Sleep is considered the essential factor in maintaining overall health in humans. Sound sleep is vital to regulate all bodily processes without disturbing other bodily functions.
We know how insufficient sleep affects our whole day's mood and results in many miscoordinations in the human body. Lack of sleep refrains the brain from working properly, creating utter confusion in sending commands to body parts.
A normal human body functions according to the body clock, which has been adapted over a while.
It works on circadian rhythm ( i.e., according to the schedule you follow for a long period); however, the adult human body can easily adapt to changes compared to teenagers and kids in the age group of 1-7 years.
Emphasizing a similar bedtime routine makes the body aware of the changes that happen. Normal school-going children's age ranges between 5 and 15 years old, and these are the ages that require the most sleep.
Importance Of Sleep In Children
Healthy sleep hygiene helps children run a healthy body life, enhances mental strength, boosts thinking abilities in school children, improves healthy life, regulates weight, and controls the risk of health hazards like diabetes and heart issues.
Schools and school timetables play a vital role in modifying the collective sleep schedule in children. To be honest, no school will change its schedule just to fit it into one kid's schedule.
Kids have the most active body type compared to adult body types. Their sleeping schedule mostly depends on two factors.
How Tired Do They Get The Whole Day?
The more your child gets tired, the more quality sleep. Kids, being active the whole day, use their every nerve and muscle in activities like playing, studying, cognitive thinking, and other physical activities.
The maximum use of nerves and muscles in kids makes them tired more in less time and helps them to get good sleep. Schools conduct most of these activities to keep the body in regular function.
Many activities and mental processes in the school help children efficiently. However, if the school schedule is not suitable according to the child's sleep hours, problems may arise for them.
How Healthy Is Their Body?
The next thing is the correlation of health and sleep. If your kid sleeps late and has school timings early in the morning, it surely will reflect bad health leading to less sleep that again leads to disturbing body regulations.
If your kid feels healthy, he/she will surely have a quality sleep.
How Long Should Children Sleep?
Parents have this question mostly. Children's sleep time or the need to sleep hours differs according to their age range and the environment. On average, reports say school-going children should get 9 to 11 hours every day.
The more your kid is grown-up, the less the sleep hour. To simplify, let's break sleep time on a 24-hour basis. According to the Sleep Foundation, children aged 6-13 years are recommended to sleep for a minimum of 9 to 11 hours per 24 hours.
Similarly, teenagers between 14-19 years are recommended to sleep for a minimum of 7 hours to 10 hours per 24 hours. Although 19 year olds are not teenagers yet, their bodies will take time to adapt to adult mode.
Alertness, concentration, creativity, complex thinking abilities, intelligence level, logical reasoning, etc., make every child lead with a good character. What if these key points get disturbed due to lack of sleep.
Yes, they can have negative cognitive benefits on sleeping.
Research studies conducted on various basis reported sleep deprivation has collectively hampered brain growth in school-aged children. Less sleep disturbs the balance in kids, and their ability to stay active and attentive gets lost for a while. Pauline Bridegman also stated the emotional and behavioral issues in children caused due to short sleep.
How to manage children's bedtime? It may seem daunting at first, but don’t worry. There are better ways to do it. It can't be achieved in one stroke, so the better way to do it adequately is to try to achieve it step by step. Here are some tips to help you understand a better bedtime for children.
Make Smaller Changes At Once
Identify the ideal sleep and wake time for your kid. These time slots can be achieved simply by parents. All the parent needs to plan a timetable that doesn't rush the child in the mornings for their school.
For example, suppose your child needs to be ready for school by 10 am. You need 2 hours to prepare them and complete all the chores behind the child's back.
Set the wake-up time at 7 am; it will make sure that even if you lose track of time and get late anyhow in the middle (which is quite frequent since children are unpredictable), you will still be able to manage before time.
You need to adjust yourself and your schedule, to help your kid. It's quite clear the sleep hours must be completed, and if a kid needs to wake up early in the morning, then proportionally, he/she needs to sleep early too. All of these result in shifting everything in the early routine. Be it your dinner time or your other household chores.
Lessen The Intake Of Caffeine/Carbonate Consumption
We know caffeine and carbonated foodstuffs refrain sleep and make the human body less groggy. To ensure your child gets perfect sleep time, reduce the intake of caffeine and carbonated items in the food and completely prohibit the consumption of such stuff 2-3 hours before bedtime.
