By Cheryl Fingleson, Cheryl The Sleep Coach
Whoever made up the saying, ‘sleeping like a baby,’ clearly didn’t have children! But never fear mamas, we have some insider secrets to help you and your fam bam up your zzz quota.
Have you ever wondered why you feel crazy tired and sluggish in winter? That’s because the lack of light at this time of year can cause the body to produce more melatonin, the chemical regulating your body’s sleep-wake cycles.
And bad news for bread and pasta lovers… the amount of hearty and dense carbs that we nom on all winter long also affects our metabolism and appetite, further disrupting your sleep cycle.
LET US HELP YOU CATCH UP ON SOME EXTRA SLEEP THIS WINTER…
1 // STEP AWAY FROM THE HEATER
Chilly rooms always make us want to switch on the heater, but this is not the best thing to do when trying to get a good night’s sleep because we actually need our core temps to drop a little in order to fall asleep. And when the night air is too dry or too warm it makes the body more prone to illnesses such as the cold or flu. So either don’t turn the heater on at all or only turn it on for a short period of time.
2 // EAT CARBS IN MODERATION
When we feel tired, we wind up craving more comfort food but it’s a vicious cycle because eating that type of food only disrupts our hormones and ruins our sleep cycle. So instead of reaching for another breadstick, munch on fresh fruits and veggies instead.
3 // DON’T OVERHEAT
Many parents worry about their littles feeling cold, but if they are too warm, they actually won’t sleep well. Fun fact: toddlers who are too warm at night may also be more likely to have nightmares or night terrors. So avoid the urge to pile on the blankets, mama.
4 // 20 IS THE MAGIC NUMBER
The ideal sleep temp for most children and adults is around 20ºC.
5 // CHECK YOUR CHILD’S SKIN
Your child’s skin should be comfortable to the touch and even a little cool, but not cold. For newborns who are swaddled, pop your babe in a onesie or footed clothing made from natural fabrics, and then swaddle them in a cotton blanket. Just be sure that your swaddle is snug enough that your baby can’t kick the blanket loose, but not so tight that they can’t move their legs and breathe comfortably.
For older babies who are no longer swaddled, a sleep sack provides warmth without the suffocation dangers associated with loose blankets.
Then once children are old enough, parents can lay a blanket across the bottom of their beds and fold it like a paper fan so they can just grab the top and pull it up if they feel chilly.
6 // INVEST IN SHEETS
Polar fleece sheets are a good investment and woolen underlays are ideal for regulating temperatures.
7 // INSULATE YOUR HOME
Installing thermal curtains on windows and external doors can help to keep the cold out, and let me tell you, good insulation can make a big difference.
8 // USE A HOT WATER BOTTLE
A hot water bottle slipped under the covers before bedtime is warm and comforting – for kids and adults! Just don’t leave it in the bed overnight, use a cover, and be careful when filling and emptying.
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