Good sleep routines help improve learning, mental health, and overall well being.
(PRUnderground) August 16th, 2023
The start of school is just around the corner, which means kids going to bed wherever and whenever is coming to an end.
“Depending on sports schedules and early morning activities parents should start to consider when their kids should begin changing their bedtime about a week before school starts,” said Lori Neeleman, PhD, clinical psychologist at Intermountain Health, “Thankfully, a bedtime routine can help kids get back into the habit of a good sleep cycle.
Dr. Neeleman reminds parents that a bedtime routine doesn’t have to be difficult or drawn out. A routine is just something that parents do every time their child goes to bed.
“A child’s bedtime routine will help them form positive sleep associations,” said Dr. Neeleman. “Sleep is one of the most important health behaviors for optimal mental and physical health as well as quality of life.”
Here are three tips from Dr. Neeleman to helping get your child’s sleep schedule back on track for school:
- Establish a wind-down routine Dr. Neeleman suggests a child’s wind-down bedtime routine should start at least 30 minutes before it’s time to start getting ready for bed, keeping it simple, enjoyable, soothing, predictable and conflict free.
Steps could include:
– Putting an end to raucous games
– Moving slower
– Dimming the lights
– Turning off the TV and electronic devices
– Talking softer
– Prepare your child’s mind and body for their upcoming bedtime routine and sleep.
- Establish a bedtime routine No matter what parents do, Dr. Neeleman suggests parents pick an easy and predictable routine that happens every time their child goes to bed. Try not to draw out your child’s bedtime routine. Fifteen minutes or so should be plenty of time for a good bedtime routine. Decide what is going to help your child fall asleep and stick with it. Consistency is much more important that what you actually do during your routine.
Some examples of bedtime routine elements include:
– Reading books
– Telling stories
– Singing a song
– Saying prayers
– Brushing teeth
– Putting on pajamas
– Goodnight kisses and hugs
– Diaper change or going to the bathroom
– Snuggling together or tucking them in
- Set the stage for good sleep You’ve prepped your child for a good night of sleep. Don’t just leave them in a space that isn’t going to help them sleep. Here are a few other suggestions from the Intermountain Health sleep experts:
– Don’t leave TVs, tablets, computers or phones in their bedroom.
– Keep the space dark enough for good sleep, while still comfortable for those who are scared of the dark.
– Night lights can help
– Make the bed up comfortably
– Check the temperature so it’s cool enough to sleep without leaving your kids cold
– Invest in a white noise machine or fan.
Recommended sleep guidelines for babies and children by age:
- 3 to 6 years– Approximately 11-12 hours of sleep. Younger children of this group may still require a short nap during the day, but the need to nap usually diminishes by the time they enter the first grade.
- 7 to 12 years– Children of this age group tend to need about 10-12 hours of sleep, but often only get about 9-10 hours.
- 13 to 18 years– Teens require about 8-10 hours of sleep, but rarely get the full amount. The demands of schoolwork and after-school activities often cut into their sleep. Most teens report getting about 6-8 hours of sleep.
For more information on Intermountain Health’s sleep services, click here.
About Intermountain Health
Headquartered in Utah with locations in seven states and additional operations across the western U.S., www.intermountainhealth.org is a nonprofit system of 33 hospitals, 385 clinics, medical groups with some 3,900 employed physicians and advanced care providers, a health plans division called Select Health with more than one million members, and other health services. Helping people live the healthiest lives possible, Intermountain is committed to improving community health and is widely recognized as a leader in transforming healthcare by using evidence-based best practices to consistently deliver high-quality outcomes at sustainable costs. For more information or updates, see https://intermountainhealthcare.org/news.
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