The Importance of Tackling Sleep For The Whole Family
Who needs sleep? Raise your hand! Sleep Consultant Mylee Zschech shares her amazing tips and advice about getting a good night’s rest.
Sleep is such an important part of all of our lives. Every member of the family will feel the benefits when we ensure everyone is getting the sleep they need. If our children aren’t sleeping well than neither are we. Not getting enough sleep can be very frustrating for parents and can make us feel depressed. When parents get enough sleep, they can be the best parents they can be. For children, it is important to ensure that they not only get enough hours sleep in a day, but to also ensure that this sleep is consolidated, uninterrupted sleep (both for naps and overnight).
Families should tackle sleep as a whole family unit. Get everyone involved in addressing any sleep issues that a family is having, because even if one member is struggling the most, each person is likely feeling the effects. This shows that you are a united group and that what is happening for one person affects the others. It also can take away the pointing of fingers towards one particular member of the family who is having the most problems. As an example, if parents are visibly ensuring they get appropriate amounts of sleep and making good choices around their sleep then they are modeling good, healthy sleep, and the importance of it, to their children. These children are much more likely to understand how good their bodies feel when they are well rested and strive to remain well rested well into their adolescent years. This is incredibly important because healthy sleep can often fall by the wayside when adolescents start making their own choices in regards to sleep.
Sleep has many important functions. Sleep is essential for everyone’s overall health, how they function and their frame of mind. Babies, and children, need sleep for their physical and emotional growth and development. When children and babies sleep at night a growth hormone is secreted, especially just after they have reached a state of deep sleep. Sleep is also necessary for memory consolidation, learning and attention span. Children and adults who do not get the sleep they need can become less mentally alert, more inattentive, unable to concentrate and hyperactive. Imagine how difficult it would be for our children to cope at school if they are constantly without the sleep they need, or how hard it is for parents cope at work when they are sleep deprived. Children will struggle to learn properly or behave appropriately in class. Sleep is also a great illness fighter; which is incredibly important in the winter months with all the colds and the horrible flu making the rounds.
It is also important to tackle sleep problems when they arise straight away because ignoring them will more than likely make them worse. Many parents believe their child or baby’s sleep issues are “just a phase” and they will eventually grow out of it. While this can be true for some, this is generally not the case. If a child is having sleep issues then it tends to become a vicious cycle where it can just get worse or can continue for years to come. As an example, a child that wakes up multiple times at night will not just suddenly start sleeping consistently through the night. There is a reason they are waking often and the more they wake, the more overtired they become causing more sleep issues to arise.
Now that we know why it is important to tackle sleep for the whole family, lets make a promise to our families, that we will address any sleep issues as a family and make healthy sleep a priority. Stay tuned for my top tips for achieving healthy sleep habits for your children in the coming weeks.
Mylee Zschech is a former social worker and a mom of two young boys (6 and 4 years old). During the day she is a certified Child Sleep Consultant and owner of Little Big Dreamers. Mylee loves helping exhausted families get the sleep they desperately need.