If you’re a parent whose young child or teen is hyperactive, struggling in school, wetting the bed, or you’ve been told they have attention deficit disorder (ADD) or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), chances are, what you’re dealing with is a child that is lacking sufficient sleep. That could be because of a sleep disorder, or it might simply be that they don’t have good sleep hygiene.
Webster’s dictionary defines hygiene as “conditions or practices (as of cleanliness) conducive to health.” As it applies to sleep, hygiene is about creating a welcoming environment in your child sleeps, and then instilling habits in them that help prepare their mind and body for a peaceful night’s sleep.
recommends the following hours of sleep for infants through teens:
- 4-12 months: 12-16 hours
- 1-2 years: 11-14 hours
- 3-5 years: 10-13 hours
- 6-12 years: 9-12 hours
- 13-18 years: 8-10 hours
Here are some ways to help your child get a good night’s sleep to be refreshed and ready for the day ahead.
Create the ideal environment
The bedroom should be a place for sleep—no homework, no computers, no TVs. Keep the room a cool temperature, around 65 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit, so they don’t wake up sweating or shivering.
Remove distractions from the bedroom—no pets or clutter. Books and papers collect dust, which pollute the air and make it harder to breathe and sleep.
Get rid of harsh noises as well. No ticking clocks or other sounds that can keep a brain awake at night. If you live in a noisy area, muffle outside noises with a fan that creates white noise or a sleep machine that produces soothing sounds.
Also put out the lights. Your child needs the dark for deep sleep; without it, his or her circadian rhythm is disrupted. “sleep hormone”—light inhibits melatonin production. Once the body is in complete darkness, is releases the hormones it needs to fully relax and fall into a deep sleep.are the mental, physical, and behavioral changes that the body goes through over 24 hours in response to light and darkness. Circadian rhythms work in tandem with the body’s internal clock, which controls the production of melatonin. That’s the
Think “Goldilocks” when it comes to bedding
Goldilocks knew just what she needed to get a good night’s sleep. When it comes to your child, think comfort, just like Goldie needed.
Make sure your child has a good, firm mattress and crisp, clean sheets. Also make sure they have comfortable nightclothes.
Having a regular routine is one of the most basic, yet most important sleep hygiene rules. Establish regular times for your child to be in bed at night and get out of bed in the morning. That goes for weekends, too. Trying to make up for lost sleep on the weekend only confuses the body. That’s what makes it so hard to get up on Mondays and head for school.
Too often, when a teen, adolescent, child, or even an infant is identified as having behavioral problems, they are given some kind of drug. Yet, their behavior is actually dependent on them getting not just enough sleep but the proper sleep to regenerate the chemistry of the body.
Give your child a cool, comfortable place to sleep, good bedding, and a regular routine and you’ll give them what they need to get ahead in life.