The number one fear I hear all the time from my friends when we talk about babies and kids is… sleep. More specifically, the fear of never getting any of it again! No surprises there – Rod and I also dreaded the idea of long, exhausting nights where you resort to toothpicks to keep your eyes open the next day at work. The truth is, there is no way of predicting whether your child will inherently be a “good sleeper” or not and much of your daily energy will depend on how much sleep each of you truly needs in order to function. But everyone obsesses over sleep loss and I think that’s part of what fuels this societal panic over it! Here’s the thing – newborns don’t have a night/day schedule at first, but you can quickly steer their circadian cycle in the right direction to make things a touch easier on you and later, be serious and consistent about sleep training (see my day-by-day Diary here). I guarantee you’ll be laying a solid foundation at the very least and be well on your way to quickly setting your family up to get more sleep with kids in the picture!
Of course, different ages and stages of baby/toddler/childhood are going to demand certain approaches to sleep and the amount your kids sleep is going to depend a lot on their routines and demeanor. Now that Zoe is just over a year old, here are some of the tips our family has to offer about ways to get more sleep with kids!
+ Evening and Bedtime Routines
Set about creating an evening and bedtime routine that is relaxing for your child and yourself. For Zoe, that means bathtime with her little toys (which we also say night night to), darkened room with only a little lava lamp, soft music and her bottle while I get her ready in PJs and all. It’s amazing how as soon as we get into the bath, Zoe begins to rub her eyes and show signs of readiness to sleep. She knows that activity always signals time to wind down and go to sleep for the night. We aren’t extremely strict about the evening routine (that’s why I say routine and not schedule) and there is some wiggle room for the time Zoe goes to sleep depending on how she’s napped etc. Either way, as long as we go through this routine, she is ready, calm and set for a great night of sleep. P.S. We also do this routine when we travel across time zones (even 8 hours in Europe) because it is a constant and benchmark that Zoe recognizes in her day.
+ Skip That Extra Episode
If I had a dime for the amount of times Rod and I are having a nice, smooth early-dinner kind of night where we sit down and watch an episode of something on Netflix. After it’s over we look at the time and think, “oh cool, it’s early, let’s just watch one more and head to bed”. No joke. When we do this, I always regret it the next morning because kids are so on point when it comes to their morning wake-up time (which doesn’t factor in your late TV schedule, unfortunately)! Those extra 45 minutes you’re spending binging on Netflix is extremely important time you should be using to wind down, get ready for bed, connect with your family, give each other a hug and kiss goodnight and get more sleep. I know we’re not alone in this battle of TVs, phones and all that crappy tech stuff we shouldn’t be engaging in at bedtime. Our family is working on breaking some of these habits and getting better, more disconnected rest!
+ Avoid Overstimulation Around Bedtime
Overstimulation can be somewhat of a barrier to getting into the relaxed zone you’re aiming for around bedtime. Too much excitement, TV/technology, visitors, high-energy foods or snacks can make things harder on your kids to wind down for a peaceful night’s sleep. Of course, some things are inevitable, such as the evenings when Papa comes home a little later and Zoe stays up to play and have a little Papa-time in her day also. But in general, try and avoid changing the energy and environment around this important transitional time of your child’s day.
+ Invest In What You’re Sleeping On
It took me years to figure out the simple truth that what you are sleeping on makes a world of difference in the quality of your sleep. Our introduction to the Casper brand was a total surprise. Long story short, we stayed at an apartment in San Francisco where we had the most comfortable nights of sleep we had had in a very long time. At the end of the trip, we stripped the sheets off the bed because we had to take down the brand of the mattress (yes, we were that obsessed). It was a Casper queen mattress and shortly after returning to LA, we got one of our own. It changed my whole world. I was pregnant at the time and it was night and day in terms of comfort. I realised later how much the springs in our old mattress had been giving me back pains (even before pregnancy I used to wake up aching and hand on heart I haven’t woken up ever again with lower back pains since switching) and digging into the side of my growing belly. The Casper pillow technology is truly amazing and their breathable, lightweight cotton sheets make for a great night’s sleep, plus our bed just matches together beautifully. Our quality of sleep was elevated exponentially after investing in what we were sleeping on.
+ Upgrade Bed Size
The single best decision after getting a Casper queen mattress was upgrading our bed to a king, haha! Up until Zoe was 11 months, we were all sleeping in the same bedroom because the Master was actually our music studio. Finally, we moved the studio out elsewhere and reclaimed our space. We decided to start anew and thought going up a size of bed would be a great decision. First off, we like our space when we sleep (I love to “starfish” across the bed lol) and second, I just know that a bigger bed will come in handy on those inevitable nights that Zoe is ill, or maybe just frightened to sleep alone and needs to be with mama and papa. The queen size was great – but I know I’ll thank the heavens soon when we can still get great sleep when we have extra company in bed!
Hope you all enjoyed these tips, they work well for us and I’d love to hear your advice also! What do you do as a family to get more sleep and rest? Leave a comment below & I’ll see you all soon over on Instagram!