Restful Resolutions

Seven restful resolutions ensure parents have the energy they need. 


restful resolutions sm

If your New Year’s resolutions call for doing more during the day (exercise, volunteer, cook from scratch, join a playgroup), you can’t afford to toss and turn at night. Trying to do more, more, more with less rest will only lead to disaster: low energy, sugar cravings, short temper, and exhaustion. Sound sleep is crucial for both your physical and psychological health. Adopt these restful resolutions to ensure you have the energy you need make your other good intentions come true.

Follow a routine. Rituals are as important for adults as they are for children. Keep a consistent bedtime and develop a soothing wind-down routine. Doing household chores or decorating four-dozen cupcakes for the class party is no way to calm down before bed. Don’t work right up to lights out. Make time for a cup of herbal tea or warm milk, snuggling with your partner or reading a good book.

Unplug electronics. Many people watch television or use the computer in the hour before bedtime, but this is no way to tune out. Recent studies by Ohio State University researchers suggest that exposure to blue light at night can throw off your body clock and can cause weight gain and depression. If you must use the computer in the evening, install the free f.luxTM app at www.stereopsis.com/flux/ to reduce the brightness of your screen.

Warm up. Temperature follows a circadian rhythm. Before sleep onset, the body’s temperature drops. You can mimic this natural occurrence by taking a warm bath or shower 90 minutes before bed, according to sleep scientists Patricia Murphy and Scott Campbell. When you get out, your body temperature will drop, and you’ll drop off, too.

Silence distractions. If sounds from the dishwasher downstairs (or your night owl neighbors) are keeping you from peaceful slumber, mask them with white noise. Visit www.simplynoise.com to play or download white noise tracks or listen to rain or wave sounds to soothe yourself to sleep. Don’t worry, you’ll still hear the kids if they call out in the night. Mom ears are practically bionic.

Curtail caffeine. Avoid coffee, tea, and chocolate late in the day so you don’t feel a jolt of energy at bedtime. Even if you get a lot done, you’ll pay for it tomorrow. If you are under the weather, beware over-the-counter cough and cold remedies: some contain stimulants that can keep you awake. Herbal tea and honey are good for your cold and for your sleep.

Move it. Exercise combats stress and enhances sleep. Twenty to 30 minutes of moderate aerobic activity will help you fall asleep faster, spend more time in deep sleep, and awaken less often. Late afternoon exercise can help you through the after-school energy slump but the National Sleep Foundation recommends finishing your workout at least 3 hours before bedtime. Otherwise, the post-workout buzz may keep you up.

Quit clock watching.   If you must have a clock near the bed, turn it away from you or put it in a drawer, counsels Janet Kinosian, author of “The Well-Rested Woman.” When you have difficulty sleeping, watching time tick by will make you anxious about how little time you have left for sleep and how tired you’ll feel tomorrow. If you worry you won’t get up on time, put a loud alarm across the room. You’ll bounce out of bed when it rings.

If your kids don’t yet sleep through the night, parenting may be the ultimate 24/7 shift work. The intense workload and unpredictable stresses cause you to develop poor sleep habits that persist long after 2 a.m. feedings are hazy memories of the past. Commit to practicing a few restful resolutions this year. The boost to your energy and outlook will be well-worth the effort.

---------------------
Heidi Smith Luedtke is a psychologist and mom who feels indescribable joy when both kids (and the dog) sleep through the night. You can read her blog on parenting as a leadership experience at www.LeadingMama.com.

10 Steps to an Allergy-Safe School Year

10 Steps to an Allergy-Safe School Year

For parents of children with food allergies, starting a new school year can seem daunting. As the mom of a daughter with celiac disease, I know how overwhelming food allergies are at times. To ensur . . .

Read more

Navigating Mental Health and How to get Help for Your Child

Navigating Mental Health and How to get Help for Your Child

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) characterizes mental disorders as serious changes in the way children typically learn, behave or handle emotions. The CDC says the most common ment . . .

Read more

Kids in Motion: 9 ways to keep the kids active

Kids in Motion: 9 ways to keep the kids active

If you’re concerned your kids will spend the summer lounging on the couch, playing video games and watching YouTube, take charge and get ahead of the situation. Too much idle screen time negativel . . .

Read more

Fun over fitness: Focus on Family Playtime

Fun over fitness: Focus on Family Playtime

According to The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), “Play is brain building, a central part of healthy child development, a key to executive function skills, and a buffer against the negative i . . .