Set And Follow The Same Bed Timings
As mentioned above, a proper sleep timetable is needed. Kids are molding structures that can easily be molded. A strict sleep and wake-up time is set, which means the same timing will be followed. Every day is made, and kids will adopt the habit and inculcate the timetable.
No Phones And Computers Before Bedtime
As explained in the above section, the human body follows a circadian rhythm clock that automatically signals the brain about timing when the body needs anything.
It's similar in adults and children; the body automatically signals the brain to get up once the required amount of sleep is completed. It is because of the hormone called 'melatonin' released in the body.
Scientific studies have shown the charts of screen effects on sleep deprivation. The radiation radiated from screens of phones, desktops, or televisions commands the brain as it does in the daytime. This leads to no release of melatonin and keeps the body awake.
It's difficult to cut off complete exposure to electronic and digital devices from children. However, the method of digital curfew can be opted. Simply shut down all the radiation-emitting devices almost an hour before the children's bedtime.
Instead of television, engage the kid in some bedtime routine or activities.
Physical Activity For A Better Sleep
As discussed earlier, physically tired children are more likely to have good quality sleep and fall asleep faster than those children who don't participate in any physical activity.
Normally, children should be engaged in physical activities to ensure good health as it boosts the metabolism rate in the body and acts as grease to the bones and joints ligaments.
Physical activities also reduce the time of sleep onset and let the child sleep soundly within a short while rather than making the child struggle to doze off. Given below are some physical activities to help the kids sleep better.
- Participate in sports activities (Let the child participate in sports, it will enhance their overall physical growth leading to sound sleep)
- Follow certain exercises (not before sleep time)
- Turn towards yoga asanas for better sleep.
- Go for a night walk around the serenity (a walk after dinner and before bedtime will help the child digest easily and also will give them good sleep)
These physical activities make kids sleep instantly at bedtime.
Create A Bedtime Routine
The bedtime routine is a simple rule one must follow before sleeping. To simplify it more, a bedtime routine can be washing your face with lukewarm water to help your eyelids become comfortable before sleep. Lukewarm water will instantly release pressure from the eyelids and make it too easy to sleep for kids.
Help kids and teenagers to include breathing exercises in their bedtime routine. Breathing exercises will improve sleep quality and help children sleep like stones without any disturbance at midnight.
Teach children to drink a moderate amount of water before sleep. Let the brain calibrate the information of sleeping in bed within minutes by skipping talking in the bedroom.
If you talk too much in the bedroom, the child's brain adjusts to the talking section rather than sleeping.
Does the bedroom environment affect sleep? Truly yes. It does. An adult brain quickly adjusts to the environment and functions similarly in children and adults.
- Try to keep the mattress clean, fresh and smell-free. The use of hard-smelling room fresheners causes less sleep.
- Ensure that the child sleeps in a quiet environment; this way, the children get enough sleep in less time due to the best quality of the environment around them.
- The bedroom environment should be airy with open sources like a window; fresh air smoothens brain activities and gives the brain sufficient time to rest.
- Keep the lights turned off during their sleep. If the child is afraid of darkness, use soft glowing night lamps or minimal radiating lights.
Now that you know all about adjusting sleep schedules for your child’s better sleep, let’s take a look at a few frequently asked questions.
Can A Sleeping Schedule Help Your Sleep Quality?
Yes, it does. The budding brains of kids mold in the growing years. The more the sleep schedule is fixed, the more good, sound sleep they get.
Stick to one pattern for the school period; you can change it for weekends so the child's body gets a bit more sleep.
What's The Ideal Sleep Schedule For Students?
The ideal schedule for an average school-aged kid is 9 to 12 hours. If your school schedule affects this time slot, try to achieve sleep of 7 hours in one go and rest in an afternoon nap of 2 hours. However, there are better ways than this, yet it's the most fitting alternate solution.
How To Teach Children Good Bedtime Habits?
Be patient; that's the true tactic. Don't enforce anything on the children. Take time as a parent/guardian and give the child time to adapt. Try changing the habits step by step.
All in all, getting sufficient sleep for children during their tiring days at school is just as important as staying hydrated and getting all the essential vitamins. Getting sufficient sleep ensures maximum productivity and concentration at both school, extracurricular activities and day to day tasks. Although, creating a bedtime schedule for your kid may seem like a daunting task at first, we ensure that our tips and tricks will help you develop it for your little one effortlessly.
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