- 3 mins
7 Sleep Hygiene Tips to Help Your Kiddo Catch Better ZZZ’s
As a parent, you want what’s best for your child. You want them to be happy and healthy and to get the best possible start in life. Part of that is making sure they get enough sleep. Sleep is essential for children’s physical and mental development. It helps them to grow and repair their bodies, and it gives their brains time to process all the new information they’ve been taking in during the day.
Unfortunately, many children don’t get enough deep sleep. Deep sleep is the most restorative kind of sleep and is essential for children’s health. There are several things you can do to help increase the amount of deep sleep your child gets.
One of the best ways to help your child get more deep sleep is to establish a regular bedtime routine. Going to bed at the same time every night and getting up at the same time every morning helps to regulate your child’s internal body clock. A regular bedtime routine should include a wind-down period before sleep. This is when your child starts to slow down and prepare for sleep. During the wind-down period, your child can do things like have a bath, read a story with you, and listen to calm music. The Moshi app has some amazing bedtime stories and meditations that you can try out. Click here to gain access to the soothing Night Swimming with Yawnsy.
Another way to increase deep sleep is to create a sleep-friendly environment in their bedroom. This means making sure the room is dark, quiet, and cool. You can also try using blackout curtains or an eye mask to block any external light sources. White noise machines or apps can also help create a calm and peaceful environment. Moshi has some calming music to choose from. Click here to gain access to some of this music that could help your child fall asleep and go into a deep sleep.
It’s also important to limit your child’s screen time before bed. The blue light from screens can interfere with your child’s natural sleep cycle and make it harder for them to fall asleep. Try to end screen time at least an hour before bed. If your child needs to use a screen before bed, you can try using blue-light-blocking glasses or apps to help reduce the impact of the blue light. An exception to this rule is to have sleep music or a gentle meditation in the background, through a Bluetooth speaker if possible. It is important to keep the screen away from your child, though, as they might become distracted or go into different apps.
Caffeine is a stimulant and can interfere with sleep. It’s best to avoid giving your child caffeine before bed. Caffeine is found in some sodas, energy drinks, chocolate, and coffee. You should also check the labels of medications your child is taking, as some may contain caffeine. One surprise I received recently is that there is caffeine in kombucha tea. I now make an effort to check the labels of anything my partner’s children eat or drink before bedtime.
One of the best things you can do to help your child get more deep sleep is to encourage them to be active during the day. Exercise helps to tire the body out and can make it easier to fall asleep at night. There are plenty of ways to get your child active. You can try things like playing tag, going for a bike ride, or going to the park.
We have a rule in our home that my partner’s children should be outdoors for at least 2 hours a day to gain 30 minutes of screen time, whether it is a TV show or a game on their device. This seemed like a chore to them at first, but without even knowing it they started to enjoy the outdoor activities more than the shows and games.
These tips are supported by a 2010 study by Galland and Mitchell, which concluded that children will benefit from good sleep hygiene practices, such as a consistent bedtime routine, daytime exercise, and a quiet, dark, and cozy bedroom.
One more idea is to focus on dreams. I dream often and quite vividly, and I would mention what I dreamt about to my partner’s children in the morning. They have recently started sharing their dreams and will often say, “I hope I dream about (situation) next.” This also provides them a reason to want to go to bed and fall into a deep sleep. Try it out and hopefully you can share some exciting dreams with your children!
Galland, B. C., & Mitchell, E. A. Helping children sleep. (2010). Archives of Disease in Childhood, 95(10), 850–853.