Tips for Helping Your Child Fall Asleep
The importance of sleep cannot be overstated
Sleep not only restores and renews the body, but it also performs maintenance on the mind, helps them grow, it strengthens their immune system, refines the memories formed during the day and makes preparations for the learning the very next morning.
WAYS TO HELP YOUR CHILD TO GET A GOOD NIGHT'S SLEEP
Avoid feeding your child big meals close to bedtime, and don't give her anything containing sugar less than two hours before bedtime. Certain carbs such as oatmeal, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, bananas before bed time help stabilize blood sugar levels, promote sound sleep and help prevent night time wake ups ensuring better quality and consistent sleep.
After late dinner, avoid all stimulating activities, scary stories or TV/laptops (screens are a bad idea before bed because their blue light stimulates the brain. Physically and psychologically stimulating activities can cause the body to secrete the stress hormone cortisol which is associated with increased alertness rather than relaxation. Instead, establish a consistent and relaxing bedtime routine that lasts 20 - 30 minutes and ends in your child's bedroom... you can read a favorite book, spend 5 or 10 minutes cuddling, singing or saying soothing words before bedtime. This quiet stillness allows him to become sleepy.
Turn your child's bedroom into a Sleep-Inducing Environment. A quiet, dark, and cool environment can help promote sound restful sleep. Keep the temperature comfortably cool between 20 and 26°C and the room well ventilated. Make sure the mattress is comfortable, the blankets are warm and pyjamas are comfy. It is helpful to use room darkening shades, white-noise machines to block out morning street noise, a timed light or child alarm clock that changes color when it’s time to get up.
Use the bed and bedroom for resting. Make sure toys and distractions are cleaned up before bed time.
Difficulties in falling asleep: Many children have difficultly falling asleep on their own if they have been falling asleep next to their parents or if they have been used to being rocked to sleep.
Avoid this pattern, or if you have already been doing this for a while, try to phase this behavior out gradually. Instead, have her/him get used to falling asleep with a transitional object, like a favourite blanket or large stuffed animal to "protect" him. If your child is worried about sleeping in dark room alone, tools to overcome his worries can help such as flashlight, a spray bottle filled with ''monster spray''.
Many children don’t get enough daily physical activity. Too much TV watching and a lack of activity prevents good and quality sleep. Study showed the children, who were physically active during the day, fell asleep more rapidly than their more sedentary peers. Physical activity is crucial for children, not only for fitness, cardiovascular health and weight control, but also for sleep.
The information provided here are informative not diagnostic. If your child is not getting quality sleep over prolonged period of time, it’s definitely worth seeing a sleep specialist to figure out why.