We all need to sleep and rest, and this action usually comes naturally at night, especially when we are very tired; but it is not only important to rest and have a good quality deep, restful sleep, and to get the necessary hours of sleep.
For this, sleep hygiene is essential; it is all those guidelines, habits and measures that promote quality sleep, which allows adequate rest.
In childhood, all of this is especially important; for that in this article we will talk about sleep hygiene in children, And we bring you up to 10 guidelines that encourage it.
The importance of sleep (good)
As we saw in the introduction, maintaining good sleep hygiene is very important to ensure restful sleep, as sleep is a vital function required for many other functions.
We think when we are excessively tired during the day, asleep, crawling everywhere… We do not give the same thing? We work less well, we study less well … and we can even be in a bad mood, even irritable.
It happens to us, adults, but also children. This is why sleep hygiene in children must be improved and taken care of from an early age. In addition, the sooner children acquire these habits, the sooner they will internalize them and the easier it will be for them to continue to apply them in the future.
In this article, we’ll focus on sleep hygiene in children, although most of these guidelines can apply to adults as well.
Sleep hygiene in children: how to improve it and help them sleep
Let’s see 10 guidelines for promoting good sleep hygiene in children:
1. Maintain regular schedules
Routines and schedules are essential elements in promoting good sleep hygiene in children. This means that the ideal is for the little ones to go to bed at the same time every day (or if not at the same time, at least at similar times).
This should also be extrapolated to weekends. Routines structure the mind and body, and are essential for the body to eventually associate with sleep this time around.
2. Avoid the consumption of stimulants
Another guideline for promoting sleep hygiene in children is to avoid the consumption of stimulating substances; this includes drinks that may contain caffeine, carbonated drinks like Coca-Cola, etc.
Ideally, they shouldn’t be drinking this type of substance, or if they do, it shouldn’t be at least an hour too late in the day, let alone before bed.
3. Encourage exposure to light in the morning.
Exposure to bright light in the morning is known to promote sleep at night, so incorporating this habit into a toddler’s routine can help them sleep better as well. Outraged, if the light is natural, it is much better.
4. Avoid television, tablets, cell phones …
The light emitted by devices such as tablets, mobile phones and others, is strongly discouraged when one wants to fall asleep, because they produce just the opposite effect: “waking up” and activating the body and the mind. .
Thus, in particular in sleep hygiene in children, it is totally inadvisable that they are “glued” to these devices just before bedtime; if they use them, let it be at a reasonable time, for example until five or six in the afternoon.
5. Avoid video games
As per the above guideline, the use of video games before bed is also not recommended, as they usually excite and activate them (they make them “alert”, the opposite of what it takes to sleep) .
6. The bed, to sleep
It seems like a very absurd thing, but sometimes we “sin” in this pattern and we don’t realize it. The body, mentally, but also physiologically, to associate the bed exclusively with sleep; that is why if the little ones, in addition to sleeping in bed, play, eat, watch movies or the like, this can create real difficulties at bedtime and falling asleep.
Because? Because your body no longer associates the bed with sleep, but many other situations, which makes it difficult to sleep. It is a matter of classical conditioning (where certain stimuli and responses are paired in an “X” fashion).
7. Do not use the TV to fall asleep
Another guideline that we propose to promote sleep hygiene in children, linked to some previous ones that mention new technologies, is to avoid the use of television to fall asleep.
Of course, you don’t have to be drastic and avoid TV anyway. (Because there are children even those who love them), but moderate their use. If they can fall asleep with something else, better (for example with a book), because sometimes the TV activates them instead of relaxing them.
8. Create an environment that facilitates sleep
It is common sense; we sleep better in environments where we feel comfortable and at ease, in terms of temperature, position, clothing …
That is why it is very important to take care of the environment in which we sleep (This is, in this case, the child’s bedroom); this includes adjusting the room temperature, encouraging silence, having the child wear appropriate clothing (neither too tight nor too “loose”), and so on.
On another side, there are children who like a little bass music, or sounds that imitate the waves of the sea, wind, rain, Etc. To do this, there are applications that can be useful (check the Google Store or the App Store).
9. Encourage regular physical exercise
Playing sports is phenomenal in so many ways: one of them relaxes us! Although it can activate us (especially depending on which sport), when a certain time has passed since training we feel relaxed and our body appreciates it.
Thus, regular physical exercise can also promote good sleep hygiene in children.
10. Practice by example
Sometimes, to learn what habits, there is nothing better than a good model; therefore, as parents, practice by example can help our children so much in this regard.
This means apply the above guidelines and have the children see itIn addition to modeling, it can help our children to realize the importance of these habits and to internalize them more easily.
On the other hand, practicing by example also means creating an atmosphere of calm and tranquility at home from mid-afternoon until bedtime.
- Horse (2002). Manual for the cognitive-behavioral treatment of psychological disorders. Flight. 1 and 2. Madrid. 21st century (chapters 1-8, 16-18).
- JJG Galve. (2009). Tips and help for a good sleep. Naturist Medicine, 3 (2): 72-76.
- P David, M Blanco, M Pedemonte, R Velluti et al. (2008). Sleep medicine – Chile: Editorial Mediterraneo.