5 Ways Parents Can Get More Sleep | Sleep Tracker Experiment
Night feeds. Teething. Monsters under the bed at 4am. When you’re a parent, getting a good night’s sleep is often easier said than done. Then when your children do sleep through, you go and ruin it by staying up later than you should to make the most of those precious child-free evening hours.
But what if we told you that you can beat your sleep thieves and get all the rest you need? To help you on the way to the land of nod, we enlisted the help of three blogger mums and dads, some wearable tech and our sleep expert, Dr Guy Meadows of The Sleep School.
The sleep experiment
We asked three parent bloggers, each with different lifestyles and sleep habits, to spend a week tracking their rest; keeping a diary of how they felt each day and using sleep monitor S+ by Resmed at night.
Each morning, the sleep tracker provided a ‘hypnogram’ – a page of information about their sleep patterns from the night before, which Dr Guy analysed to offer insight and solutions into their problems. Which one are you most like? And could his advice help improve your rest?
The workaholic parent
Aby, who blogs at You Baby Me Mummy, often sacrifices her own sleep by staying up and working long into the night. Like many busy mums, she rarely wakes up feeling refreshed.
Guy says: “Aby’s sleep hypnograms suggest she’s not getting enough rest for her biological needs. This is known as Insufficient Sleep Syndrome. She regularly feels wiped out and is potentially lowering her immune system, increasing her risk of infections.”
Sound familiar? Here’s how she (and you) can switch off…
1. Take time to wind down
If you regularly stay up late to work, you could be chronically sleep deprived. If you feel tired during the day, prioritise sleep in your life. Allow for at least 30 minutes of wind-down time before bed. Use this time to run a bath or read a book – whatever makes you feel relaxed. Most importantly, stop working in this time. Set a ‘go to bed’ alarm to make sure you stick to it.
2. Try a blue light filter
If you spend a lot of time working late on your laptop like Aby, download a blue light filter. This will increase the production of melatonin (a sleep-inducing hormone) which means you’ll get to sleep more easily and have quality rest.
The co-sleeping parent
Jemma from Celery and Cupcakes co-sleeps with her one-year-old, which can mean the quality of her own sleep takes a hit.
Guy says: “Based on her diary, it may be that Jemma needs slightly less sleep than the average seven to eight hours, as she appears to get by on a greatly reduced amount. But her ability to get good quality, regular sleep is made difficult by co-sleeping with her young baby.”
3. Take naps
For co-sleeping parents, napping during the day provides your child with the extra sleep they need, and offers you a well-deserved break, too. You can find out how much nap time your baby or toddler needs with our handy sleep guides. Then when they drift off, settle yourself down for a nap, too.
The night-owl parent
Like many of us, Dadventurer Dave grapples with the demands of work and family time – meaning sleep often falls to the bottom of his priorities. Evenings are usually the only spare time he gets, so he makes the most of them by staying up long into the night.
Guys says, “The sleep tracker revealed Dave has the potential to achieve regular, good quality sleep. In fact, it’s his lifestyle (and some parenting factors) that appears to be the major cause of his sleep disturbance. Dave goes to bed late, but his sleep is regularly cut short by his daughter waking early and coming into his bed.”
Here’s how he (and you) can turn things around…
4. Make sleep a priority
Dave’s lack of rest creates a gradual sleep debt, which has a negative impact on daytime energy and refreshment levels. But it can be hard to change your sleep habits overnight. The solution? Go to bed 20 minutes earlier each night, until you are going down between 10:30pm and 11pm.
5. Reward your child for good sleep
Like most parents, Dave has fallen into the trap of bringing his daughter into bed when she wakes, in the hope of getting a little more sleep. This can often lead to more disruption for the parent and can create an unhelpful sleep association for the child. Dr Guy’s advice? Organise rewards and incentives to encourage your child to stay in their own bed for longer.
Good sleep starts with a good quality mattress. Make sure you get the right one for you, with a trip to our in-store Comfort Stations.
Suffering from insomnia? Read our guide on how to overcome your symptoms and take back control of your sleep.