Sleep is essential for a child as it helps them recharge and supports their overall well-being. While some children snuggle in and fall asleep almost effortlessly, others struggle with it. Infact, Indian children are among one of the most sleep-deprived. But before you start dreading sleepless nights, wait, because we are here for you. Today, we bring you the best tips on how to sleep better at night naturally for your children, sleeping position for kids and how you can inculcate good sleep hygiene. So, just read ahead to know all about them.
What Is Sleep Hygiene?
Following a set of healthy sleep habits is termed sleep hygiene. These habits enable your child to fall asleep easily and enjoy an uninterrupted slumber. So, along with everything else you do for your child, practising sleep hygiene habits from a very young age should be a priority too. First, let’s understand the amount of sleep your child needs every day.
|Child’s age||Recommended sleep time in 24 hours|
|4 to 12 months||12 to 16 hours with naps|
|1 to 2 years||11 to 14 hours with naps|
|3 to 5 years||10 to 13 hours with naps|
|6 to 12 years||9 to 12 hours|
|13 to 18 years||8 to 10 hours|
How To Make Your Children Sleep Better?
Now that you know how many hours of sleep is essential for the overall well-being of your child, let’s see how you can effortlessly develop sleep hygiene in children.
1. A Set Bedtime and Wake Time
When it comes to sleep hygiene, a routine is imperative for a child. You must ensure that your little one goes to bed and wakes up at the same time every day, even on weekends. Why? Because when your little one breaks the flow of the routine one weekend to stay up late to watch their favourite movie or just to spend a fun time with you, they miss out on precious hours of sleep. It can disrupt their sleep schedule for several days to come, which you don’t want!
2. A Sleep Time Routine
A sleep time routine must include a set of predictable bedtime activities that help your child prepare for their bed. This can be putting on their night clothes or brushing their teeth.
3. Using A Security Object
If your child is sleeping alone, a security object can be helpful in giving them a sense of comfort and safety. This can be a soft blanket or a stuffed teddy.
4. Schedule Time For Exercise Every Morning
Kids are full of energy and when that energy remains unutilised, it can make it difficult for them to fall asleep at night. Here, make sure they exercise every day during the day. It is not only a healthy practice but also sharpens their focus and enables them to hit the sheets as per their schedule.
5. Relaxing Activities Before Bed
There are several relaxing activities that you can take up with your child. Here, you must be careful not to pick anything overly stimulating. Also, stay away from TV or phones as they emit blue light and it can disrupt sleep. That said, some of the activities you can choose include;
- Reading a story
- Listening to soft calming music
- Sing a song to your little one
- Just snuggle with your little one
6. Teach Relaxing Techniques
Sometimes, kids are overstimulated and just need help relaxing so they can fall asleep quickly. Infact, relaxing techniques can also be useful in school and throughout their lives to help them overcome anything overwhelming. The easiest way to relax is to take deep breaths. You can ask your little one to take a deep breath in and slowly let it out while only concentrating on their breathing. Next, ask them to think of positive and happy images like swinging on their favourite swing or playing in the water. This can be a powerful technique with practice.
7. Always Use Beds For Sleeping
One of the most common mistakes parents make is letting their kids do their homework or play a game on their beds. Why is this bad? Because it makes the child associate their bed with other activities and not sleep. So, the bed must only be used for a nap or a peaceful shut-eye.
8. Optimise The Sleep Environment
Imagine. You are sweaty and feeling hot and then the light is shining bright. Will you be able to sleep in such an environment? No. So, it is essential that you optimise your child’s sleep environment just the way they like it to ensure they are able to fall asleep easily. If not, your child may start wetting the bed.
9. Bedtime Delay
Sometimes, you may notice that even though you are close to bedtime, your child is not in the mood to fall asleep. Infact, they may look energetic and full of life. In such cases, it’s best to delay bedtime by 30 minutes because there is no use struggling to fall asleep.
10. Talk About The Worries
One of the reasons why your child may be having trouble falling asleep is because of a worry that’s eating at them. Maybe they had an issue at school or it can be a fight with a friend that’s troubling them, so always make sure you talk to them about their day. Talking to you about their worries must be a safe space for your kids.
11. Teach Mindfulness
Mindfulness can be a great practice that helps your child calm down and focus on the present. Kid-friendly meditation to breathing exercises can help you out here and prevent sleep apnea in children.
12. Avoid Sugar or Caffeine Before Bed
Sugary treats or food with caffeine can disrupt your child’s sleep. Therefore, be conscious of all the ingredients if you are treating your child to something store-bought so it doesn’t mess up their slumber time. Even some chocolate drinks may contain too much sugar and caffeine, which can be prevented by checking the ingredient list. Avoid Sugary or caffeinated drinks for kids after sunset.
Benefits Of Good Sleep Hygiene
When your little one practises good sleep hygiene and is able to enjoy a peaceful sleep throughout the night, it helps them wake up feeling refreshed and energised. So, mental and physical well-being is improved and memory becomes sharp. Other benefits of good sleep hygiene are;
- Improved focus and concentration
- Enhanced immune system
- Energy levels go up
- Muscle repair becomes improved
While the term can sound a little complicated, sleep hygiene is nothing but a set of healthy sleep habits that enables a quality slumber. If your child is having trouble falling or staying asleep, try the above-mentioned sleep hygiene tips as they can help you out. However, if nothing works, don’t hesitate and contact your healthcare practitioner today!
What Are The Consequences of Poor Sleep?
Most of us don’t realise the dangers associated with sleep. It’s not as simple as making up for the lost time. Receiving insufficient sleep can lead to decreased brain function, problems with focus and memory, learning difficulties, weight issues and also leads to negative emotional outbursts.
When To Visit A Paediatrician?
Sometimes, sleepless nights can be due to a health condition or a sleep disorder. So, even after following the tips if your child is unable to fall asleep or enjoy quality rest or you notice any other symptom, such as sleepwalking, it is essential to speak with your healthcare practitioner right away.
For children to sleep through the night without waking up, it is essential to follow proper sleep hygiene. Some of the sleep tips you can follow include -
- Make sure your child goes to bed and wakes up at the same time
- Make sure you have a relaxing bedtime routine for your child
- Exercising regularly is essential
If you want to know more in-depth, take a look at the above article.
One of the best things you can do to ensure the melatonin is sufficiently produced by the body each night is to ensure your child is exposed to the sunlight in the morning. Spending almost 15 minutes regulates the body’s internal clock and ensures they fall asleep at night easily.
If you are trying to get your 7-year-old to sleep alone, here are a few things you can try;
- Make sure their bedroom feels safe and fun for your child
- Have a bedtime routine
- Spend time with them until they are almost sleepy in their bedroom
- Use a security object like a doll or a stuffed toy
To help your child fall asleep quickly, make sure you keep the environment of the room comfortable, such as the temperature cool and the lights being shut. Then, you can use soothing music to help them relax and help them fall asleep faster.
Poor sleep hygiene can be one of the issues why your child is unable to fall asleep on time. You can try incorporating the methods given in the above article or visit our specialist today!