A good night’s sleep makes a world of difference in how we feel the next day, and how healthy we will be in the long term. Sleep gives our brains the down time needed to process new information, and gives our bodies rest to recover and rebuild. More importantly, as we sleep, our immune systems destroy harmful free radicals (that could cause cancer and speed up the ageing process) accumulated in our bodies throughout the day. For children, sleep is especially important in their formative years. Here’s how you can ensure your kids are getting the sleep they need.
1. Set up a sleep schedule
A regular time for going to bed at night and getting up in the morning is important. It helps in setting your kids’ internal body clock. This schedule shouldn’t vary more than an hour on non-school nights.
2. Plan a bedtime routine
Planning a routine for your kids before their bedtime encourages them to be ready for bed. The routine should include calming activities, like reading a book, listening to music, etc. to wind down their bodies and minds. Keep consistent bedtime routines to support healthy sleep patterns.
3. Turn off technology
Bright lights from the television, computer and phone disrupt natural sleep rhythms. Limit your kids’ screen time and make sure all screens are turned off an hour before bed.
4. Avoid caffeinated products
Caffeine is found in energy drinks, tea, coffee and soft drinks and can keep your kids from falling asleep easily. Make sure you avoid giving them to your kids at least six to eight hours before bedtime.
5. Create a space for sleep
A quiet, dimly lit space and a calming atmosphere will ensure your kids stay asleep. Help them in creating a space that is safe and comfortable for them. If they’re afraid of the dark, a night light could help.
6. Ensure natural light and exercise
Regular exercise keeps kids active and alert during the day and helps them fall asleep easily at night. The same can be said with natural light because indoor artificial lights can suppress melatonin and change the body’s internal clock. So make sure your kids get plenty of sunshine and play during the daytime.
Following these steps will make your kids excited for bedtime and ready to face the next day after a great night’s sleep.