If you're a parent who is sharing their bed with a spouse and a child, then it's time to reclaim your bedroom. A guest of The Dr. Oz Show, Dr. Michael Breus is a sleep specialist with a 4-step plan to reclaiming your bed.
Drs. Oz and Breus firmly believe you need 7 hours of sleep a night; good health depends not just on how long you sleep, it's how good your rest is as well. Dangers of disrupted sleep can include diabetes, obesity and in women, heart problems. In fact, if you're getting 5 hours of sleep a night, your chances for all these conditions increase by 50%.
Follow this plan to kick out the kids and embrace your REM.
Step 1: Get Rid of the Guilt
Do not try to make up for your own feelings of guilt by allowing kids to stay up later or letting them sleep in your bed. If you start this habit, you should be prepared for pattern to last 3 years. Instead, spend quality time together - preferably something that involves the whole family and physical activity. You'll all get the exercise you need and feel more tired from it!
Step 2: Set The Stage
A happy, healthy night's sleep starts with daytime activities. Talk with your children about bedroom expectations; mommies and daddies sleep in their room while kids sleep in theirs. A helpful activity to help set the sleeping stage is to role play by putting their toys to sleep.
Step 3: Take the Path of Most Resistance
When parents are exhausted, the tendency is to follow the path of least resistance. However, doing what's easiest to get your child back to sleep (like letting them sleep with you) is not what's healthiest for you or the child. Once you start sleep training, bed sharing must end entirely and immediately. There are no negotiations.
After a nightly disturbance, walk children back to their own bed. Yes, there may be sobs, screams and begging, but you must not cave in.
Step 4 - Bet on Bribery
A small investment for a good night's sleep can work wonders. Create a chart that chronicles sleeping behavior and rewards. A small, inexpensive reward can be given after a night in bed; at the end of the week, if the goal number of nights has been met, reward the entire family with a favorite activity.