Getting a goodnight’s sleep at any age can sometimes feel like it’s never going to happen. However, the negative implications that poor sleep can have is particularly harmful in children. Poor sleep can harm physical and emotional development. That’s why it is so important to try and help your child towards getting a goodnight’s sleep. This isn’t an impossible task, but rather a task that involves a few steps that will ensure a positive outcome.
Establish a routine
Parents right now are probably thinking that establishing a routine is easier said than done. However, by putting the hard yards in early, establishing and sticking to a routine will become second nature.
A bedtime routine is one step parents can take towards helping their child get a goodnight’s sleep. A nighttime routine involves your child going through a few pleasurable activities, starting about 20 minutes before bed. The best bedtime routines helps soothe and calm the kids to prepare them for sleep.
A bedtime routine can have a few activities. The key is doing these activities in roughly the same way each night. Most routines include tasks like bath time or brushing teeth as well as fun activities like reading or listening to a story. Whatever the bedtime activity includes, make sure that it keeps the atmosphere calm and positive.
No screens before bed
Something else that help kids get a goodnight’s sleep is limiting screen time before bed. This is because screens have the potential to impact both the quantity and quality of sleep. Tablet and smartphone screens emit blue light that can cause sleep delays. This is harmful to children’s sleep because they have not yet developed the protective pigments in their eyes that filter out some of the blue light.
The idea of blue light is harmful because is suppresses the body’s production of melatonin. Melatonin is a key hormone that kids produce in order to fall asleep quickly and easily. When kids have been on a screen before bed, the production of melatonin is interrupted, making it harder for kids to fall asleep.
The presence of a night light in a child’s room can drastically improve sleep. Our bodies have been hard-wired to want to sleep around other people. Meaning that, when kids are left to sleep alone, they can become afraid.
Instead of staying up all night afraid, kids can benefit from night lights. A soft, dim glow from the night light provides a halo of light. This light comforts kids when they are about to fall asleep or when they wake up during the middle of the night. With a nightlight, kids will welcome sleep rather than resist it. Bedroom Critic also suggest other helpful ways for making your child’s room conducive to sleep, from selecting the right pillows for their age and size, to ensuring the room isn’t too hot or noisy.
Avoid late night snacks
What your child eats before lights out can have a drastic impact on the amount and quality of sleep they will get. Therefore, snacks that contain sugar should be avoided so kids aren’t hyped up before bed.
A child that goes to bed hungry will also have a hard time falling asleep. If your child is hungry before bed, despite being served an adequate dinner, parents should give them a snack.
A before dinner snack should be high in protein or fibre. Something like nuts, berries or greek yoghurt makes for a good snack. In fact, a snack doesn’t even have to be food. Milk is another good option as it contains melatonin. Warm the milk up to make it even more soothing as this will help a child relax into sleep.
Get plenty of sun during the day
Light is a powerful guide for the body. This is because light rays influence chemistry and behavior which in turn works to keep us in sync with the day. Sunlight also helps regulate sleeping patterns. Without getting enough sun, the melatonin in our body will be on a delay which means that the hormones needed to sleep won’t be released at a reasonable time. Getting plenty of sun is key to regulating our body to stay awake and to fall asleep.
Getting a goodnight’s sleep
The repercussions of sleep deprivation become visible after only four nights where individuals sleep just one hour less than recommended each night. This is quite daunting considering all of the aspects that sleep can impact. Namely, growth hormones are secreted during sleep and it is widely stated that sleep helps the heart. So, in order to nurture our bodies, sleep is essential.
Building a better bedtime routine is the perfect place to start when it comes to helping your child towards a better night’s sleep. Once a routine is established, the body will quickly fall into the habit of sleeping at a normal time. Simple things like eliminating screen time before bed or avoiding late night snacks are a few more steps parents can employ to support their kids’ sleep.