Sleep is important for people of all ages, but it’s often younger children and teens who suffer most with sleep problems. Unfortunately, this can have an effect on their studying, their school, and their home life. A lack of sleep can also lead to behavioral problems, obesity, and a lowered mood. If you have noticed any problems with sleep in your children, don’t worry. It is possible to change things and maintain healthy sleep habits as a family. Here are some of the ways you can do this:
Have a Bedtime Routine
Bedtime routines are especially useful for younger children as they help them to understand that it’s nearly time to go to sleep. Before bed, it’s important to do relaxing things to help them wind down. This could include taking a bath, having a glass of warm milk, and reading a bedtime story. You want to create a soothing environment so avoid talking about anything that might upset them, and instead, keep things as calm as possible. It may take a week or two for this to have the desired effect but keep at it because it will happen.
Stick to a Sleep Schedule
A bedtime routine will be no use at all if your sleep schedule varies drastically every day. While one late bedtime probably won’t throw things out of sync, it’s best to stick to a set bedtime as much as you can. In addition to going to sleep at the same time every night, you want your children to also wake up at the same time every day – even on weekends. While this can be harder to achieve with teenagers, experts recommend that if a teen wakes up at 7 am during the week, they should aim to be awake before 9 am on the weekends.
Beds Should Only Be Used for Sleep
While children’s bedrooms are often used for playing, completing homework, and other activities, it’s best if their bed is only used for sleep. If you have the space in your home, creating a separate room for them to do other activities is advised. If not, see if you can section off your child’s bedroom so that they have separate areas for sleep and play. If your child regularly lays on their bed to watch television or play on a games console, you may need to remove these items from their room.
Invest in New Mattresses (and Beds)
If it has been a while since you invested in a new mattress, your children may be having trouble sleeping due to their beds feeling uncomfortable. If this is the case, it may be best to do a Google search for “mattress store near me”. Take a ride out to the store as a family and let your children test the mattresses to see which ones they prefer. You and your partner can do the same too! When it comes to the beds themselves, consider letting your teen upgrade to a king-size bed if you have the space, and look into the space-saving options for younger children. Some of the frames for younger children have the bed itself high above the ground with a desk or play area underneath. This is ideal for creating the separate sleep space we mentioned above. The more choice you give your kids here, the more likely they are going to follow your new rules surrounding sleep.
If your family sleep doesn’t improve after following the above tips, it’s a good idea to consult a medical professional just to ensure that there is nothing more serious going on. A doctor will be able to answer any questions you have and alleviate any concerns.