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Getting your body a full night’s rest every night will go a long way in making you happy and productive. Many people struggle with this though.
Living a healthy lifestyle, and being a parent are a lot of work. You will be doing a lot of things around the house for your kids and family, while also trying to balance healthy eating, and keeping active. If you’re working, you’ll add the stress of a job into your life which means that most days you will not feel like you have enough time.
One of the critical pieces to being productive and being able to thrive is to make sure you’re getting enough sleep at night. When you’re tired, you’ll be less productive throughout the day, and often it’s easier to perform your parental duties at a lower standard as well.
How much sleep you actually need will be different per person. While there are plenty of studies out there about how many hours that should be, everyone is wired just slightly differently. The average number that is generally thrown around is 8 hours of sleep. That number works really well for me, but my wife doesn’t need that much usually to be functional and productive.
Whatever the number of hours is that gets you to a productive state, that’s the number you need to shoot for. In order to make it there, there are a few things you’ll need to do.
Shut off media before bed
I talk about this a lot, but taking your phone to bed and laying there looking at it is a good way to keep yourself up. Find a place in your home where you can leave your phone at night before you go to bed. You’ll likely find that it is easier to fall to sleep when you are not constantly looking at your phone.
At first, this may be tough if you’re used to taking your phone with you, so take it slowly if that’s the case. Set a specific time limit on how long you’ll have your phone, and decrease that number each night. Eventually you won’t need to have it in bed with you.
Get your kids to bed quickly
I go to bed shortly after my kids go to bed. This motivates me to want to get my kids asleep as quickly as I can. Fortunately, they’re quite good at this at this point, but it requires dedication. We recently wrote several tips on making it easier to get your kids to sleep at night.
You’ll find that you have more time to do other things, and your stress level will be much lower if you’re able to get your kids to go to bed quickly.
Don’t eat right before bed
Going to sleep on a full stomach is not helpful in getting to sleep. Food is an energy source for your body, and by putting food into yourself right before going to bed, your body thinks that it’s got something it needs that energy for. It gears itself up to be active.
Try to leave at least 2 hours between your last meal/food, and when you go to bed. For some, that may be difficult, so do what what works for you - as with how many hours you sleep, how soon before you bed will affect you differently than it affects someone else. The goal is to make it so you're still able to get to sleep quickly.
Wear yourself out during the day
A lot of people aren’t tired at night because they haven’t been active enough. If you have a job where you sit all day, try to be active in the mornings and evenings to make up for this. Get out for a walk with your kids, take them to the park, or just have some other fun and active activities that you’re doing.
Since you have kids, you’ll likely live a more active lifestyle in general. My wife used to have a really hard time sleeping at night, but since having kids, she gets worn out by the time it’s time to go to sleep each night. I workout multiple times per week, and that combined with playing with my kids puts me in a place where I’m ready to sleep at night.
Figure out the best methods that work for you, and get to bed each night to get a full night's rest. You’ll find yourself more productive and energized when you do.