What’s what Wednesday: Four Tips for Healthy Sleep
Sleep is important for children because it can directly impact mental and physical development. Sleep is the primary activity of the brain during early development. Circadian rhythms, or the sleep-wake cycle, are regulated by light and dark and these cycles take time to development, resulting in the irregular sleep schedules of newborns. Instilling good sleep hygiene habits early on in life will promote the retention and sustaining of those good habits throughout a child’s lifetime. The clearest signs that your child is not getting restful and sufficient sleep is bedtime resistance, anxiety about sleep, nighttime awakens, and morning moodiness. If your child is experiencing any of these signs, Sunshine State Counseling Center would like to provide you with these four tips to help improve your child’s sleep hygiene.
Four tips for healthy sleep
- Bedtime Schedule
- For a bedtime schedule to work you must include both a regular bedtime and a regular waking time and stick to that schedule 7 days a week. In order to be effective, the sleeping and waking times you set must not merely be consistent and practical for your schedules, but they must also enable your child to get a sufficient amount of sleep. Think of a bedtime schedule like setting your child’s “biological clock”.
- Bedtime Routine
- A regular bedtime routine, about ½ hour long leading up to bedtime itself, is how you can best prepare for a good night’s sleep. A bedtime routine involves engaging in comforting and familiar activities. Some good bedtime routine activities, include, taking a warm bath, reading a story together, quiet and relaxing family time, listening to tranquil music, and stretching.
- Environmental Conditions of the bedroom
- The setting in which you set your child down to sleep can play a huge role in the quality of sleep they receive. Some tips to get the ideal environmental conditions for the best quality of sleep would be, setting a temperature that’s comfortable and will remain consistent throughout the night, make the room dark (a little nightlight is okay!), make sure it is quiet, and turn off the television.
- Daytime behaviors and Habits
- The following are suggestions of daytime behaviors supportive of good sleep hygiene: Exposing your child to sunlight first thing in the morning because it helps set the child’s circadian rhythm, don’t use your child’s room for punishments or time-outs, monitor what your child watches on television or searches on the internet, and confront bullying or other prevalent emotional issues in your child’s daily life.