This week, we are taking you Beyond The Forecast, giving you more than just the weather to make the most of this last official long weekend of the summer.
While the summer season is cherished for extended sunshine and longer nights to enjoy, it can also take a toll on the regular and healthier routines we try to stick by for most of the year. Even though this long weekend will be the last chance to soak up the summer-time magic, it’s also a great opportunity to ease back into routine, including the best sleep practices for a confident start into September for both you and the kids.
“IT STARTS WITH DINNER”
Sleep consultant Heather Young from Good Night Sleep Site says the best sleep routine actually starts with dinner.
“Set a dinner time and stick to it. You don’t want to be eating too close to your bedtime as this will prevent you from falling into a proper sleep.”
Essentially, a full stomach can leave people restless while trying to sleep and can also slightly increase body temperature. In order to fall into sleep, your body wants to decrease body temperature, so eating late at night is not helping your natural rhythms.
FIND A ROUTINE
“Our bodies respond better to sleep when a routine is put in place,” says Young.
A routine will look different in each household, but can contain things like a warm bath, reading a book or brushing your teeth. It’s also important to remove technology from a bedtime routine.
“Electronic devices emit a blue light that can interfere with your sleep,” Young says. “Light on the cool end of the colour spectrum like white, blue or green can trick your brain into thinking it’s daytime and suppress the production of the ‘sleepy’ hormone, melatonin.”
According to Young, you should shut down electronics about one hour before bed and opt for tech-free activities such as reading a book, writing in a journal or even colouring for the kids.
“The summer leads to late nights. You have to break that trend and get to bed,” Young says. “When you and your children understand the importance of a good sleep your goal should be 7-8 hours a night.”
To help children get onboard with bedtime Young has this advice:
“Involve them in the process of creating the routine. Then, write it out so it’s easy to follow and everyone knows what to expect every night. You can make it fun and even decorate your bedtime routine checklist. As you move through it each night, mark off each activity completed. So once it’s lights out, everyone knows that everything has been done before settling into sleep.”
HERE’S HOW TO WAKE UP HAPPY
We all know waking up will be a challenge when we go back to school, so here are some easy practices in order to feel more awake when the alarm goes off:
- Do not snooze! This is poor quality sleep
- Open the blinds as light triggers your brain to wake up
- Use LED white lights in the bathroom as this signals you to be more alert
- Set a bedtime based on your wake time that allows 7-8 hours of sleep
- Try to maintain your set bedtime and wake time 7 days a week (yes that means weekends)
- Start your morning with joy. Find a small activity you look forward to and plan to do it first
- Plan your morning the night before by setting out clothes, preparing coffee, planning breakfast etc.
“Educating your children as to why sleep is important is essential in every household. Children should get 8-12 hours ” says Young. “Set your routine and stick to it!”