Sleep Hygiene 101
Using good habits for better sleep – Guest Post
Sleep hygiene refers to the routines or habits that encourage a more restful and restorative sleep. Simply by following good sleep hygiene, you can ensure a better sleep for your child.
Here are some basic sleep hygiene tips to help keep bedtime positive and pleasant:
• Naptimes, bedtime and wake times should be at approximately the same time each day. Even weekends.
• Avoid television, computers, iPads and other electronic devices at least an hour before bed. In addition to being engaging and stimulating, the light emitted from bright screens can have a sleep suppressing effect.
• Have a light snack in the evening. An empty stomach can interfere with sleep as can a large meal.
• Make room in the schedule for bath time before bedtime. A hot bath will raises body temperature, but it is the drop in temperature that may help them feel sleepy.
• Ensure a dark bedroom. Any light can decrease the amount of melatonin your body naturally produces. Melatonin is a hormone which does many things including regulating your sleep-wake cycles. A low wattage nightlight is ok.
• Use sunlight to set your child’s biological clock. When it’s your child’s time to rise, draw back the blinds, let the sun in and have breakfast in a well lit area of your home.
• Ensure active play, preferable outdoors, is a part of your child’s daily routine. This has less to do with physically wearing out your child, but more to do with having a clear distinction between wakeful times and sleep times.
These suggestions are relevant for older babies through to adulthood.
Healthy sleep is often about starting out on the right foot. Parents and caregivers can help create a situation for children to be successful in transitioning from busy, wakeful times, to calm, peaceful sleep.
Dr. Jennifer Castle is a Naturopathic Doctor with a passion for helping people reach their optimal health level. She firmly believes that naturopathic medicine is about becoming an active participant in one’s own health as well as becoming aware of how the body is affected by our thoughts, emotions, physical stressors, food and environment. Jen takes an individualized approach with each of her patients.
Jen enjoys running, weight training, yoga, and commuting on her bike. She has completed several 5k’s, 10k’s, and half marathons and is still trying to improve her fitness level. Jen loves being a wife and mom and currently her favourite pastime is singing Wheels on the Bus to her daughter.
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