With A Good Night’s Sleep, Oh, The Places Your Children Will Go
Are your children getting the proper amount of quality sleep needed to function at their highest performance level?
“Kid, you’ll move mountains! Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting. So Get on your way!” in the wise words of Dr. Suess, an ending to a favorite children’s bedtime story, and a wonderful, hopeful and positive message on the opportunities tomorrow will bring.
From a young age, it is so important that we start building healthy sleep habits with our kids. While it may feel as though it is impossible to kids of all ages to go to sleep at a reasonable hour, the earlier we start practicing these behaviors, the more likely it is to stick with them for a lifetime! And while a teenager does not need as much sleep as a 7 year old, the habits we begin to form carry with us long past our teenage years.
How much sleep your child should be getting depends on their age. Newborn babies should be getting anywhere from 14-16 hours of sleep per day, however once they reach ages one through three, 12-14 hours will do. Children ages three through six years old should get 10-12 hours of sleep, and ages seven through 12 should receive 10-11 hours. By the time your child starts approaching teenage years, the classic 8-9 hours of sleep for those ages 12 through 18 is an appropriate amount. While we want our children to be well rested, on the flip side, we want to make sure they are in between these ranges and not getting too much sleep either!
Today, we have a much broader understand the importance and role restorative sleep plays in our children’s formative years. For many caregivers, helping their kids invest in not only the necessary hours, but the level of quality sleep will provide benefits and stepping stones reach whatever goals they have. Just to list a few of those positive benefits of healthy sleep in children:
Improved mood and focus
Promotes growth and healthy weight
Boosts immune system
Long-term positive effects on academic performance and mental health
So, where does one even begin? Building healthy habits is the key to getting on track with your sleep wellness journey. There are things you can discuss with your kids to help them understand the benefits of getting enough rest. A few easy habits that you start practicing with your kids tonight might be to:
Set a regular nighttime routine: In one of my previous posts, I discuss the importance of establishing a nightly routine. This should be a conversation you are having with your kids as well! Discuss an appropriate bedtime, and build healthy habits together that can be practiced each and every night in order to set them up best for success.
Avoid eating large meals , sugary snacks or drinking caffeine before bed: Eating large meals or drinking caffeine and sugar can have long-term negative effects on your child’s overall health and wellbeing. If your child insists on eating something before bed, opt for a healthy snack instead to ensure the best quality sleep.
Avoid exercise right before bed: If your child plays a sport or is very active, make sure they have enough time before bed to allow their muscles to relax and wind down. It will be much more difficult to fall asleep immediately following high energy activity
Go to sleep and wake up and the same time each night: Setting a schedule and keeping to it is one of the most important ways to improve sleep habits. Even on weekends, you should make an effort to help your children go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day to avoid grogginess and set an internal body clock.
Eat a healthy diet: There are an endless amounts of benefits to sticking to a healthy diet and only fueling our body with positive choices, but did you know studies show that diet actually has an effect on quality of sleep as well? The foods we eat and the times we eat them at affect our energy levels throughout the day, as well as our quality of rest at night.
Create a dark, cool sleep environment: Take the time to create a space that is welcoming and inviting for your child each night. If their room receives a lot of natural light, maybe use some dark black out curtains to keep the space dark. Avoid any lights except maybe a subtle night light. Keep the room cool and perhaps invest in a fan if necessary.
Provide high quality bedding products: An easy thing you can do for your kid to set them up for success, is to provide the best quality products for them to sleep the most soundly. Something I love to recommend for kids and teens, is the Stay Fresh Duvet Insert from Pottery Barn Teen. This duvet comes in all sizes, including Twin XL for dorm rooms. The Fresh Zone materials use temperature controlling technology fibers in the material that also helps to eliminate odors and allergens, helping sensitive sleepers sleep deeper and wake up feeling refreshed!
So, have a sit down with your kid today and talk about the habits you want to build together to improve your sleep health and wellness. Even changing one small thing that you do each day can have a huge impact in the long run!
About Inventive Sleep by Tracy Miller
Tracy Miller is a trusted inventor and innovator of functional, technology driven, and comfortable products for the home, and founder of Inventive Sleep™. Her engaging brands are found in millions of homes and hotels across the country. As a Sleep Products Innovator, Tracy is dedicated to helping people realize their dreams and goals starting with a great night’s sleep. Her reputation for combining proven and modern materials in everyday products including sheets, pillows, comforters, blankets and mattress pads, adds exciting new comfort and performance qualities consumers love to incorporate into their homes. Tracy is also the author of the weekly sleep blog Sleep Secrets and Inspirations. In it, she shares her expertise on materials research and design, and demystifies the sleep experience with an informative and fun-filled conversation on how sleep helps people with daily living, as well as some of her tips and tricks on picking your favorite products. For more information, visit www.inventivesleep.com. Sleep Tonight. Create Tomorrow.™