I’m finally getting my little one to sleep at a decent time and have some time to spend with my spouse and get things done at night. But now, I’m having a hard time falling asleep. What should I do?
Thanks so much for bringing up this important point. Good sleep hygiene – the habits we build around our sleep routines – are just as critical for parents as they are for babies and children.
I’d need more information to get the complete picture, but when you say “get things done at night” I assume you may be working on your computer or iPad or cell phone. Parents today are super tech savvy – often to a fault. It’s just as important to know when to turn things off.
Many of my clients take their cell phones or tablets to bed with them so they can work, check emails, or browse social media. And many keep their cell phones next to them to use as an alarm clock or to track feeds and diaper changes.
Good sleep, just like regular exercise and a balanced diet, is critical for optimal health.
There may be physical ramifications to taking your work and technology to bed with you, however. The blue light emitted from TVs, laptops, tablets and smartphone screens disrupts the brain’s natural melatonin production and can cause you to be more alert. Good sleep, just like regular exercise and a balanced diet, is critical for optimal health. Yet, more than 40 percent of adults say they rarely get a good night sleep. Poor sleep hygiene is a major contributor to sleep disturbances.
Productivity experts will say you are fooling yourself if you think you are getting more done by taking your work to bed. Instead, you are likely going to bed late, getting broken sleep, and that lack of quality sleep may be decreasing your productivity.
If you’re guilty of “do as I say, not as I do,” start now establishing healthy sleep habits for yourself as well as your children. Begin by not using the bed as an office. Go screen-free at least an hour before bedtime and incorporate some relaxing routines to unwind and prepare for sleep. Try a warm bath, gentle yoga, and a good book. Keep cell phones and tablets out of the bedroom so you aren’t tempted to check them if (or when) you wake during the night. Refrain from using your phone when your little one wakes for a middle-of-the-night feeding, too. A dark, quiet space will help both you and baby return to dreamland more easily.