Nearly 52 percent of school-age children in the U.S. don't get the recommended 9 hours of quality sleep most weeknights, according to research by the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Many kids in the U.S. are dealing with various sleep problems that, if not dealt with, can cause issues like irritability, trouble concentrating at school and home, having trouble waking up, and falling asleep when they're not supposed to.
In the long run, sleep problems in children can also increase the risk of various health issues such as obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, and cancer. As a parent, you must come up with various strategies to ensure that your child is getting the sleep quality and quantity needed to maintain their physical, mental, and emotional well-being.
Maintain a regular daily routine
Children thrive best under conditions where they know what to expect. The same waking time, playtime, nap time, mealtime, and bedtime will make it easier for your child to sleep at a certain time since they know that it's what they're supposed to be doing.
It's also a good idea to have a regular bedtime routine that doesn't last too long and takes place in their room. This should last about 30 minutes and can include a few soothing activities, such as taking a bath, brushing their teeth using an eco-friendly toothbrush and toothpaste, singing a lullaby, or reading them a bedtime story.
Make sure that none of these activities involve television, a smartphone, or any other screen. The blue light emitted from these screens can disrupt your child's sleep/wake cycle making it harder to fall asleep. While at it, you can also ensure that your kids are always wearing sustainable sleepwear that is comfortable and made of eco-friendly materials that won't irritate their skin.
Dealing with orthodontic issues
Studies have linked orthodontic issues to various sleep problems that children deal with. For example, mouth breathing can cause sleep difficulties due to the inability of the mouth to deliver sufficient oxygen to your child's lungs, causing them to wake regularly. Teeth grinding is another orthodontic problem that may cause your child to develop sleep disorders if left untreated.
Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD) can also cause clicking noises and pain in your child's jaw that keeps them up at night. If your child has orthodontic problems, you can book an appointment with an orthodontist in Minnesota to explore treatment options. For example, wearing a mouth guard at night can improve sleep bruxism and TMD. Braces can also prevent mouth breathing by correcting overbite or gummy smile.
Building daytime habits that support good sleep
In many cases, a child's sleep problems are directly related to daytime behavior, which is why you must set good lifestyle habits that help promote a restful night. You can start by ensuring that your kids don't take any caffeinated products such as coffee, soda, or tea, especially in the evening. Pay close attention to napping; although nap needs vary from child to child, try to ensure that your child's nap is not too long or too close to their bedtime.
You can also encourage your kids to engage in more eco-friendly activities during the day that not only helps them become more eco-conscious as they grow up but also will make them tired and ready to sleep come bedtime. Such activities can include engaging in exercise and outdoor games as opposed to sitting in front of a screen all day, planting a garden, and picking up trash as they take a walk in the neighborhood.
Sleep, or lack thereof, can affect your child's behavior and state of mind. But, the good news is that, just like teaching them how to eat or use the toilet, you can train your child how to get proper sleep. All you need is a little discipline and patience to get your child on track to more restful nights.
Written by Sally Collins
About the Author
Sally Collins is a professional freelance writer with many years of experience across many different areas. She made the move to freelancing from a stressful corporate job and loves the work-life balance it offers her. When not at work, Sally enjoys reading, hiking, spending time with her family and travelling as much as possible.
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