>> Dec 6, 2013
I know from personal experience that if a child is left alone, without any parental supervision over when to go to bed, when to wake up etc, he or she can end up having spent their entire teenage years feeling sleepy during the day and active during the night. This can have a profound influence on their young, fragile minds; so much so that it took me years to get my sleeping schedule in check. Teaching your child proper sleeping etiquette is a responsibility that shouldn't be taken lightly. But to teach, first one must learn, and in this article we are going to talk about the basics behind teaching your child healthy sleeping habits, and maybe learning a few things yourself.
Understanding the Circadian Rhythms
We have all heard of the so-called “biological clock”, or the mechanism our body uses to measure time and regulate its internal processes accordingly. Without it, our hormones will run amok and force our bodies into bizarre states of sleep deprived madness. All living organisms adjust their bodies in harmony with the day/night cycle; and young children are not exception.
Establish A Sleeping Schedule
When it comes to good sleeping habits in a healthy and young growing body; sleeping according to a fixed schedule is the best option. On average, children between 3 and 6 years of age, should sleep between 10 and 12 ours per night (and from 7 to 13 at least 10 – 11 hours). Assuming your child goes to kindergarten or school, waking up early in the morning is a must. In that case a good time to go to bed would be around 8-9 PM; giving your child ample time to get ready for the upcoming day.
Limit Caffeinated/Sugary Beverages
Caffeine and sugar act as powerful stimulants to the young, still growing brain. All major soda brands contain at least some caffeine and sugar; making carbonated beverages the worst enemy of any “good night sleep”. Ice-cream, chocolate and candy are also unacceptable during the later parts of the afternoon as well. Instead, why not substitute sugary drinks and desserts with healthy fruits and juices. Herbal tea is also good, as long as it doesn't contain any black or green tea.
Avoid Big Meals Right Before Bed
Don't allow your child to get full on junk-food and big course meals right before going to bed. Not only are you risking ruining your child's metabolism; but sleep is also affected negatively. Two hours are enough for the body to work through its final meal in peace. Add a healthy snack about an hour before bed to make sure that your child doesn't go through the night hungry. An oatmeal bar or some mixed nuts will provide an excellent, slow burning sustenance that won't affect your child's sleeping patterns.
Make Sure Your Child Gets Plenty Of Exercise
Playing in front of the computer all day might seem like “harmless fun”, but the truth is that the lack of regular exercising can lead to a variety of different health problems; like obesity, insomnia, irritability, poor concentration; difficulty learning etc. Sports might provide a quick fix that would also encourage young people to seek healthier lifestyles in the future. Also, make sure you child is not in front of any light-emitting devices, such as computers, the TV, tablets or smartphones – the light from such devices interferes with the circadian rhythm; making falling asleep more difficult.
Author Bio: Jessica loves to spend time with her family. She works a part time job at http://www.endoftenancycleanerslondon.com/se14-new-cross/ and has a lot of free time.