Every parent knows that diet and exercise are a crucial part of their child’s development. However, until recently, the next generation’s sleeping habits didn’t get nearly as much attention.
As parents of a poor sleeper know all too well, a lack of rest can seriously affect your little one. In fact, if children are sleep-deprived by just an hour a night, it could affect their academic performance by two whole school years according to a recent study.
To help you make sure your kid gets as much sleep as they need, we’ve put together our top tips for getting them to bed on time each night. Read on to find out everything you need to know.
Just how much sleep does your little one need?
In order to improve your child’s sleep pattern, you need to know how much rest they should be getting each night. While every kid is different, the NHS has a guide to how much sleep your child needs.
Of course, your child might need more or less shut-eye than this — they’re only guidelines, after all. However, if your kid is getting significantly less sleep than the recommended amount for their age or sleeping for hours longer on the weekends, you should think about making a change to their routine.
It’s hard to imagine life without electronics. However, many parents don’t realise the blue light emitted by the screen of a TV, tablet, or smartphone hampers the amount of melatonin — the hormone that winds us down for sleep — we produce. If you’ve ever spent hours lying in bed unable to get to sleep, it may well have been because your sleep pattern was disrupted by too much blue light near bedtime.
If you want to improve your little one’s sleep pattern, it’s therefore important to tempt them away from their tablet and the TV before bed. Sleep.org recommends at least half-an-hour of screen-free time before you turn in for the night: if you’re strict about enforcing this with your child, they’re sure to get a better-quality night’s sleep.
A good way of keep your kid away from screens before bedtime is by pushing bath time up to just before bed. Alternatively, you can read with them or encourage them to do something that involves hand-eye coordination, such as playing with Lego or colouring in, as this helps the brain wind down.
When it comes to quality sleep, consistency is key. Try and wake your child up and put them to bed at the same time every day — including weekends — and they’ll get set into a pattern. After a few weeks, they should go straight to sleep as soon as their head hits the pillow and get the right amount of rest each night.
Once your child has settled into a routine, it’s important to only make exceptions with their bedtime on special occasions. If you get into the habit of letting them stay up late on weekends, they’ll struggle to catch up on that sleep and really suffer for it. So, while it’s never easy to enforce a strict bedtime, you’ll be doing you kid a big favour when Monday morning rolls around.
Upgrade their mattress
Your little one spends over a third of their time in bed, and if their mattress isn’t comfortable, the quality of their sleep is sure to be affected. In fact, a poll by the National Sleep Foundation found that 92% of people believe a comfy mattress is important for a good night’s sleep.
The last step in making sure your child gets enough rest is therefore investing in a top-quality mattress. If they’ve outgrown their child’s bed or they’re just due an upgrade, it’s important to opt for a comfortable mattress from a leading brand like Dormeo, who offer free delivery and a 60-night guarantee on their range of single mattresses. This upgrade could be the difference between years of poor sleep or good sleep for your child, so it’s important to invest in the best mattress you can afford.
So, there you have it: our top tips for making sure your kid gets enough sleep. Follow these steps and their concentration levels will be as high as possible, giving them a great platform for achieving great grades in school, excelling at their hobbies, and making friends.