Sleep is often overlooked as a factor for success in school, but did you know that, according to the National Sleep Foundation, school children need up to 11 hours of sleep a night? Without sleep, kids can lose focus and become irritable throughout the day. Here are some tips to help your kids get to sleep and to help them fall back asleep if they wake up in the night:
1. Make your child’s bedroom conducive to sleep. It should be cool, dark and quiet. Try to avoid plugging in overly stimulating night lights or other things that will keep your child’s mind awake.
2.Try to complete homework and chores long before bedtime. If your child becomes frustrated or upset during these tasks, falling asleep right away will be much more difficult. Give them time to wind down from mentally stimulating activities.
3. Try to keep TV, computers, and other electronics out of the bedroom. When a child looks at a phone, TV, or computer, their mind is less likely to be able to relax and they will have a less restful sleep. If they wake up in the night and technology is present in the room, they will be more tempted to play with their devices and will be less able to fall back to sleep.
4. Avoid caffeine. Sugary sodas may seem harmless when eating dinner, but your child may not be able to wind down or relax until much later in the evening.
5. Emphasize a consistent routine. Routine is important for many reasons, but one of the main reasons is that your child will be more prepared to wind down every night.
6. Make sure your child is falling asleep in the same place every night. This is something parents of younger children may have to enforce more often. If your child falls asleep on the couch, a sibling’s room, even your bed, try to encourage them to go to and fall asleep in their own beds. It will not only help with keeping the nightly routine, but without the need to shuffle children to their own beds they will get a more restful sleep. This will also help them if they wake in the night, because they wont be confused or upset about where they are.
7.Teach your children the importance of healthy sleeping habits. If they understand why they need sleep and what the consequences of losing sleep are, they will feel more in control and more happy.
For more health and wellness tips, visit our partners at St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital