He encourages parents to create a room for their child that is quiet and dark. For adults who can't resist their phones or other screens at night, adjust the display setting on Night Shift, which will shift the colors on your screen into the warmer spectrum. Experts also recommend exposing yourself to as much daylight as possible during the day and dimming the lights in your house in the evening as part of a healthy sleep hygiene.
Screens, Dr. Canapari said that exercise is usually associated with a sedentary lifestyle, and exercise promotes sound sleep. He suggests that parents help their children get vigorous physical activity for at least 60 minutes each day, not just before bed. "It's pretty clear that this will help sleep," he said.
Leave out the alcohol.
Maybe you have a cocktail in hand instead of a screen. People drink in good times and bad, but there is evidence that consumption has increased since the pandemic began. Alcohol suppresses the central nervous system. It works by slowing down brain activity and creating a sleepy, calming feeling. This can seem very relaxing for someone struggling with sleep, but since alcohol is metabolized overnight, it actually causes problems. It robs the body of the crucial REM sleep and can trigger a "rebound effect" that wakes you up in the early hours after its calming effect has subsided.
So should you never drink again if you want to sleep better? Not necessarily, said Dr. Martin. "Give it up for a week and see if you can sleep better. For some people, a drink or two doesn't have much of an impact on their sleep, but for other people – especially when we're already a little more stressed and maybe wake up earlier anyway – that is enough to disrupt their sleep. "
If alcohol interferes with your sleep, it can cause you to consume another culprit for insomnia the next day. Caffeine comes in many forms and, like alcohol, affects people differently. If you think it is causing sleep problems, reduce them. Parents whose children do not sleep well should also read the labels that tell what they are drinking. Soda and chocolate contain caffeine, as do some sports drinks.
"Pretty much everyone should stop drinking or consuming caffeine about five hours before bed," said Dr. Martin, although some people might be better off with ten hours, she said.
In some cases of insomnia, prescription drugs and supplements – especially melatonin for children – can help, but it's important to speak with a doctor before going this route. The ultimate goal, said Dr. Canapari, "is to address the problem so that you don't have to use the drug over the long term."