Everyone feels better after a decent night’s rest – including our children. Getting quality sleep is crucial to our emotional, mental and physical health in many ways. So, your kids must be getting the rest they need to lead happy and healthy lives.
However, it’s not always easy! Here, we’ll look at the importance of sleep for children and how you can make simple changes to ensure they get decent shut-eye.
Sleep and wellbeing in kids
A poll by the National Sleep Foundation found that over two out of three kids under ten years have had a sleeping issue. Sleep assists our brains in processing information and it needs this ‘downtime’ to cope with essential, day-to-day tasks like making friends and performing well at school.
It’s suggested that the the effects of poor sleep include: memory problems, low mood, poor concentration, weakened immunity, and even overeating, which can all negatively impact a child’s social, school and extracurricular activities.
It’s a good idea to try and enhance your child’s sleeping patterns. Here’s how much sleep your kids should be getting, according to the National Sleep Foundation:
- 1-2 years: 11-14 hours.
- 3-5 years: 10-13 hours.
- 6-13 years: 9-11 hours.
For teens, the ideal sleep duration is about 9 hours a night. Worried there’s an issue? Don’t. Here are some top tips on improving the sleep of your children:
Invest in a good bed
If your child says they can’t sleep because they’re uncomfortable or keeps waking up in the night, perhaps their mattress is wrong. The most popular sleeping position is on the side, and if your kid sleeps this way too, how about buying a mattress for side sleepers? It could make all the difference.
Make bedrooms a place they want to be
Few kids are happy when bedtime calls. So, the trick is to make their bedrooms somewhere they want to be in at the end of the day. Ask them how they’d like to decorate it or surprise them by painting it in their favorite color.
If they’re scared of the dark, put in a night-light and try to minimize the natural light that can get in through the window using thick curtains – lack of light sends a signal to our bodies telling them that it’s time to rest.
This might be tough to enforce, particularly if you have teenagers, but try to put a stop to your children using cellphones and computers in their bedroom at night. The blue light emitted by screens block the production of melatonin and harms our ability to drift off.
So, make it a family rule to turn off all devices at least an hour before bedtime and keep technology in bedrooms to a minimum.
No parent wants a late-night sugar-rush for their child. So, make sure to keep cookies, sodas and other sweet treats out of reach in the evening. It’s also a good idea to plan dinner at least two hours before bedtime, as a busy digestive system can keep your child up, too.
Stick to a routine
Make bedtime fun and not something your child is dreading or trying to put off every night. Work out what time your kids need to be up in the morning and schedule a time they should go to sleep to get the amount of rest they need.
Incorporate a routine that includes bath–time, their favorite story and tucking them in yourself to help them ease into sleep.
Hopefully, these tips will improve your child’s sleep quality and make going to bed simpler everyone.
** This is a collaborative post **