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Sleep health and your family

October 16th, 2018 | no comments

Guest post by Julia Merrill of befriendyourdoc.org

Julia Merrill is a retired board certified nurse practitioner.

It’s no secret that the amount of sleep you get each night directly impacts the way you feel during the day. The National Institutes of Health explains that sleep is also important to your physical health, as well as your ability to remain safe throughout the day. Sleep is imperative for children, as getting a good night’s rest is vital to academic performance. However, creating a cozy and comfortable environment in which to sleep is expensive — or is it?

The answer to that question depends on the amount of work you’re willing to put into your bedroom and your ability to hunt down a bargain.

Sleep and Exercise

One of the best things you can do for your body is exercise. Not only does it keep your muscles strong, but just 30 minutes of physical activity during the day can also help you wind down at night, according to Johns Hopkins Hospital. And, fortunately, exercise is free. From yoga to swimming, there are plenty of no-cost ways for both children and adults to get moving.

Environmental Factors

Your physical activity levels are not the only things that determine whether you can reap the benefits of restful sleep. Another major contributor is your environment. If your mattress is old and outdated, consider upgrading.

Light is another major issue when it comes to getting a restful sleep, especially for children. The New York Times reports that children are more sensitive to bright lights than adults. This is due to the way light affects melatonin production, which can drop by 90 percent with exposure to bright lights prior to bed. Blackout curtains are an exceptional way to block outside lights and can often be found online for less than in-store. Many retailers offer a wide selection of competitively priced bedroom decor including room darkening shades, moisture-wicking cotton linens, and pillows for every type of sleep.

Notes on Nutrition

There is a reciprocal relationship between food and sleep. If you’re sleep deprived, you’re more likely to crave sweets and carbohydrates. If you have a diet comprised of mostly junk food, you’re less likely to sleep well. On the flip side, however, certain foods and drinks can actually help you and your children enjoy sounder sleep. A warm cup of caffeine-free tea, a handful of fresh cherries, and a small glass of milk are excellent options. Cherries, specifically, are one of the few foods that naturally contain melatonin, the hormone your body secretes that helps you fall — and stay — asleep.

Contrary to popular belief, it’s possible to enjoy a diverse range of nutritional foods, even if you’re on a budget. This Vox article offers some great advice on how to do just that, including buying frozen fruits and replacing your high-priced juice and soda with plain old tap water. You can also look for grocery coupons using sites and apps like Ibotta.

You don’t have to lose sleep or overextend yourself financially trying to create a cozy, comfortable, and restful bedroom environment. With a little research and a few habit changes, your entire family can reap the benefits of rest.

Guest post by Julia Merrill of befriendyourdoc.org

Julia Merrill is a retired board certified nurse practitioner.

Image via Pixabay

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