Whether it is just you and your spouse or you have a house full of children, your family’s health and wellness is the top factor in all that you do, from strategic career decisions to weekly grocery shopping trips. Sleep is a vital part of your family’s well-being. Without proper sleep, focusing on the tasks at work or school becomes a struggle and productivity is impacted. There are numerous factors that impact the ability to sleep. Read on for recommendations to put your mind at ease and help your family get a quality night of rest.
As a homeowner, it is easy to forget about maintenance jobs that need to be tended to for your house. While there are obvious ones, such as replacing light bulbs or cleaning the sinks, the not-so-obvious tasks can put your home at risk if not addressed. Therefore, it is important that home inspections are done on a regular basis to evaluate for any hidden culprits.
For example, mold is a common problem in homes; it can impact the air quality that you breath. Not only are you inhaling dirty air but it can lead to worse symptoms, such as itchy eyes, sneezing and lack of sleep, for family members with allergies. If you find mold or suspect there may be some hidden throughout the home, contact a professional to complete a mold remediation.
For home quality inspections, such as mold, termites or air ducts, the best offense is a strong defense. Setup an appointment to have susceptible areas evaluated on a regular basis. Yearly or biyearly is typically enough unless your suspect an outbreak.
Limiting screen time before bed is important for adults and children alike. While it is tempting to check your email one more time after hopping into bed or letting your son watch 15 more minutes of his favorite cartoon, doing so has a negative impact on your sleep cycle. The light from the screen causes your brain to think it is daytime versus nighttime, which can lead to sleeplessness. Overexposure to screen lights impacts the production of melatonin in the brain, a hormone that balances our waking and sleeping pattern. Additionally, using a screen simply stimulates our brain activity which makes it harder to fall asleep.
Therefore, it is vital that screen time is limited before going to bed. TVs should be shut off and phones and iPads put away at least an hour before going to sleep. Put kid’s tablets in your room so they will not be tempted to use them after getting into bed. If you think you will succumb to temptation as well, give your devices to your significant other to hold on to until morning.
Even if you live in a safe neighborhood, having a security system can give you that extra level of peace at night, knowing that your home is protected. If you do not have one, consider investing in some type of home monitoring or security system. If you want something simple, a doorbell camera is a good option. The camera records any activity occurring by the bell. Depending on your device and setup, the feed is streamed to your receptor at all times or only when there is activity. If you have your phone by you at night (but not using it of course), many devices will stream the data straight to your phone, so you can be quickly alerted if something suspicious occurs.
If you are more high-tech or prefer a system that covers more grounds, consider a complete home security system. There are a variety of options of how and where you set it up. Some will include sensors on every entry point, so you can be notified if a door is unlocked or a window is broken into. Having a system will provide an extra level of comfort when going to bed, knowing your family is safe.
Caffeine and Sugar
While there is nothing wrong with dessert and a cup of coffee after dinner, enjoy those refreshments too late and you are going to pay for it at bedtime. Caffeine and sugar provide a surge of energy in the body, so if taken too close to bedtime, you are going to be tossing and turning for a while. Additionally, give your kids too much sugar at night, and you will be stuck chasing them around and forcing them back into bed!
Make sure any after-dinner treats and drinks are consumed at least a couple hours before going to bed. If you get hit with a case of the late-night munchies, eat something that is lower in sugar, such as a piece of cheese or a small bag of popcorn. If you must top your night off with some coffee, switch to decaf and hold the spoonful of sugar.
With so much communication and interaction occurring online nowadays, many people do not have the personal connection with their neighbors that most communities had 30 years ago. Having a relationship with your neighbors, even if it is a high-level one, gives you a sense of peace knowing someone is close by in case of an emergency at night. If you do not know your neighbors, make an effort to connect with them.
That does not mean you have to bake a batch of cookies for every house on the block. Simply reach out to them and introduce yourself. Stop by with your kids, tell them a little about yourself and get to know them. If you are both comfortable with it, exchange phone numbers. That way you know someone is watching out for your home and can get in touch with you right away should they notice anything suspicious.
It may seem like a small thing but having nightlights can make a big difference in your sleep quality if you wake up in the middle of the night, especially if you find it hard to fall back asleep once awakened. If you use the restroom at night and turn the bathroom light on, this is going to stimulate your brain and get your mind running again. Instead of triggering your brain and blinding your eyes, install nightlights in any room someone might use, such as hallways and bathrooms. To conserve energy, you can get a motion censored nightlight that will only turn on when someone comes by.
Sleep is a vital part of you and your family’s health. By taking some proactive steps to implement new practices and tweak current routines, you can vastly improve your family’s quality of sleep. Consider the above recommendations to start getting a better night of rest. If your sleep issues do not get resolved with a few changes, you may have a sleep disorder. Talk to your primary care doctor or fill out the form below and send it in to us here at the Alaska Sleep Clinic.