If “happy and healthy” are words in your New Year’s Resolutions, then sleep should be a top priority to reach your goals in 2013. Lack of sleep takes a toll on your body and overall health. Research shows that chronic lack of sleep is linked to colds and flu, diabetes, heart disease, mental health, and even obesity. Pioneer Sleep Expert and Founder of the Family Sleep Institute, Deborah Pedrick, offers five sleep tips to help us get a good night’s rest in 2013 which in turn will help us reach our goals.
“Healthy sleep increases our growth hormone production that is essential for our daily vitality. It also improves our ability to fight off infection and recover from some forms of cancer. A good night’s sleep increases our ability to learn, remember, and focus. Poor sleep increases our risk for heart disease, stroke, diabetes, obesity, depression as well as work accidents and car crashes. With all these benefits who wouldn’t want a little more restful sleep?” Patty Tucker PA-C, of Sleep Rest Live (http://www.sleeprestlive.com/) and Family Sleep Institute Faculty Member.
Here are five tips on how to make it happen:
1. Set aside time at the end of the day to have a consistent bedtime routine that is calming, positive, and nurturing for the whole family (reading books, talking about the day, etc). Have well-defined steps, a starting point, and an ending point. This is not only a cue to your child to prepare him for sleep, but also a way for parents to stay in control and complete the task, which in turn creates a familiar and secure sleep environment for the child. Introducing a light dimmer which decreases the light in the room over a period of time during the bedtime routine also helps the body cue to sleep, relax, and aid in the production of melatonin.
2. Sleep environment: Make sure that your child’s sleep environment is safe and follows the AAP’s safe sleep guidelines. Keep the temperature on the cooler side, 68 degrees, cooler is better. Sleep in complete darkness and block out all-natural light and cover all of those blue LED lights which suppress our melatonin levels.
3. Respect your children’s need for sleep during the day and try to work daily activities around that need. Naps restore our children mentally as well as physically. Skipping naps is like skipping meals.
4. Avoid going to bed too late. For both adults and children going to bed at the right time, before we become overtired, allows our bodies to fall easily into sleep without interruption. Getting that “second wind” means you missed the optimum sleep window.
5. Making healthy food choices alone won’t make us healthy children and adults if our sleep needs are not also being met. A balance is required to keep our bodies and mind working at their very best.
As Marc Weissbluth, author of Healthy Sleep Habit’s Happy Child states, “Sleep is to the brain as food is to the body” so, let’s make sure we are feeding our brain for optimal mental growth and development!
The Family Sleep Institute is the very first comprehensive yet affordable child sleep consultant certification program based on 15 years of experience by the leading Child Sleep Expert, Deborah Pedrick. The Family Sleep Institute lives up to its name as it is truly a “family” to all graduates who go through the program.
Deborah Pedrick, founder of www.familysleep.com has been educating families for over 15 years on the importance of establishing and maintaining a healthy foundation for sleep in their children. She is co-founder of the International Association of Child Sleep Consultants, www.IACSC.com, and Founder/President of the Family Sleep Institute, www.familysleepinstitute.com, which instructs, mentors, and certifies Child Sleep Consultants around the world. Deborah resides in Stamford, CT with her teenage son, Soren. She has a private practice consulting parents on how to establish and maintain healthy sleep habits in their family. She has been quoted/interviewed in The Wall Street Journal, Huffington Post, Parents Magazine, NY Family Magazine, and has been a contributing sleep expert for “The Doctors” television show. Deborah is a member of the National Sleep Foundation and the American Sleep Association.