How important is a healthy sleep habit? Now that we are busy with school and after school activities, how can I ensure that my child gets enough sleep?
There are many reasons why sleep is important for people of all ages but helping your children establish good sleep habits now will help them learn, grow and develop and also continue healthy sleep habits as adults. Sleep is restorative and children who get the right amount of sleep tend to have stronger immune systems, build better relationships with their peers, experience less daytime fatigue, have longer attention spans and perform better in school. Also, recent studies suggest that children who experience even minor sleep deprivation when they are young are more likely to become obese.
It is important for parents to establish a healthy schedule and environment for sleep. To start with, set a good example. If you make healthy sleep a priority in your own life, your children will learn to make healthy sleep a priority as well. Talk to your health care provider about how much sleep your child should be getting for her age. If your child experiences insomnia or other disrupted sleep, try to make a few improvements to your routine. Create a regular sleep schedule with the same bed time and wake time every day. Include plenty of exercise and fun physical activity for yourself and your child every day. At the end of the day, wind things down and relax with a warm bath and story time. If your child is hungry before bed, provide a small healthy snack like a piece of fruit or whole grain toast. Talk to your health care provider about other steps you can take to improve your family’s sleep. If sleep problems persist, further treatment may be necessary.