Science (and common sense) tells us that kids need more sleep than adults. That’s no surprise considering they seem to burn so much energy during the day – and that’s on top of all the growing and learning that’s going on!
However, as wonderful as sleep is, it doesn’t always come easily, even for children.
Many little ones
don’t get enough sleep during the night, leaving them cranky, unfocused, and
over-emotional during the day.
There are many
reasons why your child may be having trouble getting to sleep or staying asleep
– from an inappropriate sleep environment to late-night hunger pangs!
Read on to find out six of the most common.
While it’s true
that some people could probably get a solid eight hours of sleep anywhere at
any time, not all of us are wired that way. One of the first things to consider
if your child doesn’t sleep well is the sleep environment.
The four top factors are:
better in a dark room, so keep the lights off and get blackout blinds if you think it may help. For kids who are
scared of the dark, a nightlight or glow in the dark stickers can soothe
without interfering with sleep.
temperatures are more conducive to sleep, so keep the bedroom temperature
between 18 – 21, if possible.
Is your child not
sleeping because of a noisy household or neighbourhood? Invest in a white noise machine to mask outside sounds.
Finally, make sure there aren’t too many distractions (such as toys or mobiles).
Your Child Is Under Tired
Is the daytime
sleep routine negatively impacting the nighttime hours? It can be hard to find
the right balance of naps during the day to ensure your child is just the right
amount of tired by bedtime, but this is a critical factor.
Younger children typically require at least four hours between sleep periods before they are ready to sleep again. If your child still takes an afternoon nap, make sure it is done earlier in the afternoon if possible – or consider phasing it out completely.
When we get too
tired, our cortisol levels rise, making it harder for us to sleep when the time
comes! This happens to kids, too.
Babies from 0-12
months need between 12 and 19 hours of sleep in a 24-hour period. Toddlers from
1-5 years need 10-14 hours, and kids between the ages of 5 and 10 need around 10
hours of sleep at night.
If they are not
getting enough day sleep, this could be adding up, making them cranky,
hyperactive and emotional at nighttime. Tweaking your day time sleep schedule
can make all the difference at bedtime.
routine is a vital part of good sleep hygiene. Create a pre-bedtime routine
that remains the same every night, focusing on activities that help your child
wind down and relax.
routine might involve having a bath, eating a snack, brushing teeth, and a
bedtime story from you. Make sure the routine is the same time every night, and
keep it simple and short.
The blue light
emitted by televisions, tablets, laptops, and phones can throw off the body’s
sleep/wake cycle, making it harder for kids (and adults) to fall asleep.
To prevent blue
light from impacting on your little one’s sleep, turn off all devices at least two
hours before bedtime, opting for more soothing activities like reading a book.
Every parent is
all too familiar with children’s sleep procrastination techniques! How many
times have you heard “I’m thirsty” or “I’m hungry” half an hour after you’ve
tucked them into bed?
While this may
just be a delaying tactic, it may also be a genuine complaint. That’s why a
pre-bedtime snack is helpful. Heavy meals too close to bedtime can have the
opposite effect (as can over-sugary snacks), but a cup of warm milk and a
banana or piece of toast before bed can be a great idea.
Good sleep can
feel like a mystical thing when you are parenting a young family. But, it
doesn’t have to be! If you have addressed all of the above things and you still
have the problem that your child is not sleeping, then reach out to me today. I
have a range of sleep packages to suit all situations and budgets.