The fact that children are getting less and less sleep every night is a bitter pill to swallow for many parents. With more access to technology and too much information for the brain to process, children are becoming more restless every day. Poor sleeping habits can lead to irritation, lack of focus, poor appetite, and lethargy. As a result, many children are failing to do well in school.
So what’s the solution to this? With proper routine and maintenance, every parent can ensure their child gets enough sleep. Below are five tips for parents struggling with their child’s sleep schedule.
Maintain a routine
Maintaining a strict routine for sleep time is important. If your kids go to bed at eight every evening and wake up at seven the following morning, make sure they stick to it. When you establish a routine for their sleep time, their body memorizes it and adjusts bodily functions accordingly. Irregular sleeping patterns confuse the body and hamper these functions. Sleeping disorders can be difficult to treat, so maintaining a proper routine might be wiser.
Get enough sunlight
Getting enough sunlight during the day can help your child fall asleep faster at night. Sunlight helps to create melatonin in the body, which is created in the pineal gland from melanin. Melatonin is a hormone that helps you sleep at night. When you expose your child to morning sunlight, the body produces serotonin and cortisol which keeps them awake and alert. The same sunlight prompts melatonin production in the body, which starts to function by evening, urging your child to fall asleep.
Encourage relaxing activities before sleeping
Children are usually hyperactive all day which hampers the sleep schedule. Therefore, encouraging them to take part in relaxing activities before sleep can fetch good results. Children usually take 20-30 minutes to fall asleep. Have them brush their teeth and wash their face. Dress them in their favorite pajamas, and put them to bed. You can teach them various breathing techniques to relax their mind and body. Or, you can adopt a simpler approach. Some parents read to their children or tell them bedtime stories for brain relaxation. You can also play soft music to help them relax.
Utilize commute or travel time
If your child is not a morning person and goes to bed late at night, you can use the commute of travel time (to school or work) to help them take quick naps. This is also helpful when you’re on vacation and traveling with your kids. The deviation from routine can prevent children from falling asleep fast, so getting them to sleep while driving can be a good option.
But sleeping in the car can be uncomfortable as their head can bob in the car seat. You can install a car seat solution such as NapUp to ensure that their heads remain safe and in place. They are easy to install in your car seat and perfectly hold your child’s head as they nap peacefully in their seat.
Limit lights and screen time
Handheld gadgets and computer screens emit a light that can impede a regular sleeping schedule. Various researches have proved that kids who spend more time on these gadgets are more likely to have an irregular sleep schedule.
As a parent, you should limit exposure to these gadgets as much as possible. You can create a routine for them – with blocked hours in the day – for using the gadgets. Most of these gadgets come with child lock options, so you have complete control over the screen time your child gets.
Other than that, lighting in the bedroom is also an important factor. The lights in the bedroom should be soft and not stimulating. Dimming the lights at night can also help the kids fall asleep faster.
Maintain proper diet and mealtime
Certain foods help produce melatonin in the body. Therefore, maintaining a healthy diet is important. Foods like milk, fatty fish, nuts, oats, mushrooms, and eggs have high melatonin. Taking them regularly can help build a healthy sleep schedule for your children.
Mealtimes are also important when it comes to a sleep schedule. Having dinner two hours before your sleep time is always considered a good practice. That way, your body has enough time to digest the food, and at the same time, your body gets an indication of when to fall asleep. Having a hearty meal is also linked to a good night’s sleep, so make sure that your kids are taking meals at a designated time and have a full tummy before bedtime.
Getting the children to sleep at night can be a bit of an exercise. But if you establish strict rules and adhere to them, you can help them get a good night’s sleep that will ensure better energy, more aptitude, better appetite, and higher vigor for activities throughout the day.