Children and Sleep
by C. Markus
With school in session now for most children, getting enough quality sleep is vital for both academic success as well as overall physical and emotional health. However, healthy sleep can be elusive, especially for our kids.
According to NorthShore Sleep Medicine, school-aged children need between 10-12 hours of sleep. This can be very difficult to achieve in today’s culture, as cell phones, television and video games can make it difficult for your children to get enough sleep. They are also most likely used to a summer bedtime schedule of around 10 or 11 PM and a transition to a different routine can take time and effort.
Poor sleep habits can be detrimental to children, causing mood swings and temper tantrums, which in turn can affect their ability to learn. Fortunately there are simple steps you can take to make this transition much easier.
Here are some helpful tips to help your child get to bed earlier.
- Gradually decrease bedtime. Try reducing your child’s bedtime by 15 minutes every few days. This will make the transition much smoother.
- Do not allow electronic use at least 1 hour before bed. This time should be reserved for family or other quiet activities such as reading or showering.
- Keep lights low before bed. Light is one of most powerful signals that stimulates wakefulness and by keeping lights low you can induce sleep.
- Encourage physical activity. It is important for our children to have exercise, as it not only promotes health but makes them fall asleep easier. It is recommended that physical activity be done 2-3 hours before bed.
- Reduce caffeine intake. Do not allow children to consumer any caffeine after lunch, as this will reduce the likelihood of insomnia.
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