Is your child lacking energy, easily losing concentration at school, or even unexpectedly gaining weight? According to sleep expert and Group CEO of Bedsonline.com.au, Cliff Sneider, these could all be signs your child is not getting the sleep their body needs to grow and function optimally.
Sleep is imperative for a child’s natural development and not having the appropriate number of hours each day can have a significant impact on health, growth and cognitive development. The hours that a child needs varies from newborns requiring up to 18 hours, infants (3-11 months) up to 15, toddlers (1-3 years) up to 14, and school age (5-10 years) up to 11 hours[i].
“Not understanding why a child is less active than other kids or is growing at a different rate can be frustrating for parents,” said Cliff. “My advice would be for these parents to assess if their child is receiving the sleep that their body requires. There is no strict rule of thumb. Depending on the child’s daily activity, the amount of sleep time they require may vary. As a start, I suggest correcting bad habits early on and making a few pre-bedtime routine changes – you’ll be surprised with the results! If symptoms persist then be sure to visit a GP.”
Bedsonline.com.au is Australia’s leading online bedding speciality retailer. As a longstanding expert in bedding, Cliff has come across nearly every sleep issue that’s out there and, by providing some simple tips learned through experience, has managed to improve sleep quality for most sufferers.
Cliff’s top 7 tips to give your child a good night’s sleep:
- Set a regular time for bed each night and stick to it – The body needs to learn when it’s time to sleep. Making sure your child goes to bed at the same time every evening will teach this early on. Also try organising cues that trigger in the child’s mind that it’s nearly bedtime such as dressing them in their pyjamas 20 minutes prior to bedtime each evening or making them put toys away an hour beforehand.
- Establish a relaxing bedtime routine – As mentioned above, routine is important as it lets the body know when it’s time to start getting ready for sleep. Establishing a routine that involves reading a bedtime story, drinking a glass of warm milk or having a soothing bath will help your child relax, sending them off to sleep quicker.
- Make after-dinner playtime relaxing –Relaxing playtime after dinner gives your child time to unwind from the day before going to bed. That means no extraneous physical or mind-stimulating activities like playing on computers/tablets, playing video games, or watching television.
- Avoid large meals close to bedtime –Bodies need time to digest food and attempting to sleep soon after eating can be uncomfortable and cause problems with digestion. This can make it hard for children to fall asleep and even cause them to wake up during the night.
- Avoid anything with caffeine such as chocolate less than six hours prior to bedtime –Caffeine tends to affect children more so than adults so it’s best to avoid things that contain the stimulant for several hours before bed.
- Make sure your children’s bedroom is a comfortable temperature, quiet and dark –The ideal sleep space should be dark and quiet – If your child does not feel comfortable when it is too dark use a very dim nightlight. The bedroom should also be comfortable and cool, with a temperature of 18 -20°C.
- Wake them up at the same time –It’s important that you wake your child at the same time each day, even at the weekends. Your child’s body clock needs a strict routine and in setting a specific wake up time you will notice a consistent amount of energy from your child each day.
For further tips and sleep advice visit bedsonline.com.au