The Importance of Sleep!
Sleep plays a very important role in our development, physical health and mental wellbeing. It is so important, that on average, we sleep for one third of our lives!
But it’s important to know the signs when a child may not be getting enough sleep.
Is your child:
- Falling asleep during the day
- Being hyperactive
- Having trouble paying attention
- Struggling with schoolwork
- Being cranky, whiny or irritable
- Having behaviour problems
These are all signs that your child might not be getting the right amount of sleep they need to develop.
Here are 10 tips for healthy sleep practices:
- Use structured routines – Create structured routines close to bedtime that commence when the sun starts to go down. Visuals may support independence in young children.
- Incorporate movement – If your child requires movement regularly, incorporate movement that is rhythmical closer to bedtime to support calming.
- Encourage deep pressure activities – Deep pressure or proprioceptive input is calming and can lower arousal levels to facilitate healthy sleep. For example, massaging, blowing bubbles, making shower-drying time longer and wrapping up in a blanket for a hug.
- Play music – Playing calming music during a bedtime routine aids in calming the body ready for sleep and supports building sleep association.
- Reduce technology – Reduce technology where possible 1 hour prior to bedtime.
- Consider their sensory environment – During sleep, we have natural wake periods as our body moves through its natural cycle. Children and teens who are sensory sensitive may wake more easily and require more consideration of the sensory environment.
- Get daily exercise – Daily exercise supports effective sleep habits.
- Take them to bed before they’re asleep – Children should go to bed sleepy but awake. This supports their association with falling asleep alone.
- Use a consistent communication approach – At bed-time, this may include visuals, simple sign language or simple verbal prompts.
- Prepare for changes in season – You can prepare for the new season by adding extra block out curtains or spending more time in a darker environment at bedtime during summer.