Healthy Sleep Habits for Children

Healthy Sleep Habits for Children

Rakesh Kumar Jain

By Dr Rakesh Kumar JainPediatrics

Sound sleep is critical for your child’s growth and development as the consequences of lack of sleep may last a lifetime. Not only is it important that a child gets the right amount of sleep but the quality of sleep should also be taken into account. Sleep plays a major role in a child’s learning, temperament and social behavior. A child will be at his or her personal best after a night of sufficient, uninterrupted sleep. The following sleep habits should be inculcated for the mental and physical well being of a child:

1. Consistent Sleep Schedule- It is very important for a child to fall asleep and wake up at the same time every day since this regularizes you child’s body clock. A consistent sleep schedule also helps building sleep pressure so that falling asleep is easier.

2. Exercise Daily- Children from 2-15 years of age should take part in a lot of physical activity and exercise every day to help them sleep longer. However, exercising at night will make it difficult for them to fall asleep.

3. Avoid Caffeinated Products- Avoidance of caffeinated products in the evening or night will help your child sleep faster since caffeine blocks the chemicals that induce sleep and increases the adrenaline production. It is also an appetite suppressant.

4. Comfortable Bed Environment- A comfortable bed environment is of utmost importance. Your child should associate the bedroom with positive feelings. So avoid sending him or her to the bedroom as punishment. You should also avoid keeping television sets and other electronics in your child’s room as these distract children from sleeping. Lastly, the lights in your child’s bedroom should be dim to facilitate a good quality sleep.

5. A Light Snack- While a heavy meal a couple of hours before bedtime may interfere with your child’s sleep, you should never send him or her to bed hungry. A light snack or a glass of warm milk will assist your child in falling asleep faster.