Rebecca of The Sugar Plum Sleep Co. is a Toronto-based sleep coach who offers services worldwide and seeks to improve the quality of sleep for the whole family through coaching sessions designed specifically for infants, children and adults alike. Rebecca’s goal is to affect positive change by teaching children the skills necessary to sleep happily, so everybody can rest easier at night.
The National Sleep Foundation suggests that adults aged 26-64 need seven to nine hours of sleep; however, it’s recognized that some individuals may need as little six hours and other need as much as 10 hours.
But how do you know if you’re getting enough sleep? The exact amount of sleep that you need won’t be the same as someone else that is of similar age, health and lifestyle. The recommended range of 7-9 hours may not be enough…or it could be too much.
The best way to understand your individual needs is to track your sleep and look for patterns in how much you sleep, what times you sleep and how you feel. Specifically, you should pay attention to:
- your ability to get out of bed in the morning;
- how you feel when you get up in the morning;
- how much you rely on caffeine;
- how much patience you have;
- your level of productivity;
- impacts to your relationships; and
- how tired you look.
Why are we going to bed so late?
For many of us, our to-do lists are simply too long. At the end of the day, the amount of free time we have to relax and unwind is limited. In order to squeeze in time for ourselves, we stay up later and later, fighting the urge to go to sleep.
Here’s how you can simplify your evenings:
- Don’t overschedule or program yourself or other members of your family. This is easier said than done, but is an important consideration when looking for opportunities to create space in your evening schedules.
- Make sure everyone is contributing. If your child can use a handheld device like a phone or a tablet, then they can help with daily kitchen clean up, sorting laundry and preparing for the next day’s activities. This takes time and patience to establish, but will help to free up the amount of time you dedicate to similar tasks. The same logic applies to spouses and partners!
- Turn the devices off. Establish some boundaries regarding when and where electronics are used. Constant interruptions distract us from what we are doing, making a seemingly simple task take longer than it should.
Adjusting your bedtime
Now that you have some more time in the evenings for yourself, you can go to bed earlier, but you can’t fall asleep! Now what?
- If you’re stuck in a pattern of going to bedtime after midnight, you may need to gradually adjust your bedtime by going to bed earlier by 15-20 minutes at a time until you reach a more appropriate bedtime for your sleep needs.
- Complete hygiene activities earlier in the evening, or at least 30 minutes prior to bedtime. There’s something about knowing that you still need to brush your teeth or wash your face that can make us delay bedtime. This also helps to avoid exposure to bright lights right before trying to fall asleep. Light plays an important role in our wake/sleep patterns and causes us to become alert. Keeping light levels lower in the hour before going to bed is a good habit to start.
- Don’t fight the urge to go to bed. It’s important to listen to your body. Leave the laundry. Pause Netflix. Put the phone down. It will all be there for you tomorrow.
From left to right:
Thrive Bath Affirmations contain Chamomile and Eucalyptus, which help in the fight against the pesky common cold by inducing restful sleep as well as clearing the nasal passages.
The Mobilhome, which houses the phones in your home, inspiring reduced screen time.
The Rain Fragrance Warmer, to replace bright lights before bed and to infuse your room with soothing scents.