In recent times, nothing has been a greater casualty of modern living than sleep. Adults and kids alike. We dont sleep enough. We are either too busy or too worn out. This has a lot to do with our time management. A lot of us lack proper sleep hygiene and its reflecting in our children’s sleep habits as well.
In reality, no one can really be too busy to sleep. But, it takes planning, discipline and intentionality. Practicing sleep hygiene is especially essential for children.
Their brains are still in their formative years and they need adequate rest to boost brain health and memory power. Sufficient sleep improves their all round development. However, there are some children who are too boisterous and seem to function on less sleep. They sleep late and wake up early. This has been proven to have nothing to do with nature but nurture. The environment instills in them habits that encourage poor sleep.
By practising the following sleep hygiene tips, you help them beat the sleep blues;
- Avoid high stimulation activities just before bed, such as watching
television, playing video games or exercise.
- Ensure that they dont eat meals at least 3 hours before bedtime
- Limit their liquid intake to the barest minimum to prevent frequent wakes during the night to visit the toilet. If they have to, let it be either water or a war beverage at keast an hour befire bedtime
- Keep their rooms devoid of excitement close to bedtime. No video games or TV.
- Keep their rooms cool. Cooler room temperatures promote sleep and reduce perspiration, discomfort, and itching
- Ensure that you keep their rooms devoid of insects such as mosquitoes and cockroaches. Use mosquito nets or insect repellants
- Try to put them in bed when they are drowsy. It is importnt they associate their own beds with sleep. That way, mentally, when they are in bed, its easier to fall asleep
- In the same vein, try not to encourgae too many activities in bed. Lest they see it as a playground instead of a sleep tool
- Consistent and repetitive activities such as bathing and brushing before bedtime will create a pattern that will lull them to sleep earlier
- Encourage physical activity during the day. The more they exert themselves during the day…the more fatigued they become towards the end of it.
- Teach them meditation exercises such as taking in deep slow breathes or slowly counting numbers before they fall asleep. This will help even out their breathes and calm themndown enough to sleep
- Limit daytime naps to 45 minutes, maximum.
- Developing a sleep routine such as the same sleep time every night helps
- Keep their bodies warm and the room cool. A body warmed passively by a hot bath falls asleep more quickly as evidenced in bbies who are given a warm bath before bed.
- Reading an age-appropriate book together is helpful for younger children to get them to sleep earlier.
If trying these sleep hygiene tips consistently for a period of time does not yield the desired results, your child might probably be suffering from a condition that your doctor could help with.
What tips are the more practical for you?