If you or your children are tired or cranky during the day, it’s time to make some changes. In observation of the annual Sleep Awareness Week, Jamie Travis, PhD offers some strategies parents can encourage for a good night’s sleep for the whole family.
“Our environment can impact how we sleep,” said Dr. Travis, a pediatric psychologist at Akron Children’s Hospital’s Pediatric Sleep Medicine. “We sleep best when we sleep in the same location each night and our sleep space is dark, quiet and a comfortable temperature.”
A sleep routine is important, too, she says. “Make sure you have a consistent bedtime ritual that is screen-free, lasts 30-60 minutes and moves children from public spaces – like the living room or kitchen – to the bathroom and then bed.”
One of the best ways to make sure children get a good night’s sleep is to insist on separate rooms for them and their personal tech. First and most obvious is that electronic devices provide endless stimulation. Less obvious is that screens emit blue light that suppresses melatonin, a hormone that regulates the sleep-wake cycle.
Want to reduce screen time at bedtime? Dr. Travis suggests substituting screens with a nightlight (or 2) and playing audiobooks/ bedtime stories through a Bluetooth or smart speaker.
Getting a good night’s sleep lays the foundation for a good day by helping kids better manage their emotions during the day. And, research has shown that a good night’s sleep improves learning and increases attention span.
Lastly, she advises that it is not normal for kids to snore. If your child snores on a regular basis and has difficulty with daytime sleepiness, speak with your child’s pediatrician to determine if an overnight sleep study may be useful.
How much sleep does your child need?
- Babies need about 14-15 hours during the day/night! Watch this video on basic tips or read: 5 sleep disorders that may be causing nighttime wakings for babies
- Kids between the ages of 5 and 12 need 10-11 hours of sleep each night.
- Teenagers need an average of 9 hours of sleep each night to support good mental/ emotional development, learning and physical health.
Learn more about Akron Children’s Pediatric Sleep Medicine.