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Amelia Flynn is a certified baby and child sleep consultant based in Goulburn, NSW. When it comes to sleep, there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution.

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Nurture Sleep

Sleep is Important for Everyone: Why Healthy Sleep Habits are Crucial for Adults

One of the most commonly undervalued aspects of our modern society is sleep. Parents often prioritise their children’s sleep schedules but fail to consider the importance of their own healthy sleep habits. While it is true that babies and children require more sleep due to their rapid growth and development, adults still need restorative sleep to ensure their optimal health and well-being.

In this article, we’ll explore the benefits of healthy sleep habits for adults, some common reasons why adults struggle with getting quality sleep, and how parents can help themselves get more restful sleep.

Adults need an average of 7-9 hours of quality sleep per night. However, research shows that 1 in 3 Australians are not getting enough sleep. This lack of sleep can contribute to a host of health issues, including heightened risk for obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and hypertension. Sleep deprivation can also impact cognitive function, making it difficult to concentrate, learn, and make decisions. And for mums, lack of sleep can increase the risk of suffering from post natal depression.

Why do adults struggle with sleep? There are many factors that can contribute to poor sleep quality. Stress and anxiety, noise and light disturbances, discomfort, and poor sleep hygiene are just some of the most common culprits. One of the most common contributors is overactive minds that can’t seem to “switch off” at night. But whatever the reason may be, the solution is to establish healthy sleep habits.

Healthy sleep habits can be cultivated by creating a consistent sleep routine and a sleep-conducive environment. Setting aside uninterrupted time for sleep, avoiding heavy meals and caffeine, and establishing a relaxing bedtime routine can all help. Additionally, creating a sleep-conducive environment means making sure the bedroom is cool, dark, and quiet. A sleep mask, for example, can be an effective tool to block out light and help the brain recognise it is time to sleep.

Sleep masks are one of those under utalised methods that are useful for parents who have other distractions that hinder their ability to sleep, such as lights, noise or children. A sleep mask helps to block out external stimuli, providing a more peaceful environment where the brain can unwind and relax. Especially when day time napping is a must in those early months of parenthood.

In addition to the numerous health benefits that come with healthy sleep habits, it is important to note that getting adequate rest can also make us better parents. When we prioritise our own sleep, we are better equipped to handle the daily challenges and responsibilities of parenting.

First and foremost, being well-rested allows us to have the physical energy needed to keep up with our children. Parenting often requires a great deal of physical activity, whether it’s playing with them at the park, chasing them around the house, or carrying them when they’re tired. When we are sleep-deprived, our energy levels are depleted, and we may find it difficult to engage fully with our children or keep up with their boundless energy.

Furthermore, being well-rested positively impacts our mental and emotional well-being. Lack of sleep can contribute to heightened stress levels, irritability, and mood swings, making it challenging to respond to our children’s needs with patience and understanding. On the other hand, when we prioritise our sleep, we are more likely to approach parenting with a calm and composed mindset, allowing us to handle difficult situations more effectively and be emotionally available to our children.

Additionally, getting enough sleep enhances our cognitive abilities. It improves our ability to concentrate, make decisions, and solve problems, all of which are essential skills in parenting. By ensuring we are well-rested, we can approach parenting tasks with a clear and focused mind, enabling us to make better choices for our children and provide them with the guidance they need.

Lastly, taking care of our own sleep needs sets a positive example for our children. When they see us valuing and prioritising our own rest, they learn the importance of self-care and the value of establishing healthy sleep habits from an early age. By modelling good sleep practices, we help instill in them the understanding that sleep is crucial for overall well-being.

Healthy sleep habits are crucial for everyone, not just babies and children. As parents, it is important we look after ourselves as much for us as for our children. Sending sleepy vibes.

Hannah, Founder of Sleep Dreams

www.sleep-dreams.com.au