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Five Ways to Make Healthy Sleep a Family Habit

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The secret to family bliss? Make sure everyone gets enough sleep.

Okay, that may be a slight oversimplification, but it’s not that far a stretch when you consider the psychological side of getting proper sleep. Better rested people are physically and mentally healthier, less likely to get into arguments, and overall more agreeable and less stressed out. Here are five ways to make quality sleep a part of your family routine.

Plan a bedtime routine and stick to it

For kids and adults alike, the surest path to sound sleep is a regular schedule. If you have kids, try to make sure that they’re in bed around the same time every night, and keep a steady routine of bedtime activities. For instance, reading to your kids for just ten minutes in the evening will eventually help signal to their brains that it’s time to wind down. If possible, do something similar for yourself. You’ll feel the benefits, and you’ll be setting your kids up for healthy sleep throughout their lives.

Get active as often as you can

Being physically active during the day, especially in the outdoors, will help you and your kids fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. Bonus: Group outings are a fantastic way to bond with the family, not to mention unglue teens from their smartphones, if only temporarily. Speaking of smartphones…

Unplug as a group a few hours before bedtime

Exposure to electronic light in the evening hours makes it harder to fall asleep. It may not always be realistic to expect the entire family to unplug a few hours before bedtime, but try making it a once-a-week routine to start. Use the time to cook, read, or just sit around and talk to each other—you know, the things families used to do all the time before Apple and Android came into the picture. If you have young kids, use your parental influence while you can and keep them away from screens before bed.

Create an environment conducive to sleep

In the evening hours, keep the TV low (or better, off) and the lights dim. Make sure bedrooms are cool and comfortable.

Talk about the importance of sleep

Rather than just telling your kids they should go to bed, explain why. Kids and adults alike tend to be more likely to follow rules when they understand why they’re in place. Ask them to think about how they feel after a good night’s sleep versus a bad one, and explain, in whichever terms are appropriate for their age, why it’s so important to get enough rest.

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