A recent study found moms who got less than five hours of sleep a day when their babies were six months old were three times more likely to be carrying eleven extra pounds at the child’s first birthday than those who get seven hours. The bottom line — those extra two hours of sleep could make all the difference.
While we can’t put more hours on your sleep clock, there are a few ways to make the most of your sleep! Cynthia Boulton with the Intermountain Sleep Disorders Clinic at LDS Hospital, shares a few helpful tips.
Good Sleep Hygiene
• Go to bed only when you are drowsy.
• If you are unable to sleep within 15-20 minutes, leave the bedroom and do something relaxing and enjoyable.
• Adjust your schedule to allow for enough time in bed to sleep. Adults need 7-9 hours.
• Maintain a regular arise time even on the weekends
• Avoid napping during the day unless your infant is keeping you up at night, then nap!
• Distract your mind if needed ( reading, journaling, book on tape, music)
• Avoid large meals before bed but a light healthy snack can improve sleep.
• Maintain balance in your life
• Avoid stimulants the Caffeine and Nicotine
• Exercise regularly, avoid strenuous exercise 3 hours before bedtime. Both aerobic and anaerobic exercise is recommended to improve sleep quality.
• Eat a Healthy Balanced diet and Maintain
Your Ideal Body Weight
• Employ relaxation techniques through out the day and end the day with a night time relaxation ritual.
• PLAY! Every day should include some from of recreation, play or laughter. Joy in any form will do and is very important.
Create Your Bedroom as a Haven for Romance and Sleep
• Supportive environment for sleep should be cool, quiet and calm
•Choose beautiful paintings, fabrics and colors that are soothing to you
•The bed should be inviting and comfortable
• Give all electronics the boot from the bedroom No TV and No Computer
• Lighting should be soft and when it is time for bed, the room dark
•Pets “got to love em”, don’t have to sleep with them. They need their own bed.
•Turn the alarm clock away from view.
Help Your Children Sleep Better
•Children need more sleep
Infant to 4 years: 12 – 15 hours
5-12 years: 9 – 11 hours
Adolescents: 8.5 – 9.5 (teenagers will normally go to bed later and rise later)
•Get them on a schedule with set bed and rise times allowing for sufficient sleep quantity
•Healthy diet and Healthy Exercise Avoiding stimulants and sugar
•Bed time rituals, especially for younger children
•Relaxation and Quiet time before bed. Again get the electronics out of the bedroom.
•Provide for sufficient time in bed
Limit activities, many children and especially teenagers are on overload and stressed out.
•Invite Family and Friends to be apart of child care
•Give yourself breaks from the children
•Send them over to Grandma’s and Grandpa’s!
•Ask your husband on a date! OR Take yourself on a date!
Cynthia Boulton is a Family Nurse Practitioner who has specialized in Sleep Medicine, working for the Intermountain Sleep Disorder Center for the last 5 years. She received her Masters Degree in Nursing in 1983 from the University of Kentucky. She previously worked in Internal Medicine and Family Practice and has been providing health care as a nurse practitioner for 24 years.
Read more about Health and Sleep at www.sleepfoundation.org