Six Tricks to Help Your Kids Sleep Better at Night
By: Brooke Chaplan
Kids are naturally full of energy, and getting them to bed at night can be quite a battle for any parents. However, kids that experience poor sleep quality or resist going to bed on time will struggle to wake up on time and stay alert through the day. If you want your little ones to stay healthy and get up on time this school year, use these tips to help.
Children benefit from having a regular bedtime routine. Allow your children to decide on quiet activities before bed. This will empower them, while allowing time to wind down. Routines add a sense of stability and security, especially for younger children. Be sure to include reading a few books together. Finally, establish a recognized end to the routine, such as saying good night or officially turning off the light. Be sure to establish individual bedtimes depending on your child’s age and needs. Eventually your kids will be conditioned to naturally fall asleep at the end of the routine. Be sure to make your kids wake up on time, otherwise sleeping in will disrupt their sleep routine.
Very bright clocks or night lights can actually disrupt sleep habits. If your child’s room has an abnormal amount of light pollution at night, consider upgrading the shutters, blinds or custom plantation shutters from Sunburst. In fact, allowing the children to choose the curtain pattern such as popular media characters, can help make them feel more comfortable in their room. Finally, consider moving any small electronics away from the bed, as many electronics emit electrical fields which can disrupt sleep.
According to the American Academy of Pediatricians (AAP), today’s children spend an average of seven hours on various electronic entertainment platforms. This includes TV, computers, smart phones, and game systems. Many studies show that excessive electronic use can lead to sleep disorders. The AAP strongly recommends that parents create a ‘screen-free’ zone through removing all electronics from their bedrooms. Allowing children to enjoy entertainment media for just 1-2 hours well before bedtime will help your kids sleep better at night.
Instead of wasting hours sitting on the couch in front of the TV, encourage your children to be physically active after school. This has excellent health and weight control benefits, in addition to helping them sleep better. In fact, studies have shown that the more physically active children are during the day, the faster they fall asleep at night. Encourage your children to play outside games with neighborhood kids. Make sure your child has a bike and proper safety equipment. If possible, encourage them to engage in school sports.
Cut out the Snacks
The National Sleep Foundation (NSF) points out that what you eat and drink can affect the quality of your sleep. Protein rich meals are better served at breakfast and lunch, instead of dinner. Turkey, chicken, fish, nuts and eggs all contribute to serotonin creation, which makes the body sleepy. The NSF also points out people who consume high amounts of fatty foods and low amounts of vegetables experience sleep problems. Make sure that your kids have a healthy, light dinner before bedtime.
Create a Comfortable Environment
Children need to have a comfortable and tidy environment in order to properly relax and go to sleep. Make sure your kids’ rooms are clutter free and have minimal light distractions. Many people also sleep better in a slightly cool room. The National Sleep Foundation recommends that the temperature be kept at roughly 65 degrees. Keep in mind that the body’s temperature naturally falls during sleep, so a hotter room will disrupt sleep cycle.
You children will sleep better through having a bedtime routine. Encourage them to be physically active during the day and refrain from feeding them too much at night. Be sure your children’s rooms are tidy and comfortable, and all will result in better sleep quality and consistency for your children.