Are you a parent who dreads the hours before bedtime because of the inevitable struggles that lie ahead? If the words "It's time for bed" bring about a lot of arguing, whining and fighting, you have to make some changes, and fast.
Just like adults don't do their best on a few nights of lousy sleep, neither do kids. In fact, they need healthy sleep even more than adults because they can suffer the negative effects from poor sleep to a much more severe degree.
Sleep and Your Brain
The brain is like a filing cabinet and during the day it gets filled with everything we see and do. At night, the brain starts to file a lot of these things into various "drawers." Some are marked "short-term memory," some are marked "long-term memory" and some are marked "forget this because you won't need it or because you didn't give it enough attention."
Children often have mountains of new material they've collected throughout the day. So, when a child is unable to get through a full night of productive sleep, a lot of the things they should have learned (and which would have gone into the long-term memory file) won't make it.
Sleep and Immunity
The time we spend asleep at night also allows the body's immune system to recharge, so it's ready to fight off free radicals and any threats of disease or infection. Children are exposed to countless germs at school and during their extracurricular activities. Since their immune system is still developing, they're more susceptible to illness than adults.
Additional benefits of a good night's sleep include digestive regularity and better concentration during the day.
To ensure that your children are getting the best possible sleep, you need to start preparing them for sleep in the hours before dinner time. The body needs to be "programmed" to gently drift towards a night of restful sleep and it begins when a routine is established well before bedtime arrives.
Some tips for helping a child get to sleep and stay asleep include:
No food or drinks (except water) two hours before bed.
Set a firm bedtime and stick with it.
Stick to a schedule (i.e. dinner, one hour of homework, one hour of socializing or reading, bath and bed).
Never put a TV or any sort of electronic device in a child's room. This has been shown to interrupt sleep patterns.
No watching scary TV shows or movies or any type of program that will wind them up.
No physical exercise two hours before bedtime.
Give them a desk or a play area, but be sure that the bed is only used for sleeping.
Children can also enjoy teas like chamomile that may help calm them. You can even serve them cold over ice, but go easy on the sweeteners, which can keep them up. Helping your children establish healthy sleeping habits will set them up for better grades and fewer colds and all-night study sessions.
Get everything you need to keep them healthy and happy at eVitamins and have a great weekend!