We all know it’s important to get enough rest. Studies have shown that sleep helps you lose weight, improve your energy, and even decrease your risk of heart disease. Worried your family isn’t getting enough zzz’s? Follow these steps for better shut-eye tonight.
Prep for bed
Nightly routines aren’t just for infants—they’re essential for all ages. “Start a ritual about 20 to 30 minutes before bedtime to prepare the body for sleep,” says Robert Oexman, D.C., director of the Sleep to Live Institute in Missouri. Include in your evening routine any activities that help you relax—whether that’s taking a hot bath or sipping a cup of herbal tea.
Get your own top sheets and blankets
“Using separate [bedding] can make up for different temperature needs you and your partner may have,” says Oexman. Added bonus: You won’t wake up when your partner rolls over and inadvertently steals the blanket.
Stay in the dark
If you wake up in the middle of the night, don’t check your email or text messages—no matter how tempting. When your kids must have a night-light, use a low-blue one. “These eliminate the blue wavelength of light that negatively impacts melatonin production,” Oexman says.
Lower the thermostat
A temperature of about 68 degrees is ideal for sleep because it causes a decrease in your core body temp. Of course, if you get cold, it’s fine to cover up. “It’s exposing your head to cold air that naturally decreases your core body temperature,” says Oexman.
Grab a banana
Vitamin B6 helps the body produce melatonin, a sleep-inducing hormone. Bananas are a good source—or opt for fortified cereals, chickpeas, and most fish (especially salmon, halibut, and tuna).
Don’t allow cell phones in the bedroom
Purchase alarm clocks for your family so no one has to use their phone to wake up. This will keep your phone screen’s blue light from disturbing your sleep cycle and prevent the interruption of incoming texts or emails which cause “fragmented, lower-quality sleep,” according to Oexman.
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