There's nothing more important than a good night's sleep, particularly for children. Not only will sleep recharge them for the day ahead, it's also vital for their development and wellbeing. Once asleep, children's bodies and minds begin to change rapidly, stimulating growth mentally and physically.
So how much sleep does your child need, we hear you ask? And how can you ensure that their bedroom encourages high-quality sleep, instead of being a space of distraction?
Take a look below to see how you create the perfect sleeping environment, and discover just how much sleep your youngster needs every night.
Children need more sleep than any other age group, and the amount of sleep required varies as they age. Lack of sleep can cause irritability and hyperactivity in children, and may have a negative effect on concentration levels too.
You may find some children need more, or less, than the daily recommended amount of sleep. As long as your child seems alert in the morning and happy throughout the day, there's no need to worry but you should try to aim for the following*:
*based on results from WebMD.
There are many different factors that can impact your child's sleep quality. Here are some of the most common, which can often be fixed quite easily by parents.
Too much light in the room can prevent sleep, even in adults. The issue can be tackled in a number of ways, and the first thing you may wish to consider is a blackout blind, dark curtains or curtain liner to keep unwanted light from external factors out of your kid's room.
Light sources from inside your child's bedroom can be fixed much more easily. Make sure television screens are not left on standby, cover alarm clock lights and turn off any electronic devices that are prone to lighting up during the evening.
Too much noise can have a negative effect on sleep quality too. While it's unlikely your child is going to want to use earplugs, there are a few things you can do to create a quieter sleeping environment.
If your home is located in a noisy area, seek out the quietest room in the house and move your child there. You might also want to consider moving the bed away from the wall - especially if you tend to have noisy neighbours!
Remove noise sources inside your child's bedroom as well. Even a ticking clock can cause a disturbance, so spend some time in there alone and identify any potential sources of noise.
Sometimes, however, children may find it hard to sleep in complete silence. If this is the case, consider adding white noise or playing relaxing music - like rain sounds - quietly in their room. You can find many apps to do this straight from a tablet or mobile phone.
Blue light from screens
Blue light, emitted from screens on smartphones, tablets and computers, can have a detrimental effect on sleep. The light projected actually slows down the production of melatonin (a hormone that helps the body to feel tired), and makes it more difficult for people to fall asleep.
Combat this by limiting your children's screen time before they go to bed, or switch to night mode on the device if they really need access to use it late in the evening. Mobiles themselves can be a distraction for children too, especially as they reach their teens. You may wish to remove their phone from their room to prevent them from watching YouTube videos and chatting with friends instead of sleeping.
Listen to their worries
Physical factors may not be the only thing keeping your child up at night. As they grow older, it's not uncommon for worry to keep them up at night. There's no quick solution to this kind of problem, but working through a worry or fear together can help them sleep soundly.
If they're afraid of a fire, for example, you can show them exactly how your fire alarms work and reassure them of their safety. Make a game of it, if you need to, and devise an escape route. For school-related worries, like upcoming tests, prepare with them early and test your child every night - make sure you end of a positive note before sending them to bed!
A good mattress can make so much difference to sleep quality. Old mattresses fail to provide enough support for children, leading to fidgeting and interrupted sleep.
There are many different kinds of mattress available at Time4Sleep, including pocket-sprung, latex and memory foam mattresses. Each offer different advantages, and one may be more suited to your child than the other.
To find out which mattress will offer your child the best night's sleep, take a look at our in-depth children's mattress guide!
Now you've created the perfect environment for your child during the evening, it's time to make sure they have the right bed to sleep on. Our detailed children's bed guide will help you select the perfect bed that's best suited to your child's age and their individual needs.
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