Having a child who doesn’t sleep well or who won’t go to sleep can be very stressful and tiring for parents and child alike. Comfortable regular sleep for children and teenagers is vital to their good health and wellbeing and growth, both physically and emotionally. The recommended amount of sleep needed for a child aged between five and ten is ten hours per night. If your child is getting less then it could lead to them getting overtired and causing tantrums, crying and lethargy and in older kid’s clumsiness. Thankfully there are some steps you can take to help alleviate the problem with many of the tips being useful not only for children but for adults with sleeping difficulties too. The Sleep Council website gives some good advice including: Establishing a routine – Make bedtime the same time each night. A hot drink can aid sleep so try and make that part of the routine. Very few adults go to sleep as soon as they go to bed so it’s unreasonable to expect children to d so. Let them do something relaxing like reading or if they aren’t old enough to read then read them a bedtime story. Leave a Glass of Water by the Bed – The dreaded shout most parents will have heard during the night at some point is “I’m thirsty I need a drink.” Because metabolism rates vary wildly in children slight dehydration can occur in some children causing them to wake up thirsty. Placing a glass of water by their bed or giving them a drink after they have been to the loo before bedtime can help the problem. A recent book about children and sleep has been written by author Sammy Margo who also wrote The Good Sleep Guide. She offers a whole lot of interesting causes why your child might not be sleeping.
- Something as simple as pillows could be affecting your child’s sleep. Young children need a pillow that is flat and reasonably firm and gives the shoulders and neck support. It also has to be comfortable. Adult pillows aren’t suitable for a child as they are too big.
- The room might be too bright. Darkness triggers the release of melatonin – the hormone that brings on sleepiness- so if there is too much light in the room then falling asleep can be difficult.
- Acidic foods like Orange juice should be steered clear of near bedtime Greasy, rich meals can also cause indigestion or wind when a child lies down so they should be avoided. A small bedtime snack like a banana or yogurt eaten half an hour or so before bed is fine.