Updated: Feb 11
Sleep is an essential building block for your child's mental and physical health. However, good sleep hygiene is something that a large number of children are missing. In fact, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, 25-50% of school-aged children experience sleep issues.
Good sleep hygiene is important for adults, but it's critically important for growing children as it helps to promote a healthy immune system, daytime alertness, and mental health. Teaching your child the practice of good sleep hygiene now can help prevent the development of sleep disorders and health issues later in life.
Good sleep hygiene is made up of a series of habits that can help your child achieve a restful night's sleep. When children get the proper amount of restorative sleep, they perform better in school, have a better mental state, and are generally healthier.
WHAT ARE THE SIGNS OF POOR SLEEP HYGIENE?
A child that does not get the right amount of sleep isn't always easy to spot. So many kids today are going through their everyday lives with sleep deficits. According to a 2007 report from the US National Library of Medicine, sleep issues have become a prevalent issue among school-aged children:
In a normal school-age population, 31% of children aged 6 to 13 years reported having disorders of initiating and maintaining sleep. In the study of Liu et al., 16% of the parents of the U.S. sample reported that their children aged 4 to 11 years “sometimes” and 5% “usually” have difficulties falling asleep.
Many kids today have learned to cope with life without enough sleep. However, even though they might be making it through the day, there are still signs to watch for that can help you identify if your child is dealing with a sleep deficiency:
Moodiness and irritability
Temper tantrums in younger children or unreasonable outbursts in older children
The tendency to emotionally 'explode' at the slightest provocation
Over-activity and hyperactive behavior
Daytime naps are required on a daily basis
Grogginess when they wake up in the morning
Reluctance to get out of bed in the morning
Higher levels of anxiety or stress
TIPS FOR CREATING BETTER SLEEP HABITS FOR CHILDREN
We've all experienced a groggy child in the morning or a child that simply doesn't want to go to sleep at night. Instilling good sleep habits with your child can help to combat both issues.
Believe it or not, creating healthy sleep habits for your child is actually a process that takes place throughout the day. The CDC recommends the following tips for helping your child create good sleep habits:
Be consistent. Put your child to bed at the same time each night and get them up at the same time each morning, including on the weekends.
Make sure your child's bedroom is quiet, dark, relaxing, and at a comfortable temperature. Cooler temperatures help to promote more restful sleep.
Remove electronic devices, such as TVs, computers, and smartphones, from the bedroom. Also, have them power off all devices at least one hour prior to bedtime.
Avoid large meals or caffeine before bedtime
Get some exercise. Being physically active during the day can help your child fall asleep more easily at night.
kid's SLEEP HEALTH GUIDANCE FOR PARENTS
Poor sleep hygiene can be caused by a number of factors, including undiagnosed airway disorders.
If, after adjusting your child's habits to foster better sleep hygiene your child is still having issues sleeping, consult your pediatrician or airway dentist. It is possible that your child is suffering from an undiagnosed airway disorder.