Many parents worry about the quality and duration of their kids’ sleep and perhaps they have a good reason. According to the National Sleep Foundation, getting a good night’s rest is important for our wellbeing and even plays a crucial role in maintaining a healthy immune system.
But what else does quality sleep do for our health and how can we make sure our families are resting well enough to lead full, active and healthy lives?
Sleep quality and your family’s wellbeing
Essentially, sleep helps our brains process daily information. For example, not getting enough sleep might lead to us struggling mentally, emotionally and physically to carry out day-to-day tasks and perform at our best in school or at work. Sleep even helps to:
- Enhance our immune systems.
- Repair and replenish our bodies after the day’s activities.
- Fix damaged body cells.
- Prepare our cardiovascular system.
According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, lack of sleep is associated with behavioral problems in kids. Plus, other research suggests that poor quality sleep can lead to reduced concentration and significant health issues, such as heart disease and diabetes.
Let’s see how much shut-eye we should be getting a night, according to the KidsHealth organization:
- Kids aged 4-12 months = 12-16 hours.
- Toddlers aged 1-3 years = 12-14 hours.
- Pre-schoolers = 10-13 hours.
- School-age children = 9-12 hours.
- Teenagers = 8-10 hours.
As for parents, you should aim for between 7-8 hours, too. Worried your family isn’t hitting these ideal times? Don’t panic. Here are some ways you can sleep better as a family.
The ideal bed
Is the type of bed you and your kids have right? People who typically sleep a certain way suit different kinds of beds. For example, if your child usually sleeps on their side, why not shop for a mattress for side sleepers to help them sleep more comfortably?
Get rid of gadgets
Have you heard that 42% of kids aged eight years or younger have their own tablets and are spending around 48 minutes daily with mobile gadgets? That’s what a report called ‘Common Sense Census: Media Use by Kids Age Zero to Eight’ found.
The problem is that these devices give off ‘blue light’, which tampers with our sleep-wake routine and can fool our brains into thinking it needs to be alert. So, get your kids and partner to turn off gadgets an hour before bed and keep cellphones, tablets and other technology out of bedrooms to improve sleep quality.
Do plenty during the day
It’s logical to make sure your entire family does enough physical activities during the day so that you feel ready for a well-earned rest by bedtime.
Encourage your kids to play outside, go on a family walk or take a bike ride around the neighborhood together to try and tire you and the kids out.
Keep a sleep journal and make sure that everyone sticks to a regular bedtime. That way, your body clocks should fall in sync and get used to resting at optimum times.
Establishing a ‘bedtime routine’ that perhaps involves bathing and a story can also help kids relax and drift off more easily.
Avoid consuming certain food and drinks
Ban all caffeinated refreshments, like coffee and sodas, after 6pm to help sleep come naturally to you and the kids. Try and have dinner at least two hours before bedtime and ban food that is high in sugar to avoid the risk of a hyped-up rush!
Now your family’s ready to rest soundly!