I don’t really consider myself to be an “expert” on too many things, but there’s one thing I feel that I know a LOT about: sleepless nights. I mean, I have 2-year-old twins. I think that qualifies me for some kind of expert designation or title in the sleep realm, don’t you?!
As parents, getting enough sleep can be quite a challenge. In fact, less than 10% of parents of young children get 8 hours a night! It’s almost reassuring to know that – it can often feel like we’re the only parents we know struggling like this – but being behind on sleep and looking after kids takes a lot out of you. Luckily, it isn’t all doom and gloom – there’s a light at the end of the tunnel: there are ways to improve your sleep without giving in and getting a hotel room for the night. Your lifestyle, your house, and your bed all contribute to the amount (and quality) of sleep you get.
Why your mattress matters
You’ve probably told the story a million times: the test of true princess-hood is that the princess is able to feel, through a hundred mattresses, a single pea, and it renders her unable to sleep. The reality isn’t nearly as dramatic, but your mattress quality really does impact the quality and length of your sleep. On a comfortable mattress, you’re less likely to wake up after you fall asleep (unless the kids need you), you sleep more deeply, and your body keeps you warmer. If you find yourself waking up a lot during the night, it may be that your mattress isn’t the best, and the data shows that you really do need a good mattress to get a good night’s sleep. Of course, if the kids wake you up, it’s a different case entirely – you can’t be expected to sleep through that!
The never-ending chore: Why cleanliness affects sleep
Clutter can also have an impact on how we sleep. Keeping your house, and especially your bedroom, clean and tidy can improve the quality and length of sleep. If you have a lot of clutter around your house, especially in the place you sleep, that can drive your stress levels up and your sleep quality down. It depends how sensitive you are to messes or clutter, of course, but knowing you have to pick it all up tomorrow will make it harder to both get to sleep and stay asleep. It might be tempting to leave your room a little messy, especially when you’re keeping the house clean for the kids. But for the sake of your sleep, you should really make sure, at the very least, that it’s neat and that everything is in the right place.
Active people sleep better
Yes, it’s true: families who live active, healthy lifestyles get to sleep faster and stay asleep longer. That doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your time or time with your family to get to the gym, though. Half an hour of moderate activity every day helps your body relax – it can be as easy as a family walk around the neighborhood, a bike ride, or physical games you can play as a family like tag or tennis. Just make sure you get that out of the way at least an hour before bedtime – otherwise, you’ll still be energized and find it harder to fall asleep.
Of course, there are other things that affect how we sleep: physical activity can tire us out and help us sleep better, our diet and nutrition consumption affect how tired we get, and our technology habits can make it harder for us to sleep. Remember – as a parent, sleep is hard to come by. Why not make it as good as you can?
Due to the amount of comments from all of my wonderful readers, it is not always possible for me to respond to each one. However, I absolutely do read them all, and if you’d like to address something specific, or have a question for me, please don’t hesitate to email me at Kristen@theroadtodomestication.com. I will respond to your email as soon as possible! Thank you for visiting the blog!