Healthy Sleep Happy Family

When I had my first son we were so careful about protecting his sleep and developing good sleep habits. We protected his naps, had a nightly routine of bath, stories, snuggles, and it was at the same time every night. We often joke that his sister didn’t sleep through the night until she was five. Needless to say that our order of protection on sleep has been loosened a bit with each child.  With four kids, one only 7 months, sleep is a rare commodity for the adults in this house. We do however go out of our way to try to make sure that the kids get good sleep. We’re not as strict about our sleep as we were with our first but our kids do have the earliest bedtime on the block.

Before school started I was invited to Sleepy’s Glenview for their Grand Opening and to talk with the Sleep Ambassador, yep she’s real:


Nancy Rothstein Sleep Ambassador
Instagram Photo from Melanie A: My Joy My World

Nancy Rothstein is The Sleep Ambassador and she’s made it her life’s work to get people to get better sleep. According to the National Sleep Foundation 60% of adults and 69% of children have sleep disturbances at least ones a week. With four kids our average is every other night!

Nancy confirmed for me that sleep really is so important for children, and for parents. Did you know that 2/3 of women have sleep problems? She emphasized that a well rested family is a happy family. But how can we get more sleep? There is so much going on in our house, in our life! We have an early bedtime, the little ones nap, what more could I do to ensure that we were not just getting the right quantity of sleep, but that we were getting quality sleep. According to the Nancy quality sleep is as important as the quantity of sleep. In cases like mine, with frequent wake ups because of a baby, I could work on the quality of the sleep I was getting to make sure it was the best.

Healthy Family Sleep Tips

Healthy Family Sleep Tips – From The Sleep Ambassador:

    Do you go to bed clutching your smartphone in your hands to check it one more time? Do you let your kids fall asleep to the TV? Do you check your phone throughout the night? These things are effecting your sleep. Beyond the adrenaline rush and nightmares that watching TV before bed can cause the simple fact is that the blue light emitted from these devices tricks your brain into thinking it’s daytime. So even if you do fall asleep it won’t be as deep or as sound. Nancy recommended turning off the technology at least 30 minutes before bed and keep it off and away from you all night.
  2. Consistent Bedtime Routine
    When I had a friend struggling with sleep issues in her children her doctor said to her “well it sounds like you’ve tried everything once. Now try one thing every time” Recent studies have shown that having a consistent bedtime is especially crucial for children. Irregular bedtimes {and sleep} can interfere with a child’s cognitive developments. Whatever your bedtime routine is try to stick with it. We all waiver and stay up a little later on the weekends but try not to make swings in bedtimes of more than 30 minutes. When it comes to getting back in routine when bedtimes creep later and later (like after a long summer before back to school?) Nancy recommends simply bumping it by 10 minutes every day to every other day. The slower pace of moving the bedtime will make it easier on the children and ultimately the parents (read no fighting because they are suddenly going to bed an hour earlier!)
  3. Calm, relaxing Behaviors
    Instead of vigorous exercise in the evening try some gentle stretches and yoga. Yoga is also great to work on with the kids when they are riled up and antsy before bed. Instead of putting them in front of the TV to wind down Nancy suggests helping them though some simple yoga stretches, like child’s pose (she even showed us it while wearing killer heels!).
  4. Eat for Sleep
    We all probably know that you shouldn’t have caffeine if you want to sleep but did you know that caffeine has a half life of about 5 hours, so that cup of coffee at 3 p.m. is only half way through your system at 8 p.m. and could still be effecting your sleep at 1 a.m. Sleep friendly snacks (snacks that are high in melatonin) include bananas, tart cherries and oatmeal.
  5. Create a Sleep Sanctuary
    Make sure your sleep space is comfortable, cool, and for sleep. If you must have a nightlight a red light is actually the best on your eyes. You want your room to be a little cool and if it helps a white noise machine or a fan.

Since I haven’t had a good night sleep in approximately 5 years I decided to try some of Nancy’s advice (except for giving up my 3pm coffee, I still have 4 kids!). Since we co-sleep I don’t have a nightstand or a clock anymore so I use my phone and tuck it in a pocket on the co-sleeper. I turn the display light all the way down on it but I would still pull it out and read every night every time I got up with the baby. So I stopped looking at it…which means sometimes I fall asleep when nursing him and other times I have no idea how many times he was up. However that one little change made my sleep so much better. After just one night I felt much more refreshed and not as bone dragging tired as I had been. I have a long road of sleeplessness ahead of me but if I can make it quality sleep I know I will feel better!

Do you get quality sleep? Visit The Sleep Ambassdaor for more tips and if you are in need of a mattress, Sleepy’s is opening stores all over Chicagoland and while there PBfin and I found one we would like to take home


Healthy Family Sleep Tips

Head into Sleepy’s and let them help you find the perfect mattress. Follow them on Facebook to hear about deals and when new stores are opening (rumor has it there is one coming to Vernon Hills) and check out their blog for advice on sleep and mattresses.



Disclosure: I was not compensated for writing this post, I was invited to Sleepy’s Back to School Back to Sleep event and received a gift bag for attending. All thoughts and opinions are my own.


Dance academy of Libertyville
About Melissa Haak 908 Articles
Melissa is mom to 4. She used to dream of traveling the world, now she dreams of a clean kitchen. She can be found on most social media sites as @PBinmyHair because with this much hair and four kids, you're bound to find something in it.

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