Easy Ways to Teach Your Child Healthy Sleep Habits [Guest Post]

Author Bio:

Ethan Wright is a health enthusiast who believes every great day begins with a good night sleep. He is currently a researcher and writer for Bedding Stock, an online retailer of gel memory foam mattress in the USA. When not wearing his writing hat, you will see him traveling to places with his journal.

Getting your kids to sleep is a stressful chore that parents often face. Training your child to form healthy sleep habits is challenging, but necessary for their growth and development.

Dangers of insufficient sleep

Just like in adults, sleep is currently a big problem for children. The inadequate sleep issue that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) considers a public health problem covers all demographic and age brackets, including children.

Children need ample sleep for healthy brain development.  Sleep deprived kids face a host of behavioral, learning, and health problems.  Studies were able to prove the relationship between sleep and cognitive development. An article published in the British Medical Journal, children up to three years old who are sleeping irregularly had resulted in problems in math skills, reading, and spatial awareness. If their condition does not improve, this may cause these kids to lag behind their peers until possibly their adulthood.

Just like physical activities and workouts beefs up our bones and muscles, sleep strengthens the mental processes by allowing new neural connections in the brain or neuroplasticity to take place. Children exhibit a tremendous capacity for neuroplasticity more than in any other age. Neuroplasticity occurs during deep or REM sleep. It is during this phase that their memory and learnings are cemented.     

Another reason to make sure your child gets quality sleep every night is endocrine glands release growth hormones during REM sleep. Lack of sleep can affect the physical and mental growth of children. 

(Learn more about why the CDC declared sleep disorders a public health epidemic here. Learn about how sufficient sleep helps children perform better in school here). 

Sleep Disruptors

Typically, kids can easily comply with their ideal sleep needs. But with the 24/7 culture and flooding of electronic gadgets, they are always exposed to stimuli that keep them awake or can disrupt their sleep schedule. Exposure to digital games coupled with our current fast-paced world make the kids alert and jittery and can cause difficulty sleeping.

(For more on electronics use at night, click here. For tips on how to keep electronics out of the bedroom, click here).

Stress can also be a major factor that hinders your child’s sleep. Their pressures from their environment and excessive worrying can lead them to develop sleeping problems such as difficulty staying asleep, sleepwalking, and night terrors.

Tips for better sleep:

After knowing your child’s need for quality and uninterrupted sleep, how can you teach your kids to healthy sleep habits? Here are some tips:

Make their room sleep friendly – Your child’s bedroom should be designated for sleep and play. Sleep comes naturally for them if they are in the right environment. Ensure the comfort of your child by putting on loose clothing and blankets. See to it the bedroom temperature is set at around 65 degrees. Also, give them the most comfortable mattress they can have.

Set a sleep schedule – Sleep is a routine chore. Any interruption in a kid’s daily bedroom pattern can affect their sleep quality. It is your job, then, to keep their bedtime schedule in check. Doing this chore can help them acquire a fixed sleep habit themselves.

Cool them down after dinner – Make an effort to minimize their playing time and activities after dinner. Gradually get their toys out of their sight. Likewise, you may need to set a technology and TV curfew. 

Teach them to overcome their worries during bedtime – Give them things that will defend them from “scary enemies or invaders.” You may give them spray bottles or flashlights as “weapons” that can “protect” them from their imaginary horrors.  

Walk your talk – Children are great imitators. They often see you like a model that they follow after. If they live by the sleep habits that you want to instill in them, they will readily abide by your example.

While most children can develop a normal healthy sleep routine, it is important to speak to your physician if you have concerns about your child’s sleep. Children can suffer from sleep disorders, like sleep apnea, just like adults. Learn more about sleep disorders facing children and how they are treated here:

Learn more!

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Photo source: Pixabay.com

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