Seven out of 10 children aren’t getting enough sleep, according to the National Sleep Foundation, and this lack of sleep can contribute to behavior issues, crankiness and health problems. It's up to you to teach your kids how to get a good night’s sleep as part of a healthy lifestyle. By developing a predictable bedtime routine right from the get-go, your children will feel more relaxed and secure, which helps them drift off to dreamland peacefully. These ideas will help the entire family get a better night’s sleep:
Because a newborn just came from an incredibly loud womb, playing white noise can help him fall and stay asleep. Babies are put to bed early when the family is still active, and sudden noises can startle him awake. White noise helps to calm and destress a newborn. Try the White Noise Baby app that includes looped ambient sounds like a Doppler ultrasound of the womb, a hair dryer and classic conch shell sounds. It also has a baby monitor that reactivates the timer if crying is detected.
Infants Over 3 Months
Hopefully, by about four months old, your little one is getting a majority of his sleep at night along with a few naps during the day. This is a good age to get a routine going. Schedule regular naps and set a bedtime. Pediatric sleep specialist Dr. Jyoti Krishna told Parents.com that parents should rely on the three Bs to signal that sleepy time is approaching: bath, books and bottle.
Put babies who are past the swaddle stage in a soft and cozy wearable blanket such as a zzZipMe Sack from SwaddleDesigns. Babies can't kick their covers off, so they stay comfy all night long. SwaddleDesigns makes sleeping sacks in the highest quality fabrics with a handy two-way zipper that makes diaper changes a snap.
Turn out the lights. Any type of light can disrupt immune system function and hormone regulation affecting sleep. If you have timid kids who are afraid of the dark, use a nightlight that turns itself off or plug one in the hallway. And soften the edges of how you relate that it’s bedtime — commands like “Go to bed” can cause more anxiety than saying, “It’s night-night time, buddy.”
Continue a routine (it might have changed up a bit since the infant stage), keep the lights out and be gentle with your child when relating that it's bedtime as the kids grow older. Also, ditch the bedtime fruit snacks and combine a small snack of protein and carbs, and you have a recipe for sound sleep. Whether you give them a snack of oatmeal and milk or toast and peanut butter, the amino acids act to make them sleepy.
Teens and Adults
Increase physical activity during the day to help your teenager cut down on computer and TV time, and limit screen time before bed to get better sleep. While the bedroom should be a sanctuary, teens tend to hibernate in there with their electronics. While you probably don’t want to completely restrict technology in the room like you would a TV, at least make a rule of no laptops, tablets or phones on the bed. The same rules for your teenagers should apply to adults.
For all ages, it’s about consistency. Stay on a schedule and stick to bedtime routines and you’ll find that everyone in the house is getting a long and restful sleep. Fingers crossed.