3 tips for parents having sleep troubles during the pandemic

Updated Oct 17, 2023
Mom Up At Night Looking At Phone

Have you been having difficulty sleeping? If so, you’re not alone. During these unprecedented times, when families are self quarantining and social distancing due to COVID-19, the changes in routine - as well as the emotional toll from the pandemic - can have a huge impact on sleep. 

It makes sense that when a kid is having trouble settling down or staying asleep, it’s going to be harder for their parents to sleep well too. However, even if your child’s sleep hasn’t changed, you might be having trouble sleeping right now. It’s understandable.

Since sleep is vital for our physical and emotional wellbeing, it’s especially essential to prioritize it right now. As a million self-care memes will tell you - you can’t pour from an empty cup.

We’re all on top of regular hygiene (we’ve got the handwashing down). Yet, proper sleep hygiene is important too. Be sure to put your phones and tablets aside about an hour before you want to be asleep. The blue light from screens can suppress melatonin production. This in turn can push your body clock later, making it harder to fall asleep when desired.

Unfortunately, fear and uncertainty have become a part of daily life for many of us right now.  We can turn off our screens, but sometimes it’s much harder to turn off our minds before bed. If this sounds like you, we recommend giving mindfulness a try. 

Apps like Calm and Headspace have guided meditations of varying lengths to help clear the mind before bed. Since you’ll be listening, rather than watching, you won’t have to worry about the effects of blue light from the screen. Both have free trial periods.

If you want to go tech-free, try this simple exercise at bedtime: After you turn off the light and get comfortable, start counting your breaths. Breathe in and out normally. As you inhale, count “1” to yourself. As you exhale, count “2.” Keep counting until you reach the number 10 or you lose your place, at which point you start over at “1.” Repeat until you’re asleep.

It can be tough to get back to sleep when your child wakes you during the night. It can be particularly difficult if you wake during the early morning period after 4:00 AM, when we’re cycling through the lighter stages of sleep. 

If your child is having trouble sleeping at night because their naps have gone out the window, we’ve got some tips for that here. Or if they’re having bad dreams we have some recommendations for that too

Note: The content on this site is for informational purposes only and should not replace medical advice from your doctor, pediatrician, or medical professional. If you have questions or concerns, you should contact a medical professional.