Make Children Sleep Better at Night With Sleep Hygiene

Does your child have a hard time getting to sleep at night, or does he often wake up in the middle of the night and have a hard time getting back to sleep? If a child has trouble sleeping at night, he will easily get tired and fall asleep during class lessons. As a result, he will miss a lot of important information about his subjects. Lack of sleep has also long been associated with various serious health problems for future children, ranging from obesity, diabetes, to heart disease. If you don't want your little one to deal with the various negative consequences above, start teaching him a good sleep technique called sleep hygiene. What are the sleep hygiene guidelines for children? Here's the review.

Sleep hygiene guide if your child has trouble sleeping at night

Sleep hygiene is a clean sleep pattern. The meaning of "clean sleep" here is not going to bed in a clean and fresh body condition after bathing and brushing your teeth, but rather adopting healthier sleeping habits to clean up all kinds of disturbances that usually make you sleep deprived or not sleeping well. 

This healthy sleep pattern helps build better sleep habits and makes you more disciplined and consistent in living them, to help improve messy sleep hours and treat sleep disorders such as insomnia. Gradually, sleep hygiene helps reduce various negative effects of sleep deprivation. 

What are the sleep hygiene guidelines if your child has trouble sleeping at night?

1. Consistently go to bed and wake up at the same time

A schedule for going to bed and getting up on time is one of the most important first steps if you want your child to sleep better. If he is used to sleeping regularly, his body will also get used to it. As much as possible schedule bedtime and wake up at the same time every day, even on holidays though.

However, adjust it first with the ideal night's sleep duration for children. The average primary school-age child needs about 9-11 hours of sleep a day. So for example a child needs to wake up at 5 am every day, then you should make sure the child is ready for bed and in bed at 8 pm (+/- 20 minutes). Avoid sleeping too late. 

By adhering to a regular sleep schedule every day, the child's body becomes lighter, warmer, and the hormone cortisol is also released more regularly, giving him greater and longer-lasting energy for activities. 

2. Limit nap time 

Children need naps to help meet their sleep needs in a day. But you have to be careful in managing the length of time, because if your child naps during the day he will feel more refreshed at night and eventually have difficulty sleeping. 

Limit your child's nap to a maximum of 30 minutes, and do it before 3 pm. Even if it's only for a short time, napping can help improve your child's mood, focus, and energy. 

3. Create a special ritual before the child goes to sleep

Take time to prepare for bed 90 minutes before bedtime. For example, if you know your child is supposed to go to bed at 8 p.m., stop any strenuous physical and mental activity such as sports or schoolwork at 6 p.m. - the sooner the better, if possible. 

Use this free time for your child to take a warm bath/bath, drink milk, brush your teeth, or read a fairy tale before bed. A bedtime routine can remind your child that it is time to go to bed. 

Taking a warm bath a few hours before bed can raise the body temperature, causing the child to feel sleepy when the body temperature drops again. Research shows that drowsiness is associated with a decrease in body temperature. 

Also use the remaining time you have to prepare all the needs of the child the next day, supplies to avoid stress due to being overwhelmed in the morning. 

4. Make a bedroom just for sleeping 

Tell your child that the bed is only for sleeping. Do not do other activities in bed other than to sleep. Avoid activities that can make children even more excited before bed, such as playing and watching TV. 

5. Create a comfortable room atmosphere 

Try not to get your child used to using the bedroom for things other than sleep, such as playing or doing homework. Gradually, the child's body becomes accustomed to connecting the bedroom with rest. 

Keep computers, cell phones, TVs, and other electronic devices away from your child's bedroom. Bright rays of light from electronic devices work to mimic the nature of the sun's natural light. As a result, the body's biological clock perceives this light as a signal that it is still morning, and therefore the production of melatonin (a hormone that triggers sleep) is disrupted. 

Make a child's bedroom an ideal place to sleep. The atmosphere of a comfortable, dark, quite, and cool room can help children sleep more soundly. The ideal room temperature for a good night's sleep is around 20-22 Celcius.

Give your child a blanket and his favorite doll near his bed to make him feel comfortable. A hug from you can also make him feel safe and calm.

6. Limit the consumption of food and drinks before bed

Avoid eating large portions before bed. Eating heavy meals, fatty or fried foods, spicy dishes, citrus fruits, and carbonated drinks too close to bedtime can trigger indigestion for most people, especially children. 

Lying down after eating can cause stomach acid to back up into the throat, causing heartburn and a burning throat that makes it easy for children to wake up in the middle of the night. 

Also avoid drinks or foods that contain caffeine such as soda, chocolate, tea, and coffee, especially close to bedtime. The stimulant effects of caffeine can last for several hours even when taken 3 hours before bedtime. In addition to making it difficult for children to sleep at night, caffeine also makes them often wake up in the middle of the night due to anxiety or urinating back and forth.

If your child still can't sleep...

If your child is still not getting a good night's sleep, you can do something to make him sleepy like reading a story book that may seem boring. He will return to bed when he is sleepy. If he still hasn't fallen asleep in 20-30 minutes, you can repeat. 

Another way to help a child who has trouble sleeping at night is to teach him the technique of deep breathing while imagining a pleasant calm scene, such as being in the mountains or the beach. This can help the child to relax more.