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Tag Archives: Sleep

Keep Anxiety at Bay

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With the election behind us, we all know that anxiety levels have been elevated. But anxiety is a natural side effect of being human; however, too much can be detrimental to our mental health. It is important to be aware of the presence of anxiety in our lives, and most importantly, find ways to keep it in check so we can live our days to their fullest.

Here are some helpful tips & tricks to help you keep anxiety to a minimum.

  • Know Your Own Cues. We often know with personal insight whether something in our lives is off balance or doesn’t feel right. During times of high anxiety, ask yourself questions like: When I feel anxious, how long does it normally last? How am I able to cope with these feelings? Cultivating self-awareness in this way allows for us to recognize when anxiety is lasting too long, which lets us know when it is time to get the help we need.
  • Take care of your own well-being. Some people use yoga, exercise, religion or other activities to try and keep themselves balanced and feeling well. Turn to your friends and family and enjoy time together.
  • Maintain as consistent a sleep schedule as possible. Routine sleep times are beneficial for positive mental health. Around bedtime, avoid media outlets that distract you, or that tend to cause excess mind chatter. Shut off your phone and watch a comedy instead.

The Family Institute offers affordable, effective mental health counseling for families, couples and individuals in Evanston, Chicago, Northbrook and Westchester. Learn more about our Anxiety and Panic Treatment ProgramLearn more about our services on our website.

Sleep and School

Boy sleeping in schoolThe school year is underway, routines are becoming more habitual and your child has homework, practice and family time to balance.

This archived Family Tip of the Month column addresses how much sleep our children need and what happens when they don’t get adequate sleep.

From the tip:

“Cutting corners when it comes to sleep is more hazardous to our kids’ welfare than most parents realize. We may be so accustomed to playing fast and loose with sleep — we often compromise our own as we go about our over-scheduled lives — that we’ve lost perspective on our children’s need for sleep.”

Read the entire tip and learn more about what scientists have learned about sleep and what the recommended hours of sleep children and teens need.

Sharing knowledge is a vital part of the Institute’s mission. To widely disseminate knowledge about family relationships, the Institute created Tip of the Month, our two online eBlasts that highlight how to promote strong couples and healthy families by focusing on timely and relevant topics. Sign up to receive our Tips via email.

The Family Institute offers affordable counseling at our locations in Evanston, Chicago, Northbrook and Westchester. Visit our website to learn more.


4 Ways to Get Better Sleep (and How It Can Benefit You)

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man_asleep_at_deskFor many, getting more sleep is high on their lists of new years resolutions. With our increasingly “plugged in” lifestyles, the ubiquitous availability of entertainment, and the trend to over-schedule the kids, something’s gotta give. Too often, it’s sleep — our own and our childrens’.

Separate studies from the University of Michigan shed new light on some of the many recently understood benefits of adequate sleep. One study found that more sleep — not more income — made the biggest contribution to working women’s happiness. Intriguingly, it took only one extra hour of sleep at night to significantly boost a sense of personal contentment.

Another study found that third and sixth grade children who slept fewer than nine hours per night were at higher risk for being overweight. And for every additional hour of sleep, the risk decreased.

Neuroscientists have come to believe that sleep is how our brains consolidate the effects of our waking experiences — taking what happens in our daily lives and transforming it into a kind of permanent “imprint” in the brain. Examples include athletic skills that become more solidly embedded during sleep, or classroom knowledge that becomes more embedded in students’ minds as a result of sleep.

Here are some sleep tips to consider:

  • Follow the National Sleep Foundation’s recommendations, especially on school/work nights:

Toddlers: 12-14 hours
Preschoolers: 11-13 hours
Elementary & Middle Schoolers: 10-11 hours
Teens: 8-1/2 to 9-1/2 hours
Adults: 7-9 hours

  • Wind down earlier in the evening. Consider getting homework underway before dinner, or cutting corners on the nighttime routine — shorter baths and less TV, for instance. Don’t be intimidated when the children pout and complain about a “too early” bedtime. Your job isn’t to keep them happy, but to keep them healthy and at their all-around best. Sufficient sleep is an important part of that.
  • Explain to your children what happens when we’re sleep deprived: we feel grouchier, our thinking isn’t as sharp, we have trouble paying attention, there’s less energy. Few kids have been taught about the purpose of adequate sleep.
  • Practice what you preach and head to bed yourself. Record that late night TV show to view at another time, and set yourself a curfew beyond which you won’t check email. While it’s tempting to catch up on your to-do list once the kids are off to bed, the greater benefit may come from catching those extra Zs.


For more tips, visit The Family Institute’s Tip of the Month webpage.

The Family Institute offers affordable counseling at our locations in Evanston, Chicago, Northbrook and La Grange Park. Visit our website to learn more.


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