As probably every parent on the planet can attest to, once our little bundles of joy enter the world sleep generally becomes a thing of the past – well, for at least quite a few long and tiresome years to come!
Of course, any sacrifice in the world is worth the joy, love and laughter children bring into our homes and lives.
However, sleep is, of course, a vital part of both our mental and physical wellbeing and should definitely not be overlooked or neglected.
Mums-of-five generally more well-rested
Recently a study called the Amerisleep survey has revealed there is some rather unexpected light at the end of the sleep deprivation dark tunnel.
The results included a rather surprising revelation that – wait for it – mums with more bubs actually get more sleep than those with fewer children.
Yes, you heard that right!
One statistic showed that a mum-of-five averaged nine hours of sleep per night and was generally more well-rested than a mum-of-three, averaging 8.8 hours a night.
Baffled as to how this could possibly be?
Well, according to experts, it could most likely be due to the fact parents of three are, for the first time, being outnumbered by their children, causing them to become overwhelmed and struggling to implement and stick to effective bedtime routines.
Yet, on the other hand, through time and experience, parents of bigger broods had mastered the art of sleep routines fitting into the demands of their busy lives. Therefore leading to sounder and longer sleep patterns for families overall.
But before you start desperately trying to conceive in the hope you might eventually get some much-needed shut-eye, there are several steps you can take to reach the idyllic night’s sleep you have been striving for.
1. Routine is key
Implementing and sticking to a regular night-time routine has shown to lead to sleep success. Everyone’s schedules will differ but for example, mapping out a routine with set dinnertime, set bath-time, capped screen time/play time and a bonding experience like reading a book before bed will train your child to get into a regular bedtime routine that they can follow and anticipate.
2. Inviting sleep environment
Ensuring that your child has a calming, quiet and relaxing sleep environment will no doubt help them to drift into a serene state of slumber.
Things you can do to help create an inviting sleep atmosphere include ensuring low or minimal lighting within their bedroom, minimising loud household noise and/or play soft and peaceful relaxation music, comfy and warm bedding, and things like a security blanket or soft teddy can help to comfort your little one as they drift off.
3. Avoid using the word ‘sleep’
As tricky as this may sound, it has been proven that avoiding the use of the word ‘sleep’ and trying to steer away from focusing on the process of falling asleep during bedtime routines can help produce better results.
The reasoning is that if a child is too focused on the idea of knowing they need to sleep, it can cause anxiety and stress – leading to delayed sleep and restless nights.
Instead, it is recommended to centre bedtime routines more around rest, relaxation and rejuvenation in a positive and logical approach.
4. Go unplugged
Another proven method to assist with better, sounder sleep patterns within children (and adults alike) is limiting the use of electronics before bedtime.
Or even better, trying to avoid them all together at least half an hour before it’s time to snooze.
Turning off TVs, smartphones, iPads and computers will likely help your child to wind down from their busy daytime activities and also limit unnecessary distractions during their bedtime routines.
5. Focus on food
Health and nutrition is always an important focus within your child’s life and should remain so during their daily bedtime routines.
Wrong food choices filled with sugar and/or caffeine can cause havoc with sleep, but we don’t want our little ones going to bed on an empty tummy either.
If they are yearning for a bedtime snack, try and opt for nutritional choices such as crackers, oatmeal, fruit, yoghurt or a cup of warm milk before tucking them in tight and saying goodnight.
And remember, a well-rested parent is just as important as a well-rested child to lead to success – so here’s to encouraging sweet dreams and peaceful slumber all round.