20 Tips for Getting a Good Nights Sleep Naturally
Are you waking up exhausted and tired? Are you struggling to get your kids out of bed in the mornings? Are you grumpy and snap at your kids? Do your kids fight all the time? It may be possible that you have been suffering from sleep deprivation. These 20 tips for getting a good nights sleep will help your family improve sleep, relax for bedtime and overcome several obstacles than can be obstructing a good nights rest. Plus, all of these tips are natural, easy to implement and affordable.
Did you know that 40% of Americans get 6 hours or less of sleep each night? That is almost have of American adults! No wonder a lot of people are moody!
As a Mother of 2 active kids, I have been there. If I do not sleep 9 hours, I am not my best self. It takes a lot of energy to run throughout the day full steam ahead for 15 hours of chores, work, gym, cooking, homework, kids classes, etc. and getting good sleep is essential. This doesn’t just mean getting to bed early, it is also staying asleep.
If you have been through the interrupted night nursing, then you know what sleep deprivation feels like and it’s not pretty! Husbands know what I am talking about! Right, honey? Yeah, sorry for those snappy days.
It has taken me years of tried and tested techniques to get myself and my kids to wind down for bed plus get a good nights rest. My daughter who is a night owl, needs to put into practice several of the tips below to wind down and get a decent nights sleep. I would suggest you pick 1 or 2 recommendations and then add on from there if needed.
Is sleep really that important? Absolutely! Sleeping less than doctor-approved hours of sleep is associated with an increase risk of chronic conditions such as: high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, obesity, stroke, and mental distress. And did I mention, fighting kids and snappy parents? Yeah, that is also a side effect of sleep deprivation.
How much sleep should we be getting? Lets take a look at what the experts have to say:
According to the National Sleep Foundation, newborns need 14-17 hours of sleep each day, infants between 4-11 months old need 12-15 hours of sleep each day. Children between ages 1-2 need 11-14 hours of sleep at night plus 1-3 1/2 hours of naps. Children between ages 3-5 need 10-13 hours of sleep per night, children between the ages of 6-13 need 9-11 hours of sleep per night. Teenagers 14-17 need typically need 8-10 hours of sleep to feel their best. Adults 18-64 years of age need 7-9 hours of sleep per night and Seniors 65 and up need at least 7-8 hours of sleep to feel their best.
Now that we know how important sleep is, let’s get straight to the 20 Tips for Getting a Good Nights Sleep. I have included a few links of my favorite sleep tools for your convenience. If you have any questions, feel free to ask in the comments below.
20 Tips for Getting a Good Nights Sleep Naturally
Sleep Tip #1: Turn of all screens 1 hour before bed
We do love our screens don’t we? To promote a restful sleep, it is best to turn off all electronic screens before 8pm or at least 1 hour before bedtime. The blue light that is emitted from electronics such as computers, cell phones, television, iPads actually supress the production of melatonin. If melatonin goes down, it will be much harder to fall asleep because this hormone controls our sleep/wake cycles and circadian rhythm. It is now required in some schools throughout the United States for 5th-12th graders to use Chromebooks so have kids do their homework within an hour of getting home so they are not up late on computers right before bedtime.
Sleep Tip #2: Practice deep belly breathing
Deep belly breathing will help calm your nervous system, reduce stress and relax your body. When your body is relaxed, it helps calm the mind and body. To do deep belly breathing, get comfortable in bed, close your eyes, breathe in through your nose and fill your belly with air for 4 slow counts then breathe slowly out through your nose for another 4 slow counts. Repeat this and most likely after 10-15 counts, you may drift off to sleep. This has been part my bedtime routine for over 20 years and it still works! I have taught deep breathing to my kids since they were toddlers and it is a great way for them to wind down after a nice book.
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Sleep Tip #3: Take an Epsom salt bath
Epsom salt is a naturally occurring mineral compound of magnesium and sulfate, both of which are easily absorbed through the skin, making an epsom salt bath perfect before bedtime. The benefits of magnesium in the body are many. Magnesium helps the body fight inflammation, supports muscle and nerve function and helps flush toxins from the body. Because Epsom salts relax the muscles and calms the nerves, it is an excellent choice for promoting a more restful deep sleep. This is my go to choice for my night owl daughter who has a hard time winding down for bedtime. I pour 1 cup of Epsom salts into her bath 1 hour before bedtime. It is not recommended to give children under 6 an Epsom salt bath because they may can accidentally ingest the bathwater which can cause a laxative effect. I have found this to be extremely effective for kids who have a hard time winding down for bed.
