Sleep is just as important as having a healthy diet. However, children oftentimes struggle with getting a goods night’s sleep. When this happens, it leaves parents looking for ways to improve their child’s sleep.
Having three autistic children, sleep issues are a part of our journey! We’ve had our fair share of sleepless nights here! Thankfully, our friend Davis Miller has developed his top 7 ways to improve your child’s sleep.
7 Ways to improve your child’s sleep
An average kid has a busy day doing fun activities, and that is why their body needs a break at the end of the day. Sleeping is considered the ultimate power booster, and that applies to both kids and adults.
During sleep, our brain regulates the hormone which is responsible for our body’s metabolism and appetite. It also maintains the proper blood sugar levels that reduce the risk of high blood pressure and improve the immune system.
There are 4 stages of sleep, these includes:
· Stage 1: The NREM sleep or the non-rapid eye movement. In this stage, our body will start to feel a bit drowsy but can still be woken up easily.
· Stage 2: Our body starts to relax. Our brains will now start to relax and slow down our heartbeat and breathing.
· Stage 3: The Deep sleep. Our brain sends a signal to lower our blood pressure, and it’s much harder to be awakened during this stage.
· Stage 4: The slow-wave sleep or the deepest sleep. REM, or rapid eye movement, happens at this stage.
7 Ways to improve your child’s sleep
Poor sleep doesn’t only affect adults. Kids might also have trouble sleeping. Here are some great ways to improve your child’s sleep.
1. Minimize screen time before bedtime
Establishing at least 1 to 2 hours of screen-free time right before your kid’s bedtime can help them calm down and ready for bed. Computer monitors, phones, or television screens emit blue light, which can interfere with producing an important piece of the sleep-wake cycle or the Melatonin hormone.
Melatonin is responsible for achieving a good night’s sleep. Screen use during bedtime can delay an individual’s sleep-wake cycle, resulting in mental and physical health issues in the long run.
2. Using night-lights and stuff toys can improve your child’s sleep
Providing a super-cozy light in your kid’s bedroom can definitely help them put to sleep. The science behind it is all about Melatonin. This hormone is naturally produced and secreted from our brain, responsible for keeping our body ready for sleep – or simply, it controls our body clock.
Melatonin has the ability to ‘shut off’ when there is no light. This fact is the main reason why our young ones tend to wake up at dawn. On the other hand, surrounding your kid with stuffed animals or toys can definitely help them to achieve a good night’s sleep.
3. Give your child ‘sleep-improving’ food
Some foods such as grapes, cherries, sweet corn, oats, and rice contain melatonin which can help your kids feel sleepy. Tryptophan is one of the key ingredients for melatonin production, and you can get it by consuming poultry such as chicken leg, milk, and nuts.
4. Give Them a Comfortable Bedding/Mattress To Sleep
To prevent your kid from having trouble sleeping, it is a great idea to give them a nice place to sleep with. Children usually are attached to their bedrooms. Having a comfortable and nice bedroom set up (like providing them with a good memory foam mattress) for their bedding to cuddle and spend the night with might be what is missing to get that goodnight’s sleep.
5. Set an appropriate bedtime can help improve your child’s sleep
An average child needs 9 – 11 hours of sleep every night. However, their sleep patterns and needs may vary based on their body clock. For example, if your kid is an early riser, it is still possible to wake up early even if their bedtime is pretty late. This could also apply to the night owl, which usually falls asleep only if their body is ready.
So knowing how much sleep your child needs can have an impact on how they will wake up.
6. Focus on your kid’s relaxation and provide protection from fears
Watching your kid sleep or insisting that it’s bedtime gives them anxiety that might cause trouble to their brain to shut off for the night. Instead, focus on the idea of calming your child’s body down.
In addition, nightmares and fears are common in children. This is why it is your role to provide them protection. You can do this by purchasing a special toy that could protect them from imaginary ‘monsters.’
7. Give your kid a bath before sleep
Having a nice and warm bath before going to sleep will help your kid achieve a night of quality sleep. A warm bath 1 – 2 hours before sleep can raise your kid’s body temperature for a moment. Then eventually drops down once they get out of the tub. A drop in body temperature will now signal the brain that their body is ready to sleep.
Improve your child’s sleep
Ensuring that your kid has a proper and quality sleep each night is the most challenging yet endearing part of parenting.
Following these simple and effective tips on how to improve their sleep, such as providing them soothing night-light, sleeping on the memory foam mattress, which is proven to improve the quality of sleep by a notch compared to regular bedding, gnawing some healthy food before bed, and so on, will surely give their mornings a boost and a kick to start a day with full of energy.
There Ya’ Go!
Those were our top 7 ways to improve your child’s sleep. Which tip was your favorite? Do you have other tips to add to the list? Let us know in the comments below!