Good sleep is not just important, it’s essential to your child’s overall development, well-being, and success. When a child does not get the restful and rejuvenating sleep they need, it can have a significant impact on various areas of their life, including both behavioral and academic aspects. Research shows that inadequate sleep can lead to lower test scores, reduced cognitive function, and increased irritability towards both family members and peers.
To ensure that your child enjoys the best night of sleep possible and maximizes their potential, here are some valuable tips to consider and implement.
Why is sleep important for kids?
It is important for kids to get the amount of rest needed so that their bodies can properly function and develop. Getting a good night’s sleep keeps kids alert and energetic throughout the day and reduces their risk of various medical conditions. In addition to physical health, sleep allows kids’ minds to be more active during learning activities, helping them do better in school. Perhaps just as importantly, sufficient sleep helps kids pay attention when they are at home alone or out in public, which greatly increases their safety. With so much importance tied to kids getting enough rest each night, it’s no wonder that parents should always prioritize making sure kids have enough sleep every night.
How much sleep do kids need?
Depending on the age of the child, kids should get an average amount of sleep ranging from 10 to 14 hours a night. For kids aged 0 – 5 it is highly recommended that they get 12-14 hours of sleep a day, while kids aged 6 – 12 should aim for around 11 – 12 hours within each 24 hour period. Although kids between 13 and 18 hold more independence in their decision making, it is still important to ensure they are getting plenty of rest so that their health and safety are never compromised when they are home alone after school or during the weekends.
What are some ways to help kids get a good night’s sleep?
1 – Avoid foods and beverages containing caffeine and/or sugar
Numerous research studies consistently highlight the detrimental effects of consuming food and drinks with high amounts of sugar or caffeine. These substances can contribute to restlessness and sleep deprivation, which can be particularly concerning for children. Therefore, it is advisable to limit their intake of such items, especially close to bedtime. It is worth noting that even some adults find that consuming anything containing caffeine or sugar past dinnertime can significantly disrupt their sleep, highlighting the need for mindfulness when it comes to children’s consumption of these substances. By being mindful of these potential effects, we can help promote healthier sleep habits for both children and adults alike.
2 – Decrease light pollution
Urban environments can have a lot of outside lights that make night-time a lot less dark than nature intended. This can have a very negative effect on the quality and soundness of sleep. The human body is naturally inclined to sleep through the darkest parts of the day. When we are exposed to too much light during these critical times, our body never gets true rest. Scientists call our deepest sleep REM. When you don’t sleep deeply you never reach this state of being. Thick curtains can reduce the effect of light pollution; however, modern window shutters are even better because they can reduce even more light.
3 – Temperature
It can be quite challenging to fall asleep in a room that is either excessively hot or too cold. Ensuring optimum comfort for a child is crucial for them to have the best night’s rest possible. It’s worth noting that many homes are often kept too warm, which can significantly interfere with a restful sleep. We recommend paying close attention to observe if your child experiences excessive sweating during the night, as this may indicate the need to adjust your thermostat accordingly to create a more suitable sleep environment.
4 – A consistent bedtime
Establishing a consistent bedtime routine is highly beneficial for children. As they grow older, their sleep requirements naturally decrease, allowing them to wake up refreshed and at their best. By gradually adjusting their bedtime, we can ensure they get the right amount of rest and maintain optimal well-being.
5 – Limit electronics
Encouraging your child to engage in activities that are not centered around video games, computers, television, and other electronic devices might initially seem like a challenging task. However, this simple change has the potential to significantly enhance the quality of their sleep. Starting at least an hour before bedtime, you can encourage them to listen to relaxing music, explore captivating books that transport them to different worlds, or indulge in the joy of storytelling. These activities can create a peaceful transition into bedtime, setting the stage for a restful night’s sleep and allowing their imaginative minds to wander before drifting off into dreams.
6 – Consider allergens
With more people than ever experiencing the discomfort of allergies, it is important to consider how this can affect sleep. If your child sounds congested or fidgets a lot, they might be experiencing allergic reactions to pyjamas or dust mites. Many doctors recommend that children sleep in cotton rather than synthetic fabrics since it allows for better heating and cooling during the night.
7 – Better sleep equals success
Engaging in efforts to improve your child’s sleep can lead to remarkable outcomes in various aspects of their life. From their behavior and academic performance to their relationships and physical well-being, a good night’s sleep plays a crucial role. Initially, establishing a consistent sleep routine might present challenges, but with time, they will effortlessly adapt and experience the countless benefits that come with a well-rested mind and body.
Good sleep habits are crucial for the entire family. Make sure that your child’s bedtime is not too close to yours, so you can also enjoy some quality rest. Avoid using screens at least one hour before going to bed and create a calm atmosphere in their room with dim lights or a nightlight if needed. Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide what works best for your family.