10 Ways To Help Your Children Sleep Better
How to help your youngsters sleep soundly...
19 December 2018
Children’s tech obsession can be hard enough for parents to deal with during the day.
But new evidence suggests they should be concerned about the effect it’s having on kids at night too.
Research shows that the 40% of children aged between 6-11 years who use mobile phones, laptops or tablets in the hours before bedtime are getting around 20 minutes less sleep a night than kids who don’t use tech in the run-up to bedtime.
And that means children who use tech before bedtime every night could end up with a sleep debt of around 121 hours a year.
The research questioned 1,000 parents and found that on average, children slept 60 minutes less if technology devices were in the room.
When light levels drop in the evening, our circadian timer switches on and stimulates the production of the sleep hormone melatonin, but the use of tech before bed disrupts this natural process.
The screens on phones and tablets emit blue light which suppresses the production of melatonin and stimulates the production of the chemical dopamine, which makes us feel alert.
By establishing a regular sleep routine, without mobiles or tablets, children will sleep better, perform better at school, and be happier and healthier as a result.
These tips will help school-age children get a good night’s sleep:
1. Screens off
Turn all screens off at least half an hour before bath time and don’t have TVs or computers in the bedroom.
2. Routine is vital
A consistent bedtime routine will help your child feel safe, and ready to sleep.
3. Early homework
Try to get homework done well before bedtime - it’s nice to have quiet time together before bed, chatting or reading.
4. No stimulants
Avoid fizzy drinks, chocolate or other foods containing stimulants - encourage your child to have a nourishing evening meal which is rich in carbohydrate and protein.
5. Bath then bed
Having a bath will only promote sleep if it’s immediately before bed, otherwise, it may give children a second wind.
6. Give them a comfy bed
Make sure your child’s bed and mattress are comfortable, and they have the right amount of bedding for the room temperature.
7. Attention please!
During the preparation for bed, give your child or children your fullest possible attention, and try not to take telephone calls.
8. Don’t use bedrooms as punishment
Children need to have happy associations with the room in which they sleep if they’re going to really relax and sleep well.
9. Give reassurance for sleep problems
School-age children can demonstrate a wide range of sleep difficulties, including settling problems, delayed sleep onset, waking during the night and nightmares.
10. Don’t let them get in your bed
If your child is accustomed to getting into your bed during the night, they’ll wake in anticipation of this move.