The importance of a good night’s sleep cannot be over estimated. But anyone who has kids knows how hard it can be to get your kids (and yourself) off to bed at times. They always want to stay up a little longer, which leaves them feeling sleepy and grouchy the next day. Read on to learn why a good night’s sleep is so important for kids and parents.
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It’s not just kids that have this issue, adults alike fail to get enough sleep each night and we also feel the effects of it. No matter how old you are, it’s very important to get a good night’s sleep.
There are many factors that contribute to your quality of sleep, but the good news is, you can do things to improve it.
Sleep deprivation has a negative effect on the body for adults and children, so you need to make sure that both you and your child are getting enough.
This guide for parents on kids sleep is really useful, and read on for some tips on how to get better sleep and why it’s so important.
The Importance of a Good Night’s Sleep for Children and Adults
How Much Sleep Should You Get?
Depending on your and your child’s age, the amount of sleep you need varies. Getting good sleep is important to help your brain and body function; it helps your memory and recharges you for the day ahead.
For babies and children, getting enough sleep is crucial to their health.
- For newborn babies up to 3 months old, they should be getting around 10 1/2 to 18 hours per day but they don’t necessarily need a schedule.
- Between 4 months old to 11 months old, they should be getting 9 – 12 hours sleep. On top of this, they also need to take regular naps through the day.
- From around 1 – 5 years old, children need to get around 11 to 15 hours of sleep per night. These are pivotal ages to establish a strict and consistent sleep schedule to ensure they get a good amount of sleep.
- When they get older, they need around 8-11 hours per night until they hit puberty when they should be getting around 8 or 9 hours.
- Adults should be getting around 7-9 hours of sleep per night, although it does vary for each person.
When your kids aren’t getting enough sleep, it’s much harder for their growing brains and bodies to deal with it.
Being sleep deprived can have a lot of negative effects and studies have shown that an ongoing lack of sleep can contribute to issues such as childhood obesity, slow brain development, behavioural issues and immune system problems.
How to Get Better Quality Sleep
Now that you know how much sleep you and your kids should be getting, it’s time to discuss how to achieve it. To get better quality sleep for both you and your child, there are a few things you can do.
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Distractions are everywhere and, with so much technology in our lives, we always have some way to be entertained. But both you and your child need to know when to switch off, which means leaving technology in another room from where you sleep.
Invest in an alarm clock so that you unplug and don’t use tech before bed. It has been proven that you will have better sleep quality.
Also, try using blackout blinds to eliminate light and earplugs or a white noise machine to drown out external distractions.
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Use the Correct Mattress
Did you know that the way you sleep has a huge impact on your quality of sleep? For example, whether you’re a side sleeper, tummy sleeper or back sleeper, it can affect the sleep you get.
All kinds of sleepers need to find the best mattress to support their own sleep styles. To get a better night’s sleep, you need a mattress that works for yours and your child’s sleeping styles.
- Back sleepers need a mattress that lets their shoulders and hips sink in just slightly in order to keep their spine correctly aligned.
- Side sleepers need a quality mattress that supports their shoulders, hips and waist to allow the spine to form a straight line.
- Tummy sleepers will need a mattress that is firmer and offers a high-level of support.
Learn about your own sleeping style and that of your child so you can assess whether the mattresses you have offer you the right support, or if you need to look for a new one. Having a comfortable bed is one of the best ways to promote better sleep.
Establish a Bedtime Routine
For both you and your child it is important to establish a bedtime routine. You should have a set time for starting the bedtime routine. This can start downstairs with tidying up and getting lunch items and school bags sorted for the morning.
Then moving upstairs where you lay out clothes needed for the morning, have a bath, brush teeth and either read your child a story or give them a time limit to read their own story.
If your child is having trouble sticking to the routine, try writing it out for them so it is easy to follow. Be consistent about the routine, stick to the timings.
And if your child keeps getting out of bed after you have tucked them in, simply return them to bed in silence and tuck them in again. By interacting you are giving mixed messages and your child will pick up on this and exploit it!
For anxious children, create a worry box. This is a place where they can write down and place any worries they have. Once a week they should have a look at those worries and see if they went away or if they are persistent and need further discussion, well before bedtime.
Avoid Helping Your Child Go To Sleep
It can be very tempting to lie down or stay with your child if they are having trouble sleeping. Or for younger children, holding or feeding them until they drift off. But long term, it is preferable for them to fall asleep naturally so they develop good sleep habits.
It may sound obvious but it helps if everyone is tired going to bed. So ensure you and your child have had enough exercise and have avoided sugary or caffeinated drinks and food in the hours coming up to bedtime.
Another thing to bear in mind when trying to get everyone into a healthier sleep schedule is that it might not work right away. Patience is key and, even when you eliminate distractions, set up a routine and have the right mattress, it takes time for your body to adjust.
You and your child’s bodies may be so used to disturbed or poor quality of sleep that it might not ‘fix’ right away. But stick it out and, before long, you’ll see that both you and your child will start to have much better sleep and will feel the benefits in your body and mind.
Over to you now. Have you tried any of our tips for getting a good night’s sleep? Or do you have any of your own? Please share them with us in the comments box below.