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5 Ways to Help Children Sleep Better at Night

Getting children into bed at a reasonable time is for many parents no easy feat. Yet, at the same time, consistently good night's sleep is vitally important for children’s growth and development. For example, quality sleep for children can have an impact on a range of areas including: 

  • Their health: less likely to be susceptible to colds, flu and other minor ailments
  • Their memory: well-rested children are more like to have an advanced developed memory
  • Their education: a healthy lifestyle (that includes sleeping) will help your child to perform better at school
  • Their wellbeing: a good bedtime routine will have a positive effect on the overall wellbeing, helping them to feel happy and rested
  • Their behaviour: if children are suffering from sleep deprivation, this increases the likelihood of behavioural problems developing alongside increased hyperacidity.
  • Their long-term sleeping habits: if children develop bad sleeping habits from a young age, the chance of them having sleep problems when they are older increases too.

(Source: The Sleep Council) 

With all this in mind, let's take a look at some of the best ways you can help children to sleep better at nighttime.

Keep the bedroom a tech-free zone

Statistically, the number of children that are being diagnosed with sleep disorders has risen dramatically according to data put together by NHS Digital (Source: The Independent). In fact, it has been called a sleeplessness crisis: the number of children being admitted for sleep disorders has risen from 6,520 in 2012- to a whopping 9,429 in 2018 (Source: The Guardian).

kids-video-games

One way of tackling this head-on is by saying no to electronic devices.  In the same way that having electronic devices in the bedroom can disrupt sleep for adults, this also applies to children.

This is down to the blue light that is emitted from the screens which have an impact on the levels of the sleep-inducing hormone, melatonin.

It is recommended that devices are switched off a minimum of 30 minutes before their bedtime (this includes things such as iPads.) Experts also recommend considering the lighting used as well: such as having a nightlight.

Make the bedroom a peaceful environment

The bedroom should be a relaxing place that one can wind down in.  Tips including reading a bedtime story to your child to help them unwind and use their imagination, tiring them out a little.

A bubble bath can also be a great way to help your child get ready for snoozing. This is because a bath encourages sleep as it mimics the drop in body temperature in the same way that the body decreases its temperature when preparing for sleep (Source: The Independent).

Make appropriate food choices

Giving children super sugary snacks just before going to bed is destined for trouble. The main reason for this is that it causes energy levels to rise dramatically.

Instead, if your child is feeling hungry before going to sleep give them a sustainable, long-lasting snack. For example, wholegrain crackers, toast or a piece of fruit are all good options.

Maintain a regular bedtime

If the time that your children go to sleep is inconsistent, this will make it much more difficult to ensure your children go to sleep at an approximate time. As a result,  one of the best ways to create good sleeping habits is to create and maintain a regular routine.

A regular time for going to sleep is an excellent way of helping with habit formation, as it makes your child more aware of what time they need to get to sleep by.

Do they have a comfortable bed? 

It is possible that the root cause of a child’s sleeping problem could be to do with an uncomfortable bed.  For example, the type of mattress an adult needs differs from that of a child. A child will usually require a firmer mattress than an adult.

Not only are comfortable beds important, but the bedding can have a huge impact on sleep too. Weighted or heavy blankets, such as those provided by Calming Blankets, can have a huge impact on awareness of your body parts and provide a more comfortable night's sleep.

 

Sources:

https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/sleep-and-tiredness/healthy-sleep-tips-for-children/

https://sleepcouncil.org.uk/advice-support/sleep-advice/common-sleep-scenarios/sleep-advice-for-children/

https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/children-sleep-bedtime-electronic-digital-devices-sugary-foods-health-a8563706.html

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2018/sep/30/childrens-lack-of-sleep-is-hidden-health-crisis-experts-say