Read more

How to Protect Kids from Anxiety Overload

How to Protect Kids from Anxiety Overload

Anxiety in kids is on the rise, and it doesn’t take too much digging to uncover some of the reasons why. With increased pressure inside and outside of the classroom, children’s performance is me . . .

Read more

Dangerous Trends: What Parents Need to Know about Drugs, Online Challenges and More

Dangerous Trends: What Parents Need to Know about Drugs, Online Challenges and More

Parents are often shocked when they hear some of the dangerous things teens do. Teens are generally quick to experiment with the latest trends, whether it involves eating something for an online “ . . .

Read more

Foods with Immune-Boosting Potential

Foods with Immune-Boosting Potential

Flu season is here, so take precautions — the flu can be more serious than most people think. Did you know that there are foods that can help reduce your chances of getting sick? Dr. Neal Malik of . . .

Read more

Heart Health: Screen Your Teen

Heart Health: Screen Your Teen

San Diego couple turns personal tragedy into triumph by offering free heart screenings to local teens and young adults through the Eric Paredes Save A Life Foundation. Eric Paredes was entering his . . .

Read more

Family Fun Runs and 5Ks in San Diego County

Family Fun Runs and 5Ks in San Diego County

Walk for Water (Mission Bay/Tecolote Shores North Park) - AprilBring your family and friends to Mission Bay to experience the trek that millions of women and children around the world make every d . . .

Read more

How to Support Kids When a Parent Has Cancer

How to Support Kids When a Parent Has Cancer

Many people know how to help friends or family members who have been diagnosed with cancer or another life-threatening or chronic disease. But when the diagnosed individual is a parent who is increasi . . .

Read more

What To Do When Mom Has the Flu

What To Do When Mom Has the Flu

Winter can be wonderful. Holiday traditions, family gatherings, travel … and germs. Unfortunately it’s also the peak season for colds and the flu, but busy moms can be especially susceptible if . . .

Read more

13 Ways to Comfort a Friend with Cancer

13 Ways to Comfort a Friend with Cancer

When a friend receives a cancer diagnosis, it is normal to worry and wonder how to help. Follow these suggestions to support and bring comfort to your friend as she faces cancer. Sharpen your listen . . .

Read more

Understanding Eating Disorders in Kids

Understanding Eating Disorders in Kids

Fueled by anxiety and depression, bullying, sports, and feelings of inadequacy in an appearance-driven culture, eating disorders continue to rise among young people. Early intervention is key to suc . . .

Read more

Just Say No to Vaping

Just Say No to Vaping

Get to know the dangers of vaping and e-cigarettes. E-cigarettes contain potentially addictive, dangerous toxins. Would it surprise you to know that they come in kid-friendly flavors like bubble gu . . .

Read more

How Digital Devices Affect Eyes: What you need to know about Computer Vision Syndrome

How Digital Devices Affect Eyes: What you need to know about Computer Vision Syndrome

Does your technology-fixated child ever complain of dry, irritated eyes? What about blurry vision, headaches, light sensitivity, neck and shoulder pain, or fatigue? You might look to his electronic . . .

Read more

How to Lower Your Child's BMI

How to Lower Your Child's BMI

If your child’s pediatrician has alerted you that his body mass index (BMI) is too high, there are steps you can take to encourage a healthier lifestyle. Family Fitness
Your child will exempli . . .

Read more

Rejuvenate Yourself

Rejuvenate Yourself

You do it all every day: get the kids to school on time, work, shop, check homework, cook nutritious meals and chauffeur. Caring for everyone else often leaves little time for you—but rejuvenating y . . .

Read more

5 Asthma Superfoods

5 Asthma Superfoods

If you have asthma, keeping an emergency inhaler and other treatments on hand can help quickly relieve symptoms so you can breathe easier. But there is evidence that foods containing certain compoun . . .

Read more

How To Find the Right Pediatrician

How To Find the Right Pediatrician

Finding the right pediatrician for your family can daunting. But by researching options and defining priorities, you can find a pediatrician you feel confident and comfortable with. Here are some ti . . .

Read more

How to Balance Today's Tech and Your Child's Health

How to Balance Today's Tech and Your Child's Health

If you’re concerned about the amount of time your kids spend with technology, you’re not alone. There has been a rise in health-related issues in recent years among our youth. Reducing or elimin . . .

Read more

San Diego Family Magazine Logo

Be Family Informed – Sign up for our Newsletters below!