Month 2 of the Family Health Challenge

This month, we’re offering up another challenge to boost your health and strengthen your family.

OK, so be honest: Are you getting back in sync with the school routine?

We’re a little bit into the new school year now, so you’re probably finding that things feel a little more normal. But you might still be having problems getting everyone the sleep they need.

That’s why this challenge is perfectly timed…

We challenge you to create a family sleep routine this month!

Kids need plenty of quality sleep. And they aren’t the only ones! Adults also need quality sleep to help ensure they are at their most productive during the workday.

And it’s all too easy to put sleep low on the priority list. But that shouldn’t be the case.

The amount of sleep you need varies by age. The National Sleep Foundation offers these basic guidelines:

  • Newborns need between 14 and 17 hours of sleep.
  • Infants need between 12 and 15 hours of sleep.
  • Toddlers need between 11 and 14 hours of sleep.
  • Preschoolers (up to age 5) need between 10 and 13 hours of sleep.
  • School-aged kids (ages 6–13) need between nine and 11 hours of sleep.
  • Teenagers (ages 14–17) need between eight and 10 hours of sleep.
  • Adults need between seven and nine hours of sleep.

Knowing how much sleep you need is helpful, but that’s only the first step. You have to put into action, too!

Why sleep is so important

Not getting enough sleep leaves kids (and adults, for that matter) feeling less than their best. But there are also other repercussions.

Research has found that kids who don’t get enough sleep are at a higher risk of obesity, diabetes, injuries, mental health issues, a decreased attention span and behavioral issues.

For adults, a lack of quality sleep can lead to similar issues. Sleep deprivation affects mental health, productivity, attention span and memory.

So, what can you do to ensure every member of your family gets enough sleep? A sleep routine will help.

Boost your family health with a sleep routine

What’s involved in a sleep routine? There are multiple facets. Let’s step through them:

  • Set a bedtime and wake time. There is no single bedtime that works for every person of a certain age. To determine an appropriate bedtime for a person, have the person go to bed and sleep until he or she naturally wakes up and feels restored. How many hours was that? Depending on the number of hours, adjust bedtime to give them the right amount of sleep between bedtime and wake time. You may need to walk bedtime back in 15-minute increments until you find the right fit!
  • Stick to that bedtime and wake time. This one’s harder than the first one. It can be tempting to go to sleep later and sleep in on weekends or holidays. But doing so will make it more difficult on your body when you need go back to “normal.” So, try to go to sleep and wake up around the same time every day.
  • Create habits that help you wind down. Shower or take a bath before bed. Put on comfy pajamas. Turn off electrical devices — and keep them out of the bedroom. Read or do some other quiet activity for the hour or so before bedtime. Skip any activity that gets your pulse racing, even if that’s just reading an exciting book!
  • Make the bedroom an ideal sleep location. For best sleeping conditions, you want the bedroom to be cool and dark. Set the temperature in the room to between 65 and 70 degrees, and dim the lights if possible. You may also find that it’s helpful to have a humidifier in the room to add moisture to the air.

Another great way to boost the health of your family? Get your annual checkups. If you haven’t had one yet this year, schedule yours today.