This is your brain. This is your brain without sleep. Any questions?
photo courtesy of worldsleepfoundation.org
New clients come to me for one of three reasons: 1.) They are utterly exhausted and personally in great need of some sleep. 2.) They are concerned that their children are not getting the sleep they need to be healthy & happy individuals. Or 3.) A combo of reasons 1 & 2 – after all, when your kids aren’t sleeping, neither are you!. If you have not yet caught on to the fact that you need to prioritize YOUR sleep, please read on.
As a pediatric sleep expert, I am constantly sharing the importance of healthy sleep for children. But what about parents? In the shuffle, we often put ourselves last behind the needs of our children. When it comes to sleep, we need to rethink our priorities. To be happy, well functioning adults and great parents, we need to get our sleep. Oddly enough, much of the good sleep hygiene that I tout as “the foundations of healthy sleep” for children are also important for adults. For example – adults are also in need a consistent calming pre-bedtime routine (no this isn’t just important for babies!); a bedroom that is as dark as can be and free of electronics and other distractions; and we too sleep best in a cool environment. I recently came across this article “6 Secrets to Better Sleep” on Entrepenuer.com which not only outlines how to get healthy sleep, but also why healthy sleep is key. Check it out here.
In my opinion, one of the easiest (yet most neglected) things you can do for your sleep is having a consistent pre-bedtime ritual. For some of us it is as simple as reading (from a traditional book – no light emitting devices), for others its knitting or listening to music. No matter what you choose, try to create a consistent routine that you can implement night after night as second nature. Check out this great article from the Huffington Post with ideas for your bedtime routine.
So take control of your own sleep, if not for you, than do it for your children as they need you well rested state to be the best parent you can be!
Amy Lage is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts Amherst and a Family Sleep Institute certified Pediatric Sleep Consultant. She is founder of Well Rested Baby (www.wellrestedbaby.com). She offers a host of services including in person, phone, email and Skype/FaceTime consultations that can be tailored to meet any family’s needs and schedule. Amy, her husband Jeff, their 4 year old Stella, their 2 year old Harley, and their two dogs Jackson and Cody live in Beverly Farms, Massachusetts. Please email her at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions. Be sure to follow WRB on Facebook and twitter for more great sleep tips!