This story was originally published on September 13, 2019
Is it bedtime yet? Whether the day was calm or busy, a lot of mental and physical energy goes into being and raising a kid. Some days fly by, while others never seem to end. Either way, when the evening rolls around everyone is ready to call it a night to get the rest they need to thrive tomorrow.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, children up to age 5 need between 10 and 14 hours of sleep per day, including naps. But families have to take steps to ensure littles are getting those quality hours in.
An early bedtime is a solid step towards getting enough sleep, but it doesn't stop there. Studies have shown that good sleep hygiene, including establishing a regular relaxing bedtime routine ensures quality rest.
So how do I promote good sleep hygiene in kids?
Getting your kids to go to bed, stay in bed, and fall asleep quickly is the holy grail of the 7 o'clock hour. But, it's not always easy.
These healthy sleep practices have been empirically linked to better quality and more adequate sleep, improved sleep regulation (the transition between sleep and wakefulness), and shorter sleep onset latencies (the amount of time it takes to fall asleep after the lights have been turned off):
- Maintain a regular sleep schedule (even on weekends)
- Establish a consistent bedtime routine
- Have an early bedtime
- Avoid having electronics in the room while falling asleep
- Refrain from caffeine before bed (like soda)
Studies have found that when parents are unaware of how these practices influence their children's sleep, irritability, inattention and misbehavior can follow. It can also lead to the deterioration of mama's mood.
In a pilot study published in the Journal of Family Psychology, researchers found that the quality of children's sleep significantly predicted the quality of mama's sleep, which was found to be a significant predictor of maternal mood, stress and fatigue.
Bottom line: Good sleep hygiene, particularly an earlier bedtime, can improve the quality of life for both kids and moms.