Job, children, household, everyday duties - family life is demanding and demands a lot of energy. If the little ones cannot sleep at night or demand everything from their parents during the day, sleepless nights and tiredness are often inevitable. You can find out here which simple tips will help mothers and fathers to improve their sleep patterns and get through the day more awake.
Table of Contents
- sleep & family life
- Sleep tips for parents
- Tips for the afternoon & evening
- Tips for the night
- Tips for the morning
1. Sleep and family life
In order to take care of the children, prepare meals, plan appointments and organize everyday life, parents are the first to get up and the last to go to bed in the evening. If the little ones can't sleep at night or demand everything from you during the day, sleepless nights and tiredness are often inevitable. In order to be able to cope with the turbulent everyday life, however, a good and restful sleep is very important, because mum and dad have to take care of the children as well as themselves and be particularly resilient and efficient in family life.
Children can disturb their parents' sleep at night for up to six years, but young parents in particular suffer from sleep deprivation and sleep disorders. This is partly due to the need for sleep of the children. In the first few years of life, they need the most sleep and only learn to adapt their sleeping and waking phases to the natural day-night rhythm with increasing age. For this reason, mothers and fathers have to repeatedly interrupt their own sleep and forego important hours of regeneration.
Development of sleep phases
The results of a long-term study by the German Institute for Economic Research also show that mothers sleep an average of one hour less than before in the first three months of their child's life! However, persistent lack of sleep harms us immensely and not only leads to a bad mood, ravenous appetite attacks or headaches, but also weakens the immune system and impairs our health in the long term.
You can find out more about this in our article How much sleep do we need?.
While we're happy to put up with that for our protégés, here are top sleep tips for parents to make the most of the remaining hours of sleep and get through the day more alert.
2. Sleep Tips for Parents
#1 tips for the afternoon & evening
Use the afternoon nap
The good news first: You can make up for lost sleep! After a short night or a busy morning, a short power nap at midday will help you make up for your lack of sleep and gather energy for the rest of the day. For example, use the time when your child also takes a nap for a short rest. You can find out how to efficiently organize a power nap here.
The development of a regular sleeping rhythm and maintenance of an evening routine help the whole family to get better rest and to find sleep more easily. Fixed bedtimes and evening rituals, such as brushing your teeth together or reading aloud, get you in the mood for the night and help you get the sleep you deserve after a hard day.
Relaxation before sleep
Excitement disrupts the process of falling asleep in the evening. Therefore, make sure to reduce exciting or strenuous family activities some time before bedtime so that you and your children slowly relax. In addition, you can dim the lights to encourage melatonin production in the body and promote sleepiness.
#2 Tips for the night
Bright light inhibits the release of the sleep hormone melatonin, which regulates the sleep-wake cycle and makes us tired. So it's best to avoid bright lights and stimulating activities when you get up at night to check on your child, so that your body doesn't wake up and you don't have trouble falling asleep afterwards.
Additional and mostly avoidable external stimuli can also cause the body to switch to the waking state. Especially the look at the smartphone or the clock usually starts the famous carousel of thoughts, which keeps us awake and makes it difficult to fall asleep again. So try to focus on the important tasks and not put additional pressure on yourself by calculating the remaining sleep time.
If falling asleep again doesn't work right away, it's time to stay calm. Stress activates the nervous system and promotes the production of the stress hormone cortisol. This also hinders the process of falling asleep and makes you more awake than sleepy. Some breathing exercises or relaxation techniques can help you to calm down and get tired again. Have a look here.
#3 tips for the morning
Get up immediately, don't snooze
Try to get up with the first alarm clock. In the morning, our body naturally wakes us up by reducing melatonin production and increasing the release of cortisol. Using the snooze function usually causes your body to fall back into deep sleep and the sleep is unnaturally interrupted with every ringing of the alarm clock. This has a negative effect on the daily form and not only makes you tired and sluggish, but also reduces the ability to concentrate and perform. Even if it's difficult at first, it's better not to hit the snooze button and get up straight away. Daylight, fresh air and light movement stimuli also wake you up and help to get the day off to a strong start.
Observe sleep needs
Children need significantly more sleep than adults for growth and development. Whether we are early risers or night owls is actually not a matter of upbringing, but innate. Experts assume that between August 8 and month and the 3 year of life it becomes clear to which sleep type a child belongs. Therefore, remember to pay attention to your own sleep needs, but also to your child's individual sleep needs and, for example, refrain from waking your child if it is not absolutely necessary. Then both parties can sleep in optimally according to their own needs and get through the day well.
Start the day healthy
Especially after a demanding night and a lack of regeneration, the body needs a lot of nutrients and energy to function properly. A balanced breakfast is the right basis for parents and children for a successful start to the day and ideally consists of plenty of healthy vitamins, strengthening sources of protein as well as healthy fats and carbohydrates. This will provide you with all the important nutrients and allow you to get off to a flying start after the first meal of the day. However, make sure that you are adequately hydrated and drink at least 1.5 – 2 liters of water every day.
What mum and dad achieve every day in family life is often underestimated. The lack of sleep in the first years of children's lives not only gets on their nerves, but also poses a challenge for the body and one's own health. It is all the more important that parents also take time for their own sleep needs and the important (nightly) regeneration. After all, everyday family life only succeeds if mum and dad wake up rested in the morning and start each new day with a lot of energy.
Young parents are particularly often affected by lack of sleep and sleep disorders.
Lack of sleep has numerous negative effects on well-being and health, e.g. B to tiredness, sluggishness or poor concentration and performance
A power nap at midday brings energy and fixed bedtimes or evening routines as well as targeted relaxation before sleep prepare parents and child for a restful night.
Bright light, unnecessary distractions and stress make it difficult to fall asleep after waking up at night and should be avoided.
Observe different sleeping needs. It is best not to snooze in the morning, but to get up straight away and start the day healthy with a balanced breakfast
Greetings and see you soon!