Sleep Tip #4: Aromatherapy
Lavender essential oil promotes relaxation and calms the nervous system. It can be diffused or applied to the neck and shoulder and pillow before bed. I like to rub a few drops onto the bottom of my kids feet and give a gentle foot massage before bed. My favorite essential oils for bedtime are: lavender and balance. You can buy them along with diffusers through my online store link here.
Sleep Tip #5: Sleep with a weighted blanket
Sleeping with a weighted blanket gives one the “deep touch pressure stimulation”. This is a similar feeling babies get when they’re swaddled. Both of my kids sleep with a weighted blanket. It is recommended to choose a weighted blanket that is 10% of your body weight. For bedtime, I tuck my kids in and lay their weighted blanket on top of them. I place the blanket up to their shoulders. It should never cover the face. They feel really cozy and snuggled. My daughter say’s it feels like a big bear hug.
Sleep Tip #6: Reading
Reading with a small book light is an excellent way to relax the mind before bed. The choice of book is also important. If you are reading a mystery book, it may be harder to put the book down and get to sleep so make a wise decision when it comes to a book at bedtime. During the week, I tell my daughter to pick a book that is fun to read, but not something she won’t be able to put down. My son loves to be read to for bedtime and he usually falls asleep before the end of the book.
Sleep Tip #7: Journaling/To-Do List
Journaling is an excellent tip for relaxing the mind if you have a million things you know you need to get done. Moms, this one is for you! I mean, we are juggling so many different roles (mom/wife/housekeeper/nurse/cook/taxi driver) all those things can keep our minds way too busy. The solution is to jot it down before bed on a notepad. If you are stressed, you can just vent it out in a journal. Yes, let it all out. If you tend to go through the list of things you need to get done the next day in your mind, I have an easy solution, the to-do list. I keep the Daily Do It Sticky Notes next to my bedside table and fill it out for the next day. I always feel a sense of relief after I get it done and the next day, I feel focused and ready to tackle the day.
Sleep Tip #8: Exercise
Exercising, preferably in the morning, and outdoors if possible will promote sleep 12 hours later. When you exert energy exercising, you are more likely to be tired when it is close to bedtime. If you are already exhausted, then doing some gentle stretching at home is a good place to start. I find that everyone has a different need for the level of exercise their body needs. Some people or children will need more exercise than others. Everyone’s needs are different.
Sleep Tip #9: Self-Hypnosis
I have found self-hypnosis to be an excellent way to fall asleep when the chatter mind has taken over. This was recommended to me 25 years ago by a doctor. He said, you start at the top of your head and relax it, make it feel very heavy, then go down to the next part of your body, your forehead, focus on it and relax it, and you keep going down to every part of your body and relax it. By the time you get to your toes, you will be extremely relaxed. If I wake up in the middle of the night and have lost my sleep, I like to combine the self-hypnosis relaxation technique with the deep breathing to get back to sleep. If you have younger kids that have a hard time falling asleep, just have them close their eyes and walk them through the steps. This has been very effective for my night owl daughter.
Sleep Tip #10: Bach Flower Remedies
Bach Flowers are gentle yet effective homeopathic remedies that help bring the emotions back into balance. When one is anxious, restless and having a hard time sleeping, the Bach Flower Rescue Sleep Remedy may be of help. It is a remedy comprised of 6 Bach flowers that are known to settle the anxious mind. It contains: White Chestnut, Rock Rose, Clematis, Impatiens, Cherry Plum and Star of Bethlehem. These flowers help to naturally promote a restful sleep when the mind is anxious, one is under stress and there are repetitive thoughts keeping one awake. This may help children who are hyper relax their minds before bed.
Sleep Tip #11: Keep the Room Dark
Sleeping in a dark room has shown to lengthen sleep time. If you have not heard of black out curtains, they are absolutely amazing for early risers. My son used to wake up at 5am when he was a toddler wanting to play. In desperation, I purchased a set of blackout curtains and was pleasantly surprised he slept an extra hour! If you completely hate blackout curtains, then an eye mask would be the best second option, or try both! Every member of my family now sleeps with an eye mask and we love it! My favorite is the 3D contoured sleep mask and find I cannot sleep without it! I am usually asleep within minutes.
