Sleep counts as one of the most important facets of health, especially for children. Their growing bodies need sleep in order to repair tissues and to give their brains a necessary reset. However, many children today suffer from excessive daytime sleepiness, causing them to appear exhausted throughout the day despite having regular bedtimes. If your child’s sleep isn’t providing the rest that they need to carry them through the day, consider these methods to help make sleep more restful for them.
Avoid Pre-Bedtime Snacking
Certain snacks affect how well your child sleeps. Sugary snacks may rev up your child’s inner motor, so to speak, as can snacks with caffeine. Even the act of digesting can make a child’s sleep less deep. Therefore, it may help your child sleep more deeply to cut off any snacks too close to bedtime and instead use a little water to fill the feeling of an empty stomach.
Take Screens Away
A computer or phone screen puts off a specific kind of light that messes with the body’s ability to fall asleep. If your child regularly plays video games or watches TV before bed, this may have an adverse affect on his/ her sleep. Even reading a book or playing with toys up until bedtime is better than screens, as the blue light that comes from screens sends signals to the mind that it is daytime. These signals make it difficult for your child’s body to produce the melatonin that it needs to sleep deeply each night. To be on the safe side, it’s best to avoid screen time three hours before bed.
Sleep on a Schedule
It’s tempting to allow kids to stay up really late on the weekends, but this becomes detrimental to his/ her sleep schedule. This is especially true if her sleep schedule during the week is dramatically different: If he/ she is in school, then it will be. Try to stick to your child’s normal schedule as much as possible. If you do allow your child to stay up late, then at least try to limit it. In other words, don’t allow your child to change his/ her sleep schedule by more than an hour or so on the weekend.
Get Checked for Sleep Apnea
If your child still can’t sleep, despite all of your efforts, then maybe your child has a condition like sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is where the breathing starts and stops during the night. It is dangerous for many reasons, including a loss of oxygen and a disrupted sleep schedule. If you suspect that your child may suffer from this condition, then it’s best to make an appointment with one of the sleep apnea doctors in your area to have it checked out.
The wrong foods, too much screen time, an inconsistent sleep schedule, and even serious disorders like sleep apnea all affect how well your child sleeps. If your child isn’t getting the right amounts of REM sleep each night, the tiredness you’ll see throughout the day will impede their normal activity. One or two off nights are fine, but if you notice your child is consistently tired throughout the day, then consider these and other options as potential causes of poor sleep.
By Meghan Belnap
Meghan Belnap is a freelance writer who enjoys spending time with her family. She loves being in the outdoors and exploring new opportunities whenever they arise. Meghan finds happiness in researching new topics that help to expand her horizons. You can often find her buried in a good book or out looking for an adventure. You can connect with her on Facebook right here and Twitter right here