Most of us have some trouble with sleep. In most cases, the trouble lies with nodding off at bedtime, despite walking around like a zombie throughout the daytime hours. The majority of sleep problems can be narrowed down to poor sleep hygiene, the set of habits or practices that lead to either a good or poor night’s sleep. Sleep disturbances can have a huge impact on the daily life of a child, causing physical and mental impairment. Therefore we’ve outlined some of the most effective ways to incorporate good sleep hygiene into you and your child’s bedtime routine.
Funnily enough, good sleep hygiene begins during the day. While your child may not be knocking back espressos every evening, remember that fizzy drinks or energy drinks are highly caffeinated, making it harder to nod off when bedtime rolls around.
Avoid spending non-sleeping time in bed
Children should associate bed with sleep. The easiest way to accomplish this is by restricting the bed to sleeping. That means avoiding playing games on the bed, watching movies or even just socialising there during the day.
Create a routine
You’ve probably been hearing this from the day they were born, but a bedtime routine really works. Make the lead up to bedtime a wind-down to the day with a nice relaxing pastime like reading a book or taking a bath. Try to avoid any technology like phones, tablets or televisions that will stimulate your child, keeping them awake. This routine should start at the same time each evening so your child knows bedtime is coming and it’s time to relax.
With the social world moving even more increasingly online it can be hard to encourage children to go outside and exercise during the day. However, studies show that exercise earlier in the day can contribute massively to a child’s ability to get to and maintain sleep at night.
Go to bed sleepy but not asleep
When children can’t sleep, there’s no use in getting them to toss and turn in bed all night. While good sleep hygiene says they should get out of bed for 20 minutes or so to do a low stimulating activity like reading, they should also return to their bed while they are drowsy. This means avoiding letting your little one fall asleep in your bed or on the couch and then returning them to their own room, in an attempt to send them off to a good night’s sleep.
If you’re currently expecting and experiencing noticeable trouble nodding off, try out our eight ways to get a better sleep when you’re pregnant.