Lets talk sleep promoting routines!

sleep

Why is Sleep important?

a cartoon image of a child sleeping in bed with a black circle outline and the word 'sleep' underneath.

Sleep is just as important as food, shelter and safety.

It allows the brain to recharge and the body to regenerate.

Healthy sleep allows people to function at optimal alertness.

Healthy sleep requires:

  • Sufficient amount (time)
  • Uninterrupted (quality)
  • Natural sleep cycle (circadian rhythm)
  • Age-appropriate naps

Children need sleep to be able to:

  • Remember what they learn
  • Pay attention and concentrate
  • Solve problems and think of new ideas
  • Grow muscle, bones and skin
  • Repair damage and injuries
  • Fight sickness

I know you know this! The next question is how to promote healthy sleeping habits in my child?

You will need to be consistent bedtime routine (bath, teeth, story, cuddle for whatever works for you family).

  • Having a consistent wake up time for children with enough time to ‘wake up’ before placing demands (e.g. getting ready for school).
  • Ensure that there is a consistent bed time
  • Enough physical activity and outside time during the day
  • Reduced screen time before bed (usually no screens within 2 hours of the bed time routine starting)
  • Enough fruit, veggies and water throughout the day

KEY TIP: Have a Dark and cosy room and space that promotes sleep and staying sleep

We use black out curtains in our house – they have been a life saver with little ones. There are lots of the market, and the one we use in our sons room is a Tommy Tippee one that we also take travelling with us!

We also use white noise (for the kids and grown ups!) We have both this white noise machine and I (Tara) use a bluetooth eye mask that has relaxing music to help me to drift off!


Modelling the importance of sleep as a family – means Mums and Dads too. By ensuring that you too are following some/all of these suggestions it shows kids the importance grown ups put on sleep.

To Wrap Up

If your child continues to have difficulty sleeping despite following these tips, it may be time to seek professional help. A Psychologist or Occupational Therapist specializing in sleep can provide further assessment and tailored strategies to improve your child’s sleep.

For more information and resources that might help, visit the Look Hear Australia Sleep Pageand the Sleep Council.

By following these tips and understanding the importance of sleep, you can help your child develop healthy sleep habits that will benefit them for a lifetime.

References:

Mindell, J.A., & Owens, J.A. (2009). A Clinical Guide to Pediatric Sleep: Diagnosis and Management of Sleep Problems. Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics

Moore M, Meltzer LJ. The sleepy adolescent: causes and consequences of sleepiness in teens. Paediatr Respir Rev. 2008 Jun;9(2):114-20; quiz 120-1. doi: 10.1016/j.prrv.2008.01.001. Epub 2008 May 12. PMID: 18513671.

Sateia MJ. International classification of sleep disorders-third edition: highlights and modifications. Chest. 2014 Nov;146(5):1387-1394. doi: 10.1378/chest.14-0970. PMID: 25367475.

Sleep Council. (n.d.). Retrieved from [Sleep Council](https://www.sleepcouncil.org.uk/).

Tara is a Paediatric Occupational Therapist, currently based in North Queensland. She has extensive experience working with children who have individual, additional and complex needs. She has a detailed understanding of early intervention, trauma, trans-disciplinary working, autism, sensory processing, as well as the importance of meaningful occupation.

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