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Good Sleep Habits For All Children

by Sue Hubbard, M.D.

While we have been discussing infants sleep habits, a good night’s sleep is equally important for children of all ages. It is important to focus on the sleeping half of children’s lives, and the sleep habits of children have a direct impact on the adults who care for them.

By starting off with good sleep habits in babies and teaching them how to sleep you will hopefully be blessed with a good sleeper, but many children will continue to have intermittent sleep issues.

Bedtime should be a pleasant part to the end of a busy day. As it gets dark your body secretes melatonin to signal the end of the day and the rest phase of our circadian rhythms. If you get overtired, your body secretes the hormone cortisol, to give you an energy burst, which may further contribute to bedtime problems. In other words, get your child to bed while still in the sleepy phase!

Have a set bedtime and bedtime routine for children of all ages. Even teens require nine to 10 hours of sleep, so they should have a bedtime too. A good night’s rest also contributes to your child’s overall physical and emotional health. They will perform better in school, have less mood disturbances, and even experience less minor aches and pains like headaches and stomachaches. Wind down your evening with music, reading or a relaxing bath. Begin to dim the lights while getting your child to bed, as bright lights will signal the brain to stay alert so this will include turning off the TV and computer.

Once every one gets into a good routine, maintain the habit. Good sleep habits are good for the entire family.

That’s your daily dose, we’ll chat again soon.

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