Every adult knows how important it is to get a good night’s sleep. We often take rest for granted as adults and falling asleep is something we often don’t even need to think about doing. But what about your children? It is very common for adults to get between 6 to 8 hours of sleep at night, but how much sleep do your children need?
According to Great Ormond Street Hospital, the recommended sleep time for your children will very much depend on their age, with infants to 12 months old needing between 12-16 hours of sleep, children between three to five years of age needing 10-13 hours and teenagers needing between 8-10 hours of healthy sleep.
There are many reasons why your child may not be getting the sleep they need, and this lack of sleep can come out in several ways. The most important thing to establish is why your child is waking in the night or struggling to fall asleep in the first place. For infants, this could be as simple as a wet nappy that makes them uncomfortable. For children of all ages, however, one thing is common – the temperature and light in their bedrooms. Battling this to get a comfortable sleeping area should be a priority.
An ideal routine that may promote a healthy sleeping pattern
To encourage a healthy sleeping pattern, it is worth starting a simple but effective practice that lets your child know that you are building up to going to sleep and helps them relax and prepare their little bodies so they can fall asleep easier. We have put together one of a few routines that could promote a healthy sleep pattern:
No stimulating technology
Watching the television or playing on a tablet is stimulation that wakes the brain up – not something you need just before bedtime! Try to stay away from the tech before your child goes to bed, so nothing increases their brain activity and stops them from sleeping.
A healthy, warming dinner
There is nothing worse than going to bed feeling hungry, and whilst as adults we can combat this by taking a wander into the kitchen, the same cannot be said for our children. A warm dinner that fills up your child’s stomach and will keep them full long into the night is beneficial for a night of healthy sleep.
Having a bath is a great way to warm your child up and can also be used as a symbol of bedtime. Using lavender soaps or bubble baths will relax your child and get them in the mood to catch some good zzzs overnight.
After bath time, get your child dried and dressed quickly to avoid getting cold. For infants, wrapping them in a warm towel will help them retain heat until they are dressed and in bed. Whether you read a story or play lullabies at night, your bedtime routine should be fixed and steady so your child can get used to the routine. Keep the lights dimmed or off to avoid stimulation.
Tips to get a healthy night’s sleep for your little one
Room temperature – ensure your children are not too hot or cold at night – particularly infants who cannot control their body temperatures. Keep the radiator off or low and consider installing a thermometer that will be able to tell you whether the room is warm/cool enough.
Light can be another sleep disturbance, so it’s worth investing in some made to measure blinds that help block out the light in your child’s room.
Try to keep the noise levels in the house at a minimum once your child has gone to bed. Children are notoriously light sleepers and may wake at noises from a loud TV or loud talking.
Consistency with your bedtime routine and patterns is critical. We all know that you will not be able to complete this routine perfectly seven days a week – commitments and changes make that impossible. But it is good to complete this routine as often as you can so your child can get used to what is expected at night and they can look forward to a great night’s sleep.