We all take massive responsibility for the health of our family, right? We like to ensure they are eating good, clean and nutritional food instead of processed foodstuffs. We try to take them out as much as possible and encourage healthy and productive hobbies so that our families can live a healthy and active lifestyle. We encourage them to build the skills they need to achieve the dreams they have.
But what about sleep? Does that factor into anything for you and your children? Sleep is probably one of the most underrated aspects of health, especially in the 21st century when everything is connected and so much more is demanded of us all.
Sleep is absolutely essential for our wellbeing according to the NSF (National Sleep Foundation) and good doctors everywhere. What is worrying though is that millions of people, young and old, are simply not getting enough sleep and are suffering from a lack of sleep. In fact, the NSF even conducted studies into this over five years at the turn of the century – 40 million people are suffering from over seventy separate sleep disorders, and sixty percent of those adults report having sleep problems during a few nights of the week. These problems do go undiagnosed and even worse – untreated. This leads to daytime sleepiness, which forty percent of adults experience a level of tiredness or sleepiness that is so severe it can interfere with day to day tasks and activities. Truly horrifying, though, is the fact that nearly seventy percent of children experience one or more sleeping issues a few nights of the week – for the developing mind that is completely unacceptable.
Your children need sleep. The average kid at school does have a busy day with school, running around, sports, hobbies, homework, studying and playtime -their bodies do need a rest, and their minds need a break. Sleep is where they can rest and recharge for the next busy day. Depending on the age of the child will affect the amount of sleep needed by the kid – between five and twelve it can be about nine and a half hours a night, but all the experts are in agreement that between ten and eleven hours each and every night is best.
So how can you help you and your family get a lot more sleep? The sleep that you need and deserve to live healthily?
Well, it starts with the bed. Obviously. Some nice, comfortable upholstered beds will be the perfect base for you to get a good nights sleep upon! There’s a lot of science behind what a good mattress can do for you as well. You’re going to spend about a third of every day in bed and how that time is spent depends almost entirely on the quality of your sleeping surface.
“A mattress can impact a person’s sleep,” says Michael Decker, PhD, RN, associate professor at Georgia State University and spokesman for the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. “When you lie on any part of your body for an extended period of time, the weight of it reduces the flow of blood through those blood vessels, which deprives the skin of oxygen and nutrients,” Decker says. This causes nerve cells and pain sensors in your skin to send a message to your brain for you to roll over. Rolling over restores blood flow to the area, but it also briefly interrupts your sleep.
The best mattresses will reduce the pressure points on your body which leads to a better night’s sleep for you. The perfect mattress is going to differ for each person, though – so consider the needs of your children in this and what comfort they would expect from a mattress. We recently switched mattresses and we instantly noticed the improvement of sleep quality throughout the whole family.
The best way to get a good night’s sleep once you’re equipped with a decent bed that you can actually sleep on is to live each day in a fulfilling manner, if you’re lazing around all day, chances are that you might suffer from broken sleep. Ideally, you want to snuggle into bed after a hard day of work at home or at the workplace giving you a good reason to settle down under the covers and recharge your batteries. For me, the school run coupled up with a day’s work doing DIY, house renovations or gardening really gets me ready for a decent night’s sleep.
It might seem hard, but you’ll have to consider getting used to using your electronics less before bed-time as well – especially for the kids. It can be a good idea to cut energy usage and establish a good sleeping routine by having a soft-ban of electronics past a certain time – say 7pm? It might seem unduly harsh, but blue light can destroy bed time. It won’t matter if you’ve got a good bed then! It’s no secret that I am a firm believer that children shouldn’t be wasting their lives away in front of iPads or games consoles. Night time light can be dangerous, the boffins at Harvard took a look into it:
“Study after study has linked working the night shift and exposure to light at night to several types of cancer (breast, prostate), diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. It’s not exactly clear why night time light exposure seems to be so bad for us. But we do know that exposure to light suppresses the secretion of melatonin, a hormone that influences circadian rhythms, and there’s some experimental evidence (it’s very preliminary) that lower melatonin levels might explain the association with cancer.”
It’s so, so very important to get a good night’s sleep so get rid of the distractions and settle down on relaxing and catching a good forty winks – teach your kids about the importance of sleep as well because if it is important for us, it is twice as important for the little ones.
Now, living a self-sufficient and green life is hard work. You need to get up, out and about and do your chores so you can run your home. You can’t do that if your tired. Your kids need to learn and their capacity for learning will be damaged if they aren’t getting the right amount of sleep. Get your head down, catch some z’s and enjoy sleep!