Struggling with getting your children to sleep is a challenge every parent has come across at some point in their lives. And when they don’t sleep, you don’t sleep. But more importantly, lack of sleep can have a severe impact on both the physical and mental health of children. Getting regular sleep is vital for healthy brain development in children, and every age group has a recommended amount of sleep they should be getting. This month, we’re taking a look at how parents can promote healthy sleeping habits for their children and a more in-depth look at the effects lack of sleep can have on kids as they age.
Lack of sleep and mental health
Studies have shown that lack of sleep can influence depression and anxiety in children and contribute to decreased cognitive abilities like forgetfulness and inability to focus. But what is causing your child’s struggle with lack of sleep?
- Too much time on electronic devices at the end of the day.
- A haphazard bedtime routine.
- Fears of the dark or trouble with night terrors.
- Abrupt and rushed bedtimes.
These are just a few of the most common reasons why your child may be struggling with getting a full night’s sleep. Identifying what could be causing your child’s lack of sleep is the first step to getting your child back on track with healthy sleeping habits. But there is more you can do as a parent to help.
Keep to a schedule
A regular sleep schedule will provide structure for your child and more easily allow them to get the proper amount of sleep they need. Sleep schedules are especially important when your child is experiencing anxiety because familiarity helps reduce feelings of uncertainty. Ideally, you’ll want to make sure your child has the same bedtime and wake-up times for five to six days a week, and try to avoid any variation of more than one hour for both times.
Turn off the screens
When promoting healthy sleeping habits for your children, most parents know that this next tip can be the most difficult. The blue light emitted from phones, tablets, and TVs can interfere with melatonin production and make it more difficult for your child to fall asleep. The best practice here is to cut out screen time at least two hours before bedtime. Ensure their bedroom is a screen-free area, and never bring your devices into their room when bedtime is approaching.
Create a sleep-inducing bedroom
Setting the stage for a good night’s sleep starts and ends with the bedroom setup. Room darkening curtains, putting away distractions like toys and games, using comfortable sheets and pillows all help promote healthy sleeping habits for your kids by giving them a space designed for sleeping. Also, keeping the room a little cooler helps with melatonin levels and makes it easier for children to fall asleep.
Practice relaxation before bed
Are you getting tired of having to raise your voice and insist your children go to bed each night? Parents can often be frustrated when their kids don’t want to go to bed – leading to nighttime struggles and feeling angry and overwhelmed. Instead of putting so much emphasis on getting your child to bed, try practicing more relaxation techniques with your child. Breathing techniques are ideal for promoting healthy sleeping habits as it relaxes kids and gets them ready to finally go to sleep.
Are you looking for more help?
By following the tips above, you can help promote healthy sleeping habits for your children. But sometimes, children can still struggle with getting the right amount of sleep, which can be due to mental health issues. Depression, stress, anxiety, problems at school or with friends can all impact your child’s sleeping habits. At York Hills, we have several helpful and informative services to help your child manage their mental health struggles. If you would like more information about how we can help, please don’t hesitate to contact us now.