The most important aspect of sleep for kids and for adults is consistency
Dr. Whitney Roban tells us to create a sleep routine
By Jessica Legaspi
Moms need to prioritize sleep, yet many don’t get enough of it. According to a survey by the National Sleep Foundation, more than half of mothers get fewer than six hours of sleep per night and that’s a big problem. Not only does sleep help our bodies recover from stress, it stimulates our immune system and is essential for proper brain function to help improve concentration, memory, moods, alertness, and the ability to solve problems. Additionally, sleep deprivation has been linked to cancer, diabetes and other major medical issues. We had an opportunity to meet and speak with Dr. Whitney Roban, a sleep expert who’s researched and written about sleep and also developed a curriculum to help people improve sleeping habits. Dr. Roban explained it best:
“Sleep is the single most important behavior you will engage in on a daily basis,” she says.
Dr. Roban was working full-time in New York City but after giving birth to her first child, everything changed.
“I ended up being a stay-at-home mom and that was really not my plan, and my son didn’t sleep,” she explains. “That really was the beginning of my sleep journey and a complete career change for me.”
In 2002, Dr. Roban started out by leading a Mommy & Me group in NYC where she would help families implement a routine so their kids could sleep more. Once the parents had followed her tips and succeeded in getting their kids to sleep, they would return for help with improving their own sleep.
“The feedback about how getting sleep changed their lives… It was such a great feeling to know that I was making such a significant impact in other families,” Dr. Roban recalls.
Eventually, she created her own curriculum where she tackles the issue of sleep through four different components: the physical, emotional, cognitive and behavioral aspects of sleep.
Sleep, she says, “is the big umbrella that overarches us and protects us from physical sickness, emotional sickness, how we behave and how we succeed every single day.”
So how does one go about getting more quality sleep?
Caption: Photo: Dr. Whitney Roban
“Sleep is the single most important behavior you will engage in on a daily basis”
“The most important aspect of sleep for kids and for adults is consistency,” says Dr. Roban. In other words, moms should create a nighttime schedule and be consistent. This means having a sleep plan that gets carried out daily, even on weekends, where everybody (including other adults in the home) agree to be on the same page.
Dr. Roban says for kids this routine should be no more than 15-minutes and include a bath or shower, a book and lights out.
For adults, this nightly routine may include a bath or shower, journaling, yoga stretches, a lavender spray around the bedroom and lights out. Regarding iPhones, tablets and other devices, parents should remove these from their children’s bedrooms overnight and if possible, avoid checking their phone in the middle of the night.
“Electronics emit a blue light which goes into our eyes and tricks the mind into thinking its day time causing the body decreases the production of melatonin,” she explains. “I would say the majority of us are addicted to our phones. It’s never going away and we just have to learn to live with it and have boundaries.”
All in all, moms should make sure they are getting enough sleep each night so they can be at their best. This means being mindful of how much sleep they get and making sure they create a sleep routine that works for them. Taking a nap during the day, when possible, is always a plus.