The Importance of Sleep Hygiene
Sleep is so important and under-appreciated. We all know we need sleep, but we often do not get enough. Why? Because of technology! Bright lights, televisions, smart phones and tablets keep us awake in addition to our busy schedules. However, sleep is essential to maintaining a healthy body and mind. In children, insufficient sleep can increase the risk of behavior problems, obesity, and even mood disorders.
See this chart below for the recommended number of hours a child needs to sleep based on age.
What is the best way to ensure that you and your family get sufficient sleep? The key is to develop a sleep routine and maintain good sleep hygiene.
Get to bed and wake up around the same time every day. In addition, do not deviate more than an hour in either direction on any day of the week. In my opinion, this is the most important rule and may take some time to establish this essential habit to sleep hygiene.
Avoid blue light (light from smart phones, tablets and TVs) for at least 1 hour before bed and lower the lights inside your house about 30-60 minutes before bed time.
Establish a routine for your children you follow every night. This may be bath and brush teeth, reading together or doing a meditation or gentle yoga practice, and then tucking them in.
Keep rooms cool and dark during sleep time. Some brains are very sensitive to even low light and it can reset the circadian rhythm.
Use white noise machines.
Avoid caffeine or vigorous exercise before bed.
Finish the last meal of the day 2-3 hours before bed.
One thing I do in my household that may seem unconventional is to not use a morning alarm to wake my children. I find if they are having trouble waking up naturally on their own in the morning, then they are likely not going to bed early enough at night.
How do you ensure that you and your family are getting enough sleep? I hope you enjoyed this blog post! Comment below, give me a like, and please share. Have a plantastic day!