1-minute sleep tip: Are your kids sleeping enough?
Updated: Aug 30
The new school year is upon us, so it's a great time to remind ourselves of the importance of our children's sleep.
Are you familiar with how many hours of sleep children need?
Below, we have posted a video that tells you exactly how much sleep you need at different ages.
Now, that you've watched it. Are you surprised? Furthermore, are your children really getting enough sleep?
Here are some tips to help your child or teenager sleep well:
1) Limit Screen Time
Are your children glued to a mobile app's screen? Are they addicted to watching YouTube videos? What about video games or TikTok?
Instead of reading a book with a flashlight, under the covers, many children's eyes are now often glued to either their parents' or their own mobile phones. The constant stimulation and the intensity of light being cast into their eyes contribute to later bedtimes, precisely when they need to go to sleep in order to wake up earlier.
One thing to remember, though, is that if they are ending screen time right before they go to bed, then it is already too late. The reason for this is that the release of melatonin will have likely been delayed by their use of smartphones in the evening. The key is to limit screen time to an hour or two before bedtime, at the very least.
2) Time management
Time management is especially critical for those students who do sports or extracurricular activities. They have to be more vigilant about how they use their time, since they will likely have less of it for schoolwork. Teach them about the importance of setting priorities and then support and encourage them as they learn to follow their planned schedules.
3) Create a sleep routine
Do your children have a sleep routine? One thing to remember is that a sleep routine begins much earlier than a bedtime routine. A sleep routine would include activities that promote good sleep, regardless of the time of day. Creating a sleep routine that your children will enjoy can motivate them to put away their phones and help them to relax before bedtime. Sleep routines also prime the body for sleep through learned associations. For instance, consider having your children play their favourite songs for you in the early evening. It doesn't have to be sleep music. Dimming the lights at home provides for a great visual cue to begin switching from homework or playtime modes to sleep prepping activities.
4) Consistent bed and wake times
Do your children sleep at a consistent time on the weekdays and weekends? Consistency is great for regulating circadian rhythms. This is critical for adolescents who often experience social jet lag, as their circadian rhythms shift at puberty, such that they go to bed at later times.
5) Morning light exposure
For night owls and adolescents, exposure to morning light is very important in helping to advance the circadian rhythm and limiting social jet lag, such that they are able to obtain the number of hours they need to sleep well.