcome some of the obstacles in doing so and what still needs work.
As mothers, our natural instinct to be caregivers and nurturers often places us into roles where we don’t value enough time for ourselves. This leads to impacts to our overall health, mood and productivity. Determining why we don’t make ourselves a priority is a difficult question to answer. Learning how to shift that mindset can be equally as difficult.
The To-Do List Never Ends
But what type of example does this set for our children. Dedicating all of our time to our families (and other commitments) could send a message that the health and wellness of mothers isn’t important. Will our children grow up and raise their families the same way?
Even if you aren’t motivated enough to make these changes for yourself, the shift to making yourself a priority simply in the interest of establishing that behaviour in your child might be the catalyst you need. It’s easy to see how our nutritional choices and making time for physical fitness can influence the choices our children make. Have you ever considered how your sleep hygiene can also help them establish and maintain a healthy relationship with sleep?
Even though you go to bed after your child, but that doesn’t mean your sleep habits don’t go unnoticed. Here’s how to make sure you are setting an example when it comes to good sleep hygiene.
3 Tips to Set a Good Example
- Keep Electronics out of the Bedroom. If your children see electronic devices in your bedroom they could develop an interest in doing the same. Your bedroom should be a dedicated space for sleep (and intimacy). The blue light from electronics can impact your body’s sleep patterns, making it difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep. The lure of watching one more episode can make you fight the urge to go to sleep.
- Go to Bed at an Appropriate Time for your Sleep Needs. If you are always complaining about being tired (and suffering the physical and emotional effects that it has on you) it could send the message that sleep isn’t a valuable part of your day. Women need more sleep than men due to the amount of multi-tasking we do each day. Are you even surprised? Limiting the duration of sleep we need can lead to a host of issues, including depression, irritability, and forgetfulness. All things that can negatively impact how we interact with our children.
- Establish a Routine. You have probably worked hard to maintain a bedtime routine for your child. Why not do the same for yourself? Mentally preparing yourself through a nightly routine can go a long way to reducing anxiety, helping you prepare for sleep and for the coming day. Consider incorporating guided meditation practices, reading, colouring or journaling to help transition you from a busy day to a restful night.
A Visual Reminder
And just like children can benefit from visual reminders to help learn new things and complete tasks, we too as adults sometimes needs the extra encouragement.I’m excited to share some great cards that our friends at Casper passed along to me. They’re dedicated to researching the health benefits of quality sleep, and even created a new type of mattress. Check is out here. You can also download these Good Sleep Hygiene Tip Cards and post them wherever you need a reminder.