There is no gainsaying sleep is too important to shortchange. Sleep governs learning and memory; metabolism and weight; social safety; mood; cardiovascular health and the immune system. All these are of great significance to the growing kid and cannot therefore be compromised. So, how do we help our kids calm down from a hectic day and drift off to a quiet healthy sleep?
Here are some easy ways to help kids sleep better.
Read them a pleasant story
After a long day of learn and play, kids need to calm down before bed. The age old practice of storytelling before bedtime does wonders to calm down the kid to sleepiness before the head hits the pillow. Obtain books with nourishing oral tales that helps your child learn critical thinking and gain emotional intelligence while learning ethics and common sense. Fables with less vigourous action and more moral teachings do it. Read these stories every day before bedtime. Avoid ogre, pirates and horror stories. These lead to nightmares since the kids are likely to dream about what they saw or experienced before bedtime.
Follow a consistent bedtime ritual
Circadian rhythms act as internal clocks and steer the sleep-wake cycle. The rhythm changes if disrupted, making it difficult to fall asleep. Bedtime should not be guided by TV programs and homework. The programs may be recorded while the homework may be fixed at an appropriate time in the morning or evening. Having a proper time plan for the day, including sleep and wake times makes the sleep-wake cycle stable. Remember, early to bed means a better sleep.
Music also has magic for good sleep
A few minutes of wonderful lullaby, classical or spiritual music soothes the mind and the nerves of the kids, sending the off to fantastic and rewarding sleep. If you can’t sing for your kids, consider buying some CDs that will complement your bedtime stories. Sing or play these songs to the kids before or after storytelling and they will have nice sleep. Loud high tempo music should be avoided. These make the mind more active at a time when calm is all that is needed.
Make informed choices of what your kids take for supper
The kids should not take heavy meals, too much fluids or caffeine before bed. Heavy meals and too much fluid may cause constipation and frequent need to visit the lavatory, disrupting their sleep. Caffeine is a stimulant and will keep them awake a good portion of the night. This does not mean the kids should go to bed hungry. Banana is one great bedtime snack. It is rich in tryptophan, an amino acid that turns into the soothing and sleep-inducing brain chemical called serotonin. Other foods that are good before bed are lettuce, chamomile tea and protein rich foods such as meat, tofu, eggs, fish etc.
Let your kids take warm bath with organic lavender oil before bed
Lavender scent is known to ease out anxiety and sleeplessness. This combination sets a good pace for the bodies need for sleep. The kids land on the bed and before long they dissolve into sweet dreams.
A comfy set of PJ’s never hurt anybody
Sleep dress is one other determinant factor. The kids should wear light comfortable bedclothes that don’t keep the too warm. They should also not be too tight or too loose. Wearing bangles, ear studs and additional adornments while sleeping hinders with good night sleep. Let your kids remove all such adornments and have great sleep without the interference of any object. Remember these things may get very cold at night and induce nightmare if not getting the kid awake.
Get them the right bed
Finally, the sleeping place should not be ignored. The bed should be very clean and comfortable. Fluffy bedding that may trigger cold, flu or allergy should be avoided. The mattress should be fairly firm to avoid bad sleep posture that may cause an aching neck or a sore back. The kid’s bedroom should have calming colours and be cool with low noise. Get creative night lights that give the kids a sense of calm and wonderment before falling asleep. Dim lights should be used when the kids need to go out so that falling back to sleep gets easier.
Sunny Popli is Global Brand Manager for MattressNextDay- The UK’s no 1 kid’s mattress brand. Mattressnextday sells double bed with mattress size, single kid’s mattress, comfortable double mattress and soft memory foam mattress.