“When sleep is sound, health and happiness abound” (World Sleep Day)
How important is sleep?
Think about the average day your child has- school, play times, sport, after school activities, homework, chores, walking the dog and the list can go on.. It’s busy! As a result of all this activity, the body and brain need to rest and this rest is accomplished through sleeping.
Sleep is essential for growth, immunity, learning and memory.
What happens if my child doesn’t get enough sleep?
A child who does not get enough sleep may experience difficulties with concentration, memory, regulating their emotions, organising tasks and creative thinking. These children may be easily distracted, irritable, disruptive or generally hyperactive and restless. A lack of sleep has been linked to mental health problems, poor growth, excessive weight gain, and reduced school performance.
So, in a nutshell sleep helps your child grow and thrive!
How much sleep does a child need?
Age recommended sleep hours per 24-hour period…
Strategies for Good Sleeping Habits
- Have a regular sleep pattern. Your child should keep regular times for going to bed and waking up. These times should be the same or similar on weekends and holidays. The 24-hour body clock that controls sleepiness and wakefulness works best if there is a regular sleep routine.
- Have a consistent pre-bedtime routine. This will help your child settle and prepare for sleep. It may include reading quietly, a warm bath or a warm milk drink. Avoid exercise or stimulating play in the hour before bedtime.
- Limit access to electronic devices (including TV, smart-phones, tablets and computer games) and bright light exposure in the one to two hours prior to bedtime. Exposure to bright light or the LED light from electronic devices can reduce the evening levels of the sleep promoting hormone, melatonin, making it more difficult to fall asleep. Electronic devices should remain out of the bedroom where possible.
- Ensure the sleeping environment is quiet, dark and comfortable.
- Daytime exercise and natural light exposure may improve sleep at night.