While sleep is often viewed as an individual activity, it’s also something that the whole family can share. Studies show that children under the age of five need between eleven and thirteen hours of sleep each night; as they grow older, this amount increases. This means that children of all ages need to sleep at least eight hours a night, so if your kids are woken up at night, it’s because they are not getting enough sleep. A nightmare is for sleep-deprived parents but a common problem for parents who have young children who refuse to sleep. At some point, your child will have a nightmare, and you may want him or her to relax and fall asleep. But if the child refuses to doze off, you may be faced with more than just a child who is tired and cranky.
No matter how many methods you try, getting your kids to sleep can be a constant struggle. As a parent, you want them to sleep well and be healthy, but you’re bound to run into obstacles. That’s because sleep can be a tricky business. It’s important for our bodies because it’s the only time we spend doing nothing, and it’s equally important for our minds and souls because it’s when we recharge our batteries and refresh our minds and souls. So, if your kids aren’t sleeping well, here are five ways you can help them get a better night’s rest.
- Know how much sleep your child should be getting
Parents fight a never-ending battle with kids–and their sleep patterns. By the time kids reach preteens, they’re sleep deprived of lack of sleep. According to a study by the National Sleep Foundation, only a third of children ages eight to 15 get the recommended amount of sleep, and a third of them get less than the recommended 8.5 hours, which is the minimum number of hours a child needs per night.
- Make bedtime a routine
Making bedtime a routine can have a positive impact on bedtime behavior. According to the National Sleep Foundation, parents are often shocked by the hours children spend in bed, especially at night. Since bedtime can be a struggle for children, creating a bedtime ritual can not only help the child fall asleep faster but can also help maintain a better nighttime sleep schedule.
- Create an ideal sleeping environment
If you want to get your child to sleep faster, there’s only one way to go—and that’s to get rid of all the things that can distract them. This includes anything that can grab their attention, like that cell phone that’s buried in the closet or the headphones that should be out of sight. You can also upgrade the bedroom environment to something that should help them fall asleep faster, like a comfortable bed or a white noise machine.
- Turn off electronics
You know the drill. Get the kids to bed. But before you head to the bedroom, maybe it’s time to turn off the electronics. Being surrounded by gadgets at bedtime can make it difficult to get the little ones to sleep. That’s especially true with the TV, which can lull them into a false sense of security that everything will be OK when they wake up.
- Be on the lookout for signs of sleep disorders
If you think a little sleep can easily meet everyone’s sleep needs around the clock, then you’re in for a rude awakening. Studies have shown that up to 13% of children, ages 2 to 5, have sleep disorders, including insomnia, sleep apnea, and restless legs syndrome. It’s easy to blame their behavior on their age or temperament, but in reality, sleep disorders are typically caused by an underlying medical condition. Our bodies are amazing, but they’re also highly complicated, and when there’s something wrong, it can be hard to tell.
Sleep is something everyone deserves. Add to that the fact that kids are notorious sleep-a-phobic, and you’ve got sleep deprivation at its most primal. Once they’re asleep, their body releases hormones that bring them back to sleep.