With little ones at home, a disruption to sleep can make it hard to carry on with “life as usual,” not to mention get the proper rest needed for recovery.
If you and your child are sick, the odds are that you’ll be awake at night taking care of them. Getting your sleep schedule back on track can be difficult, so read on to learn the best ways to handle disruptions both during and post-illness. Here are five ways to re-set and feel better after a family illness.
Stocking up for both the illness phase and post-illness phase is important. If lingering symptoms keep you or your kids awake after the height of your illness has passed, resetting back to your normal routines will be harder.
Have support on hand, such as cold & flu medicine, diarrhea relief, and other nourishing foods. Keeping homemade veggie or chicken broth on hand in the freezer can be a lifesaver, along with some gentle, sleep-promoting herbal teas such as chamomile (also safe for kids).
Busy Parent Tip: We’re big fans of delivery services like PostMates and Instacart, where you can order healthy foods and medicines and get them delivered same-day to your door.
Get as Much Rest as Possible
When children (and adults) are sick, they need more rest than usual. Especially if diarrhea was involved, frequent nighttime waking and an inability to adequately rest affects you and your kids. Allow plenty of time post-illness to rest and recover.
Dr. Michael Breus points out that while 1-3 naps per day of 25 minutes or less can be extremely helpful, longer naps can leave you feeling worse than before. Also, adults with insomnia or other sleep problems should avoid napping and focus instead on getting a good night’s rest.
Stay Home from Work and School
On that same note, if you can swing taking an extra sick day from school and work, by all means, do it. Even if you’re on the mend, having added time to stay home and finish recovering can be important to get your routines back on track.
Dehydration can follow sickness if you fail to replenish. Make sure you and your entire family get plenty of fluids. Water is best, but you can also include coconut water (brands with no added sugars), homemade broths, and herbal teas like peppermint, chamomile, and ginger. Avoid beverages with caffeine and sugar.
Adjust Your Schedule Accordingly
Even if just your kids are sick, you can probably bank on canceling that morning workout or meeting. Expect to be awake a lot at night nursing your child back to health, and give yourself as much cushion the next day as possible to make up for it.
Adding the major stress of having to be up early doing something not related to your sick kid is best to avoid, if possible.
If your partner can share night time responsibilities, this makes a huge difference. Take shifts, one parent taking the first four hours of the night and the second taking the last four, for example. This way, you’ll have uninterrupted sleep.
A family-wide illness is challenging to bounce back from, but these tips and tricks can make it a little bit smoother and easier to manage for everyone.