The term sleep hygiene is used to describe a series of behaviors and routines that can be used to facilitate sound sleep on a regular basis, and it is also something that is crucial for children’s health. When sleep difficulties emerge in kids, they are often the result of insufficient sleep hygiene practices. By heeding some helpful sleep hygiene advice, it is possible to develop an effective, consistent sleep pattern that enhances every child’s well-being.
The fact is that humans thrive on habit. Following a regular, unwavering bedtime schedule is a great way for your child’s subconscious mind as well as their body to recognize when it is time to wind down for the day. While the specifics of the regimen can be customized to suit each child, the routines should be roughly 20 minutes in length and contain three or four calming tasks like changing into good quality kids pyjamas, taking a warm bath, brushing and flossing, and some light reading. These habits build a sense of relaxation and comfort, and this can thwart the development of insomnia and other sleep troubles.
Set A Regular Bedtime
Having a set sleep time helps children’s body clocks regulate themselves so that slumber comes easily when it is supposed to each day. It is important for bedtimes to remain consistent, however, and this applies to both school nights as well as weekends. Switching bedtimes depending on what is happening the next day can undermine success, because it alters the body clock and interrupts the regularity that is needed.
Shut Off Screens
Though electronic devices are part of just about everyone’s daily life, it is important to set a time each night when they must be turned off. Televisions, smart phones, tablets, and the like put out a sort of blue light that is a known melatonin suppressor. This interferes with the body’s ability to go to sleep, and kids are thought to be especially susceptible to the effects of this light. Furthermore, excessive time in front of a screen serves to stimulate the brain and hinders its ability to power down for the night. It is best to remove devices from the bedroom altogether and cease use no less than an hour prior to bedtime.
One of the best ways for adults and children alike to sleep more easily and remain asleep is to get sufficient amounts of daily physical activity. Kids generally need roughly an hour or more of exertion daily in order for proper sleep to occur, though it is important not to engage in such activity within a couple of hours of the nightly bedtime. Neglecting this rule of thumb can cause difficulties with winding down, something that only adds to the frustration of disturbed sleep patterns.
This should be obvious to just about everybody, but it bears repeating that this stimulant works to hinder the start of sleep, and it also has a negative impact on sleep quality. Coffee, energy drinks, soda, tea, and chocolate all contain sufficient caffeine to cause sleep troubles. Children should not have any caffeine at all within at least six hours of retiring, and even better is for them to steer clear of it entirely.
Though kids certainly love their pets, and many want to curl up tightly with theirs at night, it really is best to discourage this practice. Pets tend to move around and make unpredictable noises throughout the night, and this can lead to a restless night for youngsters. Urge pets to sleep elsewhere at night, but consider incorporating a goodnight hug between child as pet into the regular bedtime regimen.