HOW TO GET MORE SLEEP – HANDY TIPS FOR PARENTS

Want more sleep? The World Sleep Society is at hand with some ideas on how to get more sleep, for you and your children!

How many times have you quietly competed with anyone about how little sleep you’ve had. You must be the most hard done by, you must be the most tired, no one could have possibly had as little sleep as you.
Well, as parents, we all know that sleep is the holy grail and that we NEVER get enough of the stuff. And the best way to get more sleep is to get the nippers to sleep like babies. Ahem.

10 COMMANDMENTS FOR CHILDREN

Ages Birth to 12 Years
Sleep is one of the most important contributors to your child’s physical and mental health. Good sleep habits, sleep hygiene, or “sleep health” are alternative terms often used to describe sleep promoting practices. The explanation as to why healthy sleep practices promote sleep is likely to be, at least in part, that they work by improving the regulation of sleep, either by reinforcing the body’s natural circadian rhythms (ie, timing of light and darkness), or by increasing the drive to sleep. Other sleep practices help us to associate certain activities (like a bedtime routine) and environments (ie, the bedroom) with sleep. Healthy sleep behaviours also promote sleep by reducing factors in the environment which are stimulating (like caffeine) and increasing relaxation, making it easier to fall and stay asleep.

Finally, good sleep practices include providing an adequate opportunity for sleep based on age and individual sleep needs and an environment that is conducive to good sleep quality and safety.

1. Make sure your child gets enough sleep by setting an age-appropriate bedtime (preferably before 9:00 pm or 21:00 hours) and waketime*.
2. Keep a consistent bedtime and waketime on weekdays and weekends.
3. Establish a consistent bedtime routine and recommend wearing comfortable clothes in bed, including strong absorbing diapers for infants.
4. Encourage your child to fall asleep independently.
5. Avoid bright lights at bedtime and during the night and increase light exposure in the morning.
6. Keep all electronics, including televisions, computers, and cell phones, out of the bedroom and limit use of electronics before bedtime.
7. Maintain a regular daily schedule, including consistent mealtimes.
8. Have an age-appropriate nap schedule.
9. Ensure plenty of exercise and time spent outdoors during the day.
10. Eliminate foods and beverages containing caffeine, including many sodas, coffee, and tea.

* TABLE OF RECOMMENDED SLEEP AMOUNTS
AGE                       SLEEP NEED
3-12 months —-   14 to15 hours
1-3 years —-        12 to14 hours
3-5 years —-        11 to 13 hours
6-12 years —-      10 to 11 hours
12-18 years —-    8.5 to 9.5 hours

In addition to clinical sleep problems, poor sleep habits can cause poor quality sleep in adults. To help improve overall sleep and wellness, World Sleep Society has created the 10 Commandments of Sleep Hygiene for Adults:

1. Establish a regular bedtime and waking time.

2. If you are in the habit of taking siestas, do not exceed 45 minutes of daytime sleep.

3. Avoid excessive alcohol ingestion 4 hours before bedtime, and do not smoke.

4. Avoid caffeine 6 hours before bedtime. This includes coffee, tea and many sodas, as well as chocolate.

5. Avoid heavy, spicy, or sugary foods 4 hours before bedtime. A light snack before bed is acceptable.

6. Exercise regularly, but not right before bed.

7. Use comfortable, inviting bedding.

8. Find a comfortable sleep temperature setting and keep the room well ventilated.

9. Block out all distracting noise and eliminate as much light as possible.

10. Reserve your bed for sleep and sex, avoiding its use for work or general recreation.