As all parents know, bedtime can be a difficult time
of the day and the result of lack of sleep can lead to behavioural
problems and impaired performance at school. New research from Penn
State University has found that 90% of school children are not
getting enough sleep. 


Reading


        
              Image:
Childrenwishingwell.org


The benefits of establishing a good
night time routine for children have never been more important. as
routine is key to good sleeping habits in children. According to
Ofcom, one in three children now own a tablet which for many is
part of bedtime routine, yet recent research by University of
California has found that this can have a detrimental effect on
sleep. THis week is National Storytelling Week (31 January - 7
February 2015) meaning it is the perfect time to bring the
traditional bedtime story back and establish a routine and rituals
to help your child get off to sound sleep, every
night. 


Silentnight's sleep expert, Dr
Nerina, says: "Children need and thrive on routine. By establishing
a routine with a set bedtime, children are able to relax and
therefore fall asleep easier. National Storytelling Week is the
perfect time reassess your family's sleep habits. Each bedtime
routine depends on the child, but try something comforting, for
example: milk, a bath, a story, and a cuddle. Those 60 to 90
minutes before bed are crucial to the length and quality of your
child's sleep." 


If your child is a sensitive
sleeper, Dr Nerina has some sleep tips to help establish a good
sleeping pattern for them: 


1. Nutrition and hydration - your
child's nutrition can also play a vital role in helping them to get
good sleep. Good nutrition helps them to make the sleep hormone
Melatonin. Ensure that your child eats breakfast every day and
ideally within about 30mins of getting out of bed. Try also to
ensure that they are drinking at least one litre of fluids per day-
dehydration can cause more frequent waking during the
night. 


2. Safety and security - in other
words, we sleep well when we feel safe and secure. For an adult
this might mean that the front door is locked, the inbox is empty
and there is food in the cupboard. For a child, it becomes more
basic and a calm sleep environment is particularly key such as the
light levels, sound - if your child wakes at the slightest noise it
might be worth experimenting with a white noise machine or smells
such as lavender or eucalyptus.


3.Stimulation - this is a
particularly important consideration if your child is a very
sensitive sleeper and tends to engage with information very
readily. Minimise time spent at the computer or TV, ideally
allowing at least 60 - 90 minutes of technology-free time before
bed. Reading in bed can be a great way of winding down.


4.Reassurance and rest - if your
child is going through a tough patch with their sleep try to
reassure them as much as possible. If the word 'sleep' is becoming
a bit of a stress-inducer encourage them to think about resting
rather than sleeping.


Do you have a bedtime story every
night or let the children have their own downtime? For further
information and sleep tips /sleepmatters.