9 Essential Tips to Help Your Kid Get a Good Night's Sleepby Sleep Number
For many parents, it's the hardest part of the job. And yet, it's also the most important, as lack of sleep can affect your child's health, mood, and performance.
Here are 9 essential tips to ensure you kid gets a good night's sleep:
1. Exercise after school. Studies show that physical activity in children greatly improves their sleeping patterns. So cut back the screen time and encourage after-school physical activity.
2. When they do plug-in, make sure they're keeping it positive. Seeing violence on TV or in video games has been directly linked to an increase of anxiety and nightmares -- both of which interrupt their sleep cycle (and in many cases, yours). Choose more positive programming.
3. Cut off screen time before bed. Here's a tip that's good not only for your kids, but also for you! 95% of Americans use technology within the last hour before lights out — which suppresses the release of the sleep-promoting hormone melatonin and enhances alertness. Basically, it becomes way harder to fall asleep. Set up a digital wind-down at least two hours before bed. A calming bath mixed with calming activities like reading will help your kids and you disconnect.
4. Keep mobile devices out of the bedroom all together. Get this — that blue light coming from your laptop or phone? Yeah — it's been shown to directly affect circadian rhythms, keeping you awake at night. Some studies even show that sleeping near a device that's CHARGING can lead to poorer sleep, with texts, emails and tweets coming in at all hours of the evening. Keeping mobile devices out of the bedroom will help you focus on what's important: getting the rest your body needs.
5. That goes for TV too. Research shows that bedroom television leads to poor sleep, which leads to poor mental and physical health. So no matter how much your child begs and pleads, it's probably best to keep the TV in the living room where it belongs.
6. Cool the room down. You might think there's nothing like a nice, warm bed at night. But research shows that the idea bedroom temperature for sleep is 65-68 degrees. That'll ensure you child stays comfortable under the covers, without having to worry about shivering or sweating.
7. Relax. Meditation has been established as a powerful resource to help fight insomnia and improve sleep. 20 minutes of restful relaxation can make all the difference before bed. Try practicing with your kids. All you have to do is repeat a calming focus (a prayer, phrase or sound) for a few minutes, take a deep breath, let go, and relax. Your child will fall asleep much easier.
8. Don't be afraid of white noise. Investing in a white noise machine can help sooth little ones to sleep, blocking out any noise coming from the rest of the family who may be still up and about. There are also white noise apps that you can install — though as we established in Tip #4, you'll want to make sure your device is in sleep or airplane mode as to not distract during the deep zzz's.
9. Practice what you preach. You can't go setting all these rules and not follow them yourself! Kids emulate their parents. Lead by example. You may just find that getting healthy sleep yourself gives you the energy you need to be more alert and available for your kids!
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