Why Canadian Families Are Struggling To Get Enough Sleep
It’s no secret to most of us that sleep is the most important factor for being healthy. While lack of sleep is often attributed to adults, there is increasing evidence that even children are not sleeping as well as they should. There are many reasons why this might be the case.
The first and most obvious reason that families are sleeping less than they should is stress related. Adults have the strain of work and parenting to keep them from feeling rested and children feel stress related to school and commitments like sports. Younger children are often losing sleep related to the increasing difficulty of scheduling all of the things that parents and older children in the house need time for during the average day.
Some less apparent causes of stress and lack of sleep are things like chaos in the home related to divorce or conflict between parents and older children. Other factors that are sometimes neglected are things like consistent sleep schedules and the prohibitive cost of quality mattresses and beds. Some children report that sharing bedroom space can cause them to be kept awake by older siblings when they should be sleeping.
As the cost of living increases, it is more likely that kids will have to share space. It is possible to make safe and quiet spaces for each person in the home through the use of privacy curtains or rules to limit the impact of variable awake times on members of the home. Taking a little time to make a schedule and stick to it can work wonders for everyone in the home.
Perhaps the most insidious reason that families are not sleeping enough is related to computers and phones. Blue light is all around us. We work all day exposed to blue light and then we come home and use our phones to entertain us. Blue light disrupts our internal clock and the increasing screen time that we are all exposed to makes it less and less likely that we will be able to get enough sleep at night. Even if we are sleeping, our sleep is likely not the quality that is needed to wake feeling rested.
What Can You Do?
Limit Screen Time
Thankfully, there are some easy solutions that can help your family to sleep better. Limit screen time for everyone in the house. Make sure that you and your children are not looking at a phone or computer screen at least one hour before bed. Follow consistent sleep and awake schedules, even on the weekend. Make sure that you seek help from a professional if there is conflict in the home that is impacting the welfare of everyone. A happy family is much more likely to sleep well than a stressed family.
Choose A More Comfortable Mattress
If you feel that the beds in your house are diminishing your ability to sleep, it’s time to purchase new mattresses. The majority of mattresses have a lifespan of between 7-10 years. For best results, a mattress should be replaced within 10 years. Generally, foam and latex mattresses tend to last longer than the average lifespan. When you buy a foam mattress for you and your family such as bed in a box mattresses, they are less expensive, which also saves you money!
Sleep On Time
Aim for eight hours of sleep minimum each night and make sure that your children are on a schedule that allows them to do the same. Working as a team to make the whole family healthier makes it much more likely that everyone will sleep well and feel better. Prioritize sleep over fun time during the week so that everyone can be happy and healthy all week long.