How To Help Your Kids Improve Their Sleep Hygiene
Sleep is a vital part of our health – especially our brain health. For kids, sleep is critically important for their growth and development.
For many families, sleep problems extend well beyond the first few months of life. In fact, sleep is a problem in our society – from kids to adults.
With school starting and fall around the corner, there’s no better time to establish better routines and help your kids improve their sleep hygiene.
Read on to learn more about sleep problems in the United States, why sleep is so important for kids, and what you can do to help them get the best sleep possible.
Why Is Sleep So Important?
Sleep is essential for everyone. It helps you to feel refreshed, restored, and ready to take on the day. More importantly, without enough sleep, your brain can’t function properly and you’re at risk for serious health problems.
Sleep is especially important for kids because they’re growing and their brains are developing.
For kids, sleep can have a direct impact on:1
- Overall happiness
For babies and toddlers sleep can affect their:
- Motor skill development
- Executive function skills
- Memory consolidation
- Growth and development
Sleep is one of the most important aspects of a healthy lifestyle. Kids who don’t sleep will be cranky but there are more consequences to sleep deprivation for kids than you might know.
What Happens When Kids Don’t Get Enough Sleep?
If you look at the statistics or talk to most parents, it’s obvious that we have a sleep problem in the United States. The American Academy of Pediatrics thinks so too. They believe that sleep is a public health problem and found that 73% of high school students don’t get enough sleep and 25% of kids under age five don’t get adequate sleep.1,2
That’s a lot of kids!
As a parent, you know what it’s like to have exhausted kids. They’re cranky and irritable. They don’t eat well and they’re prone to tantrums. The consequences of poor sleep in kids go beyond behavior.
Kids who don’t get enough sleep can1
- Have behavior that resembles symptoms of ADHD
- Have poor academic performance
- Have a lower immune system
- Develop allergic rhinitis
- Have mood problems like depression and anxiety
Since so many kids have sleep problems, research is being done in this area. There is new research that shows the connection between sleep in childhood and the development of type 2 diabetes, obesity, and high blood pressure.3 The study shows that it wasn’t just the amount of sleep but the quality of sleep that was important. The study showed that low-quality sleep in childhood puts people at risk for developing health problems later in life.
So now you might be wondering, how much sleep do kids need? Let’s talk about that.
How Much Sleep Do My Kids Need?
If you’re wondering how much sleep your kids need, you can use the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendations as a guide. The amount of sleep your kids need depends on their age and development. In 2016, new guidelines came out recommending how much sleep kids should get in a 24-hour period. It’s important to note that this includes naps and sleep at night.
Here are the latest recommendations:4
- Ages 4-12 months: 12-16 hours
- 1-2 years: 11-14 hours
- 3-5 years: 10-13 hours
- 6-12 years: 9-12 hours
- 13-18 years: 8-10 hours
This is the current guideline but it’s important to know that this will likely change over time. You can find the latest sleep recommendations at the American Academy of Pediatrics website or ask your child’s doctor about it.
Guides can help give you a general idea of how much sleep your kids should get but it’s important to note that every child is different. If you have specific questions about your child or have concerns about them, talk to their pediatrician.
Now, let’s talk about some ways you can help your kids get the best quality sleep possible.
How To Help Your Child Sleep
There is nothing worse than trying — literally — everything to help your kids sleep and nothing works. When this happens you feel so helpless. The best way to help your kids sleep is to establish good sleep hygiene as early as possible. Sleep hygiene is when you have a consistent bedtime routine and an environment that promotes good sleep.
Some tips for a good sleep routine are:1
- Turn off all screens 1-2 hours before bedtime
- Have a consistent bedtime
- Make sure they’re eating a balanced diet
- Reduce sugar intake, especially within a few hours of bedtime
- Create a sleep environment that is cool and quiet
- Use a sound machine to block out any sounds that may be disturbing
- Use blackout curtains to block out light
- Help kids get enough exercise during the day (so they’re ready for bed at night)
These are all really important recommendations to help your kids improve their sleep. Improving sleep won’t happen overnight and you’ll need to establish good routines and habits for a while before you see the full effect.
Neurofeedback is another tool to help improve your kids’ sleep hygiene. Let’s discuss more about what neurofeedback is and how it can help with sleep.
Can Neurofeedback Help With Sleep Hygiene?
If you’re having problems getting your child to sleep, consider discussing it with their pediatrician. They can do a complete physical exam to rule out any medical problems that can cause sleep disturbances. If needed, they may recommend a specialist.
Neurofeedback is a tool that has helped many families practice better sleep hygiene so they can get the sleep they need. Neurofeedback is brain training that can help your kids feel more calm, centered, and relaxed.
NeurOptimal® neurofeedback is a brain training program you can do in the comfort of your own home. It’s the most advanced, professional grade at-home neurofeedback device on the market.
It’s safe, noninvasive, and natural.
NeurOptimal® promotes improved coping and stress management skills which helps with healthy sleep habits.
Better sleep can help your kids:
- Improve their academic performance
- Increase their mental and emotional resilience
- Help increase neuroplasticity, their brain’s ability to adapt and change
- Improve mood and outlook on life
- Improve executive functioning skills
How Does NeurOptimal® work?
NeurOptimal® monitors your brain’s electrical patterns while you’re listening to music or watching a movie. When the device detects the brain is about to shift in an unstable way it will pause briefly – bringing your kids back to the present moment.
That’s it. This brief pause or interruption in what they’re listening to will help bring them back to the present moment, which helps the brain self-correct. Over time, neurofeedback trains the brain to its most optimal state, helping your kids feel relaxed and calm.
Being able to relax and feel calm allows your kids to peacefully get into bed each night and get a good night’s sleep.
Neurofeedback promotes a healthy lifestyle by making these changes so your kids can learn to improve their sleep comfortably, at home.
With NeurOptimal®, your kids can:
- Brain train in the comfort of their own home
- Feel more rested, energized, and confident
- Tackle each day – awake and well-rested!
NeurOptimal® promotes healthy sleep habits and relaxation to help your kids wake up feeling refreshed.
If you want to help your kids improve their sleep hygiene but you still have questions, that’s ok.
Join our Facebook group: Neurofeedback Moms (Dads are welcome, too!)
We have a great community of parents learning about neurofeedback, supporting each other, and sharing their personal experiences. Here you can get your questions answered.
In the group you’ll get:
- Research-based information to help you make the best decisions for your family
- Live sessions with experts in the therapeutic, neurofeedback, and parenting fields
- Lifetime access to all live recordings – watch at your convenience!
Join Neurofeedback Moms, we’re excited to connect with you inside of the group!
- Children and Sleep. The Sleep Foundation.
- Is Your Teen Getting Enough Sleep?
- Inadequate Sleep As A Contributor To Type 2 Diabetes in Children.
- American Academy of Pediatrics. Sleep Guidelines.
Disclaimer: This site contains information on general health and wellness topics. Please note that Neuroptimal® has been designated a general wellness product by the FDA. The information on this site or in any linked materials should not be construed as medical advice. The information in this article is not intended to replace any recommendations by your physician.