Strategies for a good night sleep
The recommended number of hours of sleep per every 24 hours varies according to age (AASM*):
- Infants 4 to 12 months should sleep 12 to 16 hours
- Children 1to 2 years of age, 11 to 14 hours
- Children 3 to 5 years, 10 to 13 hours
- Children 6 to 12 years old should sleep 9 to 12 hours
- Teens 13 to 18 years old should sleep 8 to 10 hours
So how can we help our child sleep and stay asleep?
How consistent is bedtime routine? A recurring and consistent bedtime routine is very important. Make sure that all stimuli are kept to a minimum for about 1-2 hours before bedtime. Make your child’s bedtime routine a gradual decrease in activity ending in sleep.This is known to help us and our child sleep as we stay in tune with our internal
Keeping our child’s room dark, cool and quiet is helpful as comfortable but cooler temperatures in conjunction with darkness and quiet creates relaxation and drowsiness.
It is important for your child to sleep alone so that when they wake up in the middle of the night, they can go back to sleep by themselves. When a child does not know how to sleep alone, they will need us to put them back to sleep. They will become co-dependent upon the adult for sleep. It is important for your child to love and feel comfortable and safe in their room by themselves.
Make sure your child has an active routine during the day, so that they are tired at night. Exercise and physical activity on a regular basis not only helps them stay fit physically and mentally, but it helps them have a good night’s sleep. Remember to slow things down at 1-2 hours before bedtime.
Other stimuli that should be avoided when sleep time is approaching are caffeine and sugar. The same should be done with screens as their light and images, especially the wavelength frequency of the blue light, have invigorating effects.
Even the mattress characteristics might influence your child’s sleep. The mattress should be chosen in accordance to your child’s usual sleep position. If they sleep on their back, they need a mattress that supports a healthy spine alignment in that position.
Help your child learn to relax by any technique you think will help them. You know your child best. This will help in falling asleep and falling back asleep by themselves when they wake up in the middle of the night.
If your child is still not sleeping enough, consult a specialist. Sleep is very important for a child’s wellbeing and functioning.