Our wired, fast-paced world may be affecting our children’s sleep. Their minds and bodies crave sleep to grow and develop, so we need to help our children receive more sleep. In following hundreds of Preschool children and their sleep patterns, scientists at Northwestern University have discovered much more aggression in those kids who sleep less at night. The study concludes less sleep leads to more behavioral problems by day.
Older children have sleep issues, too. A National Sleep Foundation poll finds that two-thirds of children under the age of 10 have experienced sleep problems at night. Many children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder also find more sleep problems. And research shows lack of sleep may worsen the child’s lack of focus and hyperactivity by day.
We as parents and caregivers can help establish healthy sleep habits. Make sure our children are receiving the 10 to 11 hours of sleep recommended by pediatricians, including naps. Doctors at the Cleveland Clinic recommend establishing a regular calming ritual to help children fall into healthy sleep patterns. Make sure the bedroom or at Daycare is quiet, calm, and comfortable. Keep the room dark, if possible, except for a night light. An hour or more before bedtime, turn off computer games and electronics. As adults, avoid arguing or provoking issues right before bed. A relaxed home does make a difference.
Teach children how to relax with deep breathing and positive imagery while lying in bed. Help them visualize the rays of the warm sun, or the sound of ocean waves soothing them, while doing abdominal breathing. Guided Imagery helps them calm down for relaxation and sleep.
We offer a solution at Heart Talk Now called Sleepytime Dreams. Pilot programs at Preschools and Daycare prove it to be quite effective in making bedtime or nap time stress free for young children. Let the Dream Fairy gently help your children fall asleep feeling loved, safe, and protected.
Wishing you Peace!