Sleep Tip #12: Drown out noises
Sound machines help create a peaceful and relaxing environment by drowning out outdoor noise. This is a great option for the extra light sleepers. Sound machines have tranquil nature sounds such as rain, birds, ocean waves, wind and streams. They are great for babies, children and adults. If you sleep with someone who snores, earplugs may be a better option. Corded earplugs are excellent if you toss around a lot and tend to loose your earplugs through the night. You can easily find the cord of your lost earplug and slide it back into your ear. These corded earplugs have been a game changer in my life! Just be sure to clean them regularly.
Sleep Tip #13: Avoid Caffeine after 2pm
Caffeine is a stimulant and if you have a hard time winding down for bedtime, this may be the reason. It can stay in your system for hours and make it hard to fall asleep. It is best to have your coffee or chocolate early in the day and not past 2pm. If your kiddos like to have energy bars or a treat that includes chocolate as an ingredient, they can have it earlier in the day since younger children have a much earlier bedtime. Studies have shown that caffeine not only reduces the quality of sleep but the quantity of sleep. One study found that drinking caffeine 6 hours before bedtime reduced total sleep time by 1 hour.
Sleep Tip #14: Calming tea
Chamomile, catnip and lavender teas have a mild sedative effect and are gentle enough for children. Do not use chamomile if you are allergic to ragweed,plants in the daisy (Asteraceae) family, such as chamomile or echinacea, pregnant or nursing. Avoid use if taking warfarin or cyclosporin as it may interact with these medications. Taking several cups of chamomile tea throughout the day can calm the nerves to promote a more restful sleep. We like the Chamomile Lavender Tea by Traditional Medicinals. My daughter loves having a cup of calming tea after dinner with a splash of organic milk and a teaspoon of honey.
Sleep Tip #15: Eat foods high in tryptophan
Eating foods high in tryptophan help promote a restful sleep. These foods are: bananas, dates, figs, milk, nut butters, turkey, tuna, whole grains and yogurt. It is best to eat these in the evening to get the restful effects. A great snack would be a banana slices with almond or peanut butter.
Sleep Tip #16: Keep a regular sleep/wake cycle
Getting to bed at the same time and waking up at the same time will help keep a regular sleep/wake time. On weekends, only sleep in 1 hour past your regular sleep time so that you don’t throw off your sleep schedule. This is essential for growing children. I know it is hard to stick to a regular bedtime but it will really help kids sleep cycles in the long run. Also, it is good to lead by example. If kids see us getting ready for bed, they will see the importance of making sleep a priority. As we know, kids learn best by the example we give them.
Sleep Tip #17 Practice Earthing
Connecting with the earth is an excellent way to reset the body’s circadian rhythm when you are not feeling sleepy at a decent hour. Here is a simple technique that has helped many. When the sun begins to set, step barefoot onto the earth and face the sunset. Have feet shoulder width apart, roll shoulders back and down, bring your hands up so they are open and facing the sun. Watch the sun go down, breathing in through the nose and out through the mouth, do deep belly breathing. As the sun goes down, make sure your feet are on the earth, then after the sun goes down, shake off your feet, take another deep breath and go back into your home. Repeat this practice until you are getting sleepy on your own at an earlier time. It may take up to 9-10 days to get sleepy early but this is very effective. It can also be done at the beach if you are lucky enough to live near the ocean.
Sleep Tip #18 Turn down lights 15-30 minutes before bedtime
A home full of bright lights will make it much harder to wind down the mind and body for bed. About 30 minutes before bedtime, I like to turn off all the lights and have kids get their reading lights out for quiet book time. This helps to wind down and relax the mind.
Sleep Tip #19 Get some sunshine
Various studies have shown that getting between 30 minutes to 2 hours of daily sunlight can increase the production of melatonin. Just be sure to protect your skin with sunscreen or protective clothing between 10am-4pm when the sun’s rays are at its strongest. I find that lying on a lounge chair or on the grass in the shade outdoors is still pretty effective at getting some outdoor sun time.
Sleep Tip #20 Eat a balanced diet
Eating a balanced diet of fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, essential fatty acids and high quality proteins will make your body and mind feel better. A balanced diet will assist in the production of melatonin, the hormone responsible for your circadian rhythm. Also, avoid spicy food at night that could cause you heartburn and digestive discomfort. Finally, be sure to “avoid” heavy dinners and stop eating 2 hours before bedtime. The bedtime snacks is okay for kiddos who are always hungry!
If you have enjoyed these 20 Tips for Getting a Good Nights Sleep Naturally please comment below and share on your social media so your friends could benefit from a better nights rest too! Wishing these tips help you and your family get a more restful sleep and happier days!