July – August 2014
Sleep expert, Kirsten Taylor, says, ‘If one person in the house isn’t sleeping then no one is sleeping.’
“When your baby or child isn’t sleeping, not only is it upsetting to see them distressed but it also means that you’re not likely to be sleeping either.”
Kirsten, who is also director of herbal sleep remedy company SleepDrops, says that sleep is a vital component for your child’s mental and physical evelopment. Children who haven’t had enough sleep are more likely to misbehave, become moody and develop behavioural problems such as aggression.
Research shows 20 per cent of children don’t get the recommended amount of sleep needed each night and up to 40 per cent have poor sleep schedules.
“Too many children aren’t getting the recommended amount of sleep and this affects their overall development. But some small changes to a bedtime
routine can work wonders,” says Kirsten.
Top of Kirsten’s list is to limit your child’s exposure to screens before bedtime. She says, “try to prevent use of tablets, mobile phones, televisions and computers at least one and a half hours before bed. This will probably be one of the most effective changes you can make. Instead encourage playtime or games away from any screens.”
“A focus on bedtime and some tweaks to your bedtime routine can help you and your family develop healthy and easy sleeping habits,” ends Kirsten.
Other bedtime activities she recommends are:
- Routine. This is very important for babies and children, try to keep
bedtimes and routines at the same time every night and where possible
include a wind down time – even as adults we need this to prepare
ourselves for bed.
- Have a bath or shower before bed. This helps to regulate body temperature and encourages the onset of sleepiness just before lights out.
- Bedtime also offers a great chance to spend some quality time with your child. Make time to read together or talk about their day.
- Ensure the room is not too cold or too hot and the room is dark and quiet. A soft light in the hallway can be comforting to an anxious child.