6 sleep hacks for families

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Getting everyone to power down before the clock strikes bedtime can be hard! Looking for ways to help your family get some fuss-free, quality shut-eye?

Try these tech-free tips—one or all, whatever works for you—to turn a great night’s sleep into a lasting bedtime habit.

1. Lights out on tech.

The screens on our devices actually keep us awake with a bright blue light that can slow down our body’s ability to produce melatonin, the hormone that makes us sleepy. Something like the one-hour rule can be helpful: have everyone turn off their devices at least one hour before bedtime so they can chill out (read, listen to music, talk to you!) and ease into a restful sleep. 

2. Tech-free bedrooms.

A study by the American Academy of Pediatrics found that kids who slept near a small screen clocked 20 fewer minutes of sleep than those who didn’t. We all know a sleepy kid makes for a cranky one, but poor sleep can also impact their grades and even weight. Try keeping devices (video game consoles, too) out of the bedroom with a charging station in a common area. If going cold turkey on tech-free bedrooms is too tough, consider starting with a nighttime-only goal instead. 

Young girl reading tablet in bed

3. Goodnight, notifications.

Who hasn’t woken up to the annoying sound of your (or someone else’s, ahem) notification alerts? Texts and notifications can no doubt interrupt your kid’s sleep—and your own. Try silencing these alerts by putting phones face down and on silent or into sleep mode. 

4. Get moving.

What better way to get kids sleepy than to tire them out? After-school sports are awesome but not all children are of the sporty variety. In that case, try finding an exercise you can all get on board with, like a pre- or post-dinner bike ride or walk. Win-win: you get to bond with your kids and stay active.

5. Stick to a consistent bedtime.

Kids who follow a set bedtime (and wake-up time) are more likely to get a better night’s sleep. If you notice your child staying up past their bedtime, try setting their bedtime 15 minutes earlier every few days until they’re back on track (turning back the clock too fast runs the risk of them not being tired and getting frustrated). On weekends, it can be easy to change it up, but keeping bedtimes consistent, no matter the day of the week, will make it easier to get back in the groove come Monday.

6. Practice what you preach.

We get it! Downtime is hard to come by for parents, often leaving bedtime the only time you have a moment to check in with friends, browse social media, or play your favorite game. But sometimes, following your own tech-free bedtime rules can be the incentive kids need to do the same. Plus, it could mean avoiding them calling you out on it later. 

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