People of all age groups need to get enough sleep, especially children, as they are constantly on the run. But many kids and teens experience sleep issues, which can make it difficult for them to concentrate at school, home or play time. Sleep deprivation, or not getting enough sleep, can also impact a kid’s emotions, behavior, weight, and mood. The Covid-19 pandemic too had a fair share of impact on sleeping habits in children and has altered it in many ways over the last two years.
That’s why today we are going to discuss developing healthy sleep habits in children.
Why are healthy sleeping habits important for children?
During your child’s sleep, a complicated cycle of activities is in motion. The body alternates between two phases while it is sleeping: rapid eye movement (REM), which is when dreams often happen, and no-rapid eye movement (NREM), which is the quieter period of sleep. By the time they reach preschool age, your child is switching between these states every 90 minutes or so.
Since this is the time when the body gets to perform some “housekeeping”, getting enough sleep is essential, as is correctly cycling through these stages. Your child’s body replenishes energy reserves, heals tissue, and produces hormones that are vital to development when they are sleeping. Improved attention, behavior, mood, learning, memories, life quality, and mental and physical health are all benefits of obtaining adequate sleep on a regular basis.
By forming sound sleep practices or sleep hygiene early on, many sleep issues can be avoided.
Create a schedule that enables your child to set aside the events and worries of the day and rest peacefully until the next morning in order to encourage sound sleep.
Tips to ensure a healthy sleep pattern:
1. Make sleeping adequately a family priority: Set firm boundaries, like the hour when the lights must be turned off.
2. Establish a bedtime ritual
- Let them take a nice bath, listen to music, or read a book to help them unwind.
- Establish a relaxing atmosphere. Check if the temperature is just right and turn down the lights. The use of a nightlight is okay.
- Before turning out the lights, spend some quality time with your child. Talk about subjects that won’t upset them.
- Set an alarm for when you want them to wake up in the morning.
3. Encourage your kid to move the clock to a location where they can’t see it from bed if they are constantly checking the time.
4. Keep your kid busy during the day, but steer clear of vigorous activities right before bed. Avoid scheduling too many events, especially late at night.
5. Encourage your youngster to soak up as much sunlight as they can during day, especially in the morning. Melatonin is suppressed by bright light. Your youngster will feel up and attentive during the day and sleepy before night as a result of this.
6. Daytime naps should be avoided by your child. Taking a nap during the day may make it more difficult to get to sleep at night. If they insist on taking a nap, it shouldn’t be more than 30 min.
7. At least an hour before going to bed, turn off any electronics with lit screens, including computers, cell phones, and video games. Your youngster may experience sleep issues as a result of the screen light.
8. Caffeine-containing beverages, such as sodas, energy drinks, coffee, and tea, should be avoided by your child, especially in the afternoon and evening.
9. While your child shouldn’t have a large dinner right before bed, they also shouldn’t go hungry to the bed. A small snack is an excellent idea before bed.
10. Maintain a consistent sleep routine. Even on weekends, you should encourage your child to attempt to sleep and wake up at the regular time like each day. Even if he prefers to sleep extra on the weekends, he should get up no later than two hours after the normal time on weekdays.
11. Only sleep on beds. Don’t let them eat or watch TV in bed. The bed should only be linked with sleeping in the child’s memory. Remove the TV entirely from the bedroom if necessary.
12. Teach him to get some rest when he feels tired rather than waiting until he feels “second wind.”
After lying in bed for 20 minutes, if your child still can’t sleep, have him get out of bed and do something else until he feels drowsy. The effects of these changes could take up to two weeks to manifest. Don’t give up after the first week!
The everyday habits of your child, including what they eat and drink, the drugs they take, their schedule for the day, and how they choose to spend their evenings, can have a big impact on how well they sleep. In certain circumstances, even a few minor tweaks can mean the difference between a good night’s sleep and a restless one.