The summer promises a more relaxed everyday life but unfortunately often also less regular bedtimes for adults and children. Every living creature must sleep. It is the primary activity of the brain during early development and spends about a third of our lives sleeping. Our body regulates sleep rhythm in a similar way to eating, drinking, and breathing.
That suggests that sleep plays a vital role in our well-being. Studies on humans and animals have shown that sleep plays a crucial role in immune function and metabolism.
Research has also shown that sleep plays an essential role in memory and learning. It applies both before and after learning a new task. A lack of adequate sleep affects mood, motivation, judgment, and the perception of events.
The insider tip No. 1 for establishing good sleeping habits: Get up every morning at the same time and enjoy the first rays of sunshine. Besides, the nightly routine makes it easier for your child to recover, fall asleep, and sleep through the night.
A typical routine at bedtime
- Enjoy a light snack.
- Take a bath (if a tub is too stimulating for your child, move it out of this program).
- Put on a pajama.
- Brush your teeth.
- Read a few lines for relaxation
- Set up an activity for older children they can do themselves.
- Make sure the room is quiet and comfortable (62-68 degrees F); remove unnecessary electronics.
- Bring your child to bed.
- Say goodnight and gradually work with your child to fall asleep independently.
- Limit the “screen time” to a maximum of 60 minutes per day and avoid it immediately before going to bed.
- The night’s rest should begin at about the same time – seven days a week (no more than one hour difference on weekends).
- Make bedtime a positive and relaxing experience without watching TV or watching videos.
- Keep your child’s favorite activities until the end and let them take place in the child’s bedroom.
- The carers should take the time to “connect” with the child before bedtime.
What happens if your child wakes up at night? Remember your childhood: During the night, everyone goes through a sleep rhythm. Give your child a few minutes to see if he or she falls asleep again. If not, first use your voice to calm down, then gently stroke the child. Only if these steps do not work, take the child in your arms. If you go into the room every time, your child wakes up at night, strengthen the connection between you and the sleep for your child.
Except in situations where the child is sick, injured or dependent on your help, it is essential to give your child a consistent message that he or she is likely to fall asleep on his or her own.
Explore your Sleep Rhythm – Make room for a nap
Sleep is an essential prerequisite for good health, and small children usually need to sleep during the day. With physical and mental development at an all-time high in early childhood, naps give the body the much needed time for growth, repair, and rejuvenation. Your sleep rhythm automatically adapts to your needs.
Naps also help protect children from fatigue. A condition that not only affects their mood but also makes it more difficult for them to fall asleep at night.
Unfortunately, there is no single answer when it comes to how much sleep a child needs during the day. Everything depends on the age and total length of sleep a child receives within 24 hours. For example, an infant can sleep 12 hours at night, with only one hour of sleep, while another gets nine hours at night, but takes a robust 2-3-hour nap every afternoon.
The ideal midday nap – tips
Naps should not be too close to bedtime.
The nap should not become a fight.
Let your child read books for 45 minutes or play quietly in the bedroom.
If your child has given up his or her midday nap, adjust to an earlier bedtime.
Myth: Children sleep longer at night if they don’t have a midday nap.
Fact: For small children, both naps and night sleep are necessary – independently of each other. Children who sleep well are usually less moody and sleep better at night. Although the children differ, they are expected to sleep between 45 minutes and three hours at noon after six months. Children up to the age of 5 should take a nap.
It is essential to develop healthy routines for the whole family. The introduction of a digital curfew for the entire family before bedtime is an important step.
Effects of electronics on children’s sleep rhythm deserve consideration
- The increase in electronics in the children’s room leads to increased evening stimulation and exposure to light,
- Children who use electronic media as sleeping pills generally have a longer sleeping time at weekends, get fewer sleep hours/week and report more daytime sleepiness,
- TV in the bedroom of teenagers leads to a later bedtime, more difficulty falling asleep and shorter total sleep time,
- Texts/e-mails after the lights have gone out significantly increase daytime sleepiness among young people.
- The primary sleep requirement is not covered. A significant proportion is due to light and evening activities.
- Adequate sleep is essential for growth, mood, weight control, learning, and creativity,
- Crow Wing Energized has created a guide to healthy sleep with tips for healthy sleep for all ages. Download the manual from www.crowwingenergized.org