Sleep Matters! – H&S Education & Parenting
Importance Of Sleep In Children!
Sleep is extremely crucial for children for both their mental as well as physical health. According to studies, kids who get an adequate amount of sleep regularly, perform better as they have better attention, behaviour, learning as well as memory. Sleep is one of the essential needs for a developing young mind. It also helps by boosting the mood, cognitive performance and has positive effects on their physical growth along with motor skills development. In general, the emphasis on good sleeping habits is a key to a happy & healthy child.
Many kids either have a sleeping problem or don’t get enough sleep and this, in turn, can affect not just their mood but their general health leading to diseases related to problems with their immune system, high blood pressure, obesity, anxiety, depression just to name a few. In order to develop good sleeping habits, as a parent you need to first understand the sleeping needs of your child. Age-appropriate routines, attention to sleep disorders such as night terrors, etc can help you help your child get the correct amount of sleep for their healthy growth & wellbeing.
How To Ensure Your Child Gets A Good Night’s Sleep-
A typical bedtime routine along with a conducive sleeping environment is the best way to ensure a good night’s sleep. This should include switching off the screens, reducing bright lights, slipping into the nightwear and brushing the teeth routine, reading or singing a lullaby, use of a comfort object such as a favourite toy/blankie.
Most importantly practice putting your child to bed when they are sleepy which will help build a routine, helping them learn how to sleep on their own.
During the daytime include sleep hygiene which can help promote good sleep. This involves having a balanced schedule with periods of rest and play, sticking to a regular bedtime, having no screens in the bedroom, including a healthy diet, having a dark & quiet room or no bright lights or sounds, avoiding sugary meals, or treats or caffeine before bedtime. Include exercise in the routine but don’t ever exhaust a child so they can sleep!
Tips On How To Help Babies Sleep:
Babies take time to develop their Circadian Cycle (a natural internal process that regulates sleep). Younger babies rarely sleep through the night and they may be required to be soothed by either talking or touching. Try to avoid too much movement, sound, or light.
Tips On How To Help Toddlers Sleep:
A typical toddler’s sleep routine involves 2 naps a day along with a night’s sleep. Many may have sleep problems but in order to reduce these, you need to be patient and loving, and a little flexible by letting your toddler have some choices such as picking their nightwear or the book they want to read.
Tips On How To Help School Kids Sleep:
It can be difficult to attain a good night’s sleep for a school kid with so much happening. It’s important that you ensure a wind-down period before they go to bed and follow a schedule as well as avoid using the bedroom for activities other than sleeping.
Tips On How To Help Teenagers Sleep:
Unlike babies, teenagers have a later circadian cycle and this can interfere with their life. In order to help them get a healthy amount of sleep, it’s important to have a schedule that suits them. Also as teenagers tend to be rebellious in order to avoid this, follow a routine yourself so that you and your teenager can get a good amount of sleep.
Remember to stick to the routine daily including the holidays & weekends, as disrupting the schedule will not do any good. Despite all attempts, if your child is still struggling to sleep, it’s advisable to visit a paediatrician who can determine if he/she has a sleep disorder and advise you accordingly.