Many families (children and adults) struggle with sleep. Whether that is falling asleep, staying asleep, getting enough sleep, and or feeling rested when they wake up. Here at Tree of Life Chiropractic in Rochester, we see families struggling with sleep all the time. We've seen amazing results with chiropractic care, but wanted to give you other practical tips to take you and your kiddo's sleep to another level.
1) Understand the Importance of Sleep
We are seeing more and more exhausted kiddos and parents than ever before. The problem with this is that the brain needs an adequate amount of sleep in order to maintain proper attention, behavior, learning, memory and overall mental and physical health. According to a study from the CDC, “Insufficient sleep among children and adolescents is associated with increased risk for obesity, diabetes, injuries, poor mental health, attention and behavior problems, and poor academic performance.” And to finish tip #1, I think that we all enjoy being around our kiddos and spouses a lot more when they are properly rested.
2) Get Rid of Technology and Limit Blue Light 60 Minutes Before Bedtime
A study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology found that exposure to bright and/or blue light from screens decreased the body's production of melatonin, tricking the body into thinking it's time to wake up and not go to sleep. Therefore, getting rid of technology and screens at least an hour before your family's optimal bedtime will pay huge dividends. Not only to limit light exposure, but to decrease the brains stimulation. On the flip side, the more exposure to natural light outside during the day can boost your ability to sleep at night, as well as your mood and alertness during the day.
3) Start Early and with a Consistent Routine
Children thrive on routine. Making bedtime consistent is key to good sleep and easy evenings. Starting earlier and being consistent will allow your kiddo's to easily relax and wind down from the day. Its also a great opportunity to connect and fill each other's emotional tank before ending the day. Another great option for those struggling to wind down is regular evening baths, massage, family reading, and anything else that soothes and slows them down.
4) Daily Movement and Exercise
Movement and exercise has been scientifically proven to improve sleep quality. Especially movement and exercise earlier in the day. Exercise closer to bed time has actually shown to decrease sleep quality. A research study coming out of New Zealand looked at how much time it took for inactive kids to fall asleep vs active kids. What they found was that it took kids 3 more minutes to fall asleep for every hour that he or she was sedentary. That means that a child who plays video games or watches TV all day will take more time to fall asleep, and have poorer quality sleep, than a child who actively plays during the day. Pair that daily movement and exercise with being outdoors, you and your kiddos will take advantage of the movement BUT also some natural vitamin D.
5) Chiropractic Care
One of the most common reasons moms (and dads) bring their kiddos in to chiropractic care is sleep. The reason why is that when we can properly assess and adjust the spine through chiropractic care we can create balance and ease for that patient. This allows them to not only sleep better but also better regulate, adapt, and thrive. A study published scientific periodical the Journal of Clinical Chiropractic Pediatrics (JCCP), showed that infants sleep better when under chiropractic care. The study showed significant improvements (by parental report) in time taken to fall asleep, number of consecutive hours of sleep and depth and quality of sleep for children during a short course of chiropractic care. If you are curious if chiropractic care can help you and your family, please reach out.