How To Make Bedtime Less Exhausting
Let’s face it – as parents, we’re not willingly pulling all-nighters anymore! For us, sleep is a valuable commodity. Consistently receiving 7 to 8 hours of sleep allows us to maintain our health and our sanity while performing optimally at our never-ending duties as parents.
For our kids, sleep is equally as important. Our children’s minds and bodies are in a constant state of development; therefore, they require a greater amount of sleep to maintain their mental and physical health and perform the necessary tasks of childhood – like having fun or learning.
Unfortunately, studies show that students from grade school to university are “chronically sleep deprived or suffer from poor sleep quality and consequent daytime sleepiness.” Without the proper amount of sleep, children and young adults can suffer from a decrease in a learning capacity, poor academic performance, mood swings, and chronic health conditions like diabetes, obesity, and an impaired immune system.
So, how can you ensure that both you and your kiddies continuously receive a healthy night’s sleep? The following four tips from the Ultimate Parent’s Guide to Bedtime will help you address common nighttime struggles and make bedtime less exhaustive for both you and your little ones.
- Create a routine and stick to it. Consistent routines help kids fall asleep quicker at bedtime and fall back to sleep easier when they wake up in the middle of the night. However, bedtime routines are not one-size-fits-all, so experiment with what works for your child. Common routines include calming, lavender-infused baths, positive bedtime stories, snuggles, potty time, and lullabies.
- Don’t let life get in the way of bedtime. The body becomes adjusted to a consistent bedtime, so once you get the routine and time down, your body depends upon it. If a life event like a vacation causes throws off bedtime, Dr. Carol Ash, director of sleep medicine at Meridian Health, recommends to gradually move up bedtime by 15 minutes each night until the optimal time is reached. This gradual adjustment will make it much easier to get back on a set schedule.
- Avoid overstimulation before bedtime. Overstimulating your child’s senses will prevent them from falling asleep and staying asleep. This can be caused by things like the blue-light emitted by screens, noisy or chaotic TV shows, or physical activity before bedtime. Give your child a chance to wind-down in a calm and quiet environment before putting them to bed.
- Maintain a healthy amount of physical activity during their day. Children who are physically fit sleep better than those who are sedentary, watch a lot of TV and have a higher BMI. According to the CDC, children should have at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous levels of activity every day, as well as muscle-strengthening activities and bone-strengthening activities 3 times a week.
Nowadays, a few extra minutes of shut-eye can mean the difference between a day full of frustration, exhaustion, and mood swings, and a day where we are calm, cool, and collected. For our children, getting the proper amount of sleep will improve learning capacity, elevate mood, and maintain a healthy brain and body. Use these four tips to help you when bedtime comes around and ensure your child receives the amount of sleep needed to grow and prosper.
For more information and parenting tips, check out the 2019 Desmoines Parent Guide
About the Author
Stephanie James is a freelancer writer, who covers a variety of topics from wellness and fitness to lifestyle. You can connect with her and see more of her published work on Twitter @sjaywrites13.