The Key to Sweet Dreams is to be Kind to People During the Day

wednesday-wisdom-9-13-fb-no-text

There is nothing better after a long day then pulling back the sheets of your bed, tucking your feet in under the covers, and fluffing up your Pillow Pet for a good night’s sleep! We all know sleep is important but let’s look at what goes into a night’s sleep.

The National Sleep Foundation (NSF) is dedicated to improving health and well-being through sleep education and advocacy. “For children, a good night’s sleep is essential to health, development and performance in school,” said Kristen L. Knutson, PhD, University of Chicago. “We found that when parents take action to protect their children’s sleep, their children sleep better.”

The NSF recommends that children ages 6 to 10 get 10 to 11 hours of sleep per night, and that children in the other three age groups get 8.5 to 9.5 hours per night.

Preschoolers typically sleep 11-13 hours each night and most do not nap after five years of age. As with toddlers, difficulty falling asleep and waking up during the night are common. With further development of imagination, preschoolers commonly experience nighttime fears and nightmares. In addition, sleepwalking and sleep terrors peak during preschool year.

School aged children aged six to 13 need 9-11 hours of sleep. At the same time, there is an increasing demand on their time from school (e.g., homework), sports and other extracurricular and social activities. In addition, school-aged children become more interested in TV, computers, the media and Internet as well as caffeine products – all of which can lead to difficulty falling asleep, nightmares and disruptions to their sleep. In particular, watching TV close to bedtime has been associated with bedtime resistance, difficulty falling asleep, anxiety around sleep and sleeping fewer hours.

Teens need about 8 to 10 hours of sleep each night to function best.

An important factor in getting a good night of sleep is managing electronics.  Electronic devices are pervasive in modern American children’s bedrooms. Parents report that nearly three out of four (72 percent) children ages 6 to 17 have at least one electronic device in the bedroom while they are sleeping.

Children who leave electronic devices on at night get less sleep on school nights than other children do, according to parents’ estimates – a difference of up to nearly one hour on average per night.  “To ensure a better night’s sleep for their children, parents may want to limit their children using technology in their bedroom near or during bedtime,” said Orfeu Buxton, PhD, Harvard Medical School.

Sleep tips for children as recommended by the National Sleep Foundation:

1.     Make sleep a healthy priority in your family’s busy schedule.
2.     Set appropriate and consistent bedtimes for yourself and your children and stick to them.
3.     Know how your child is using electronics in the bedroom. Create a plan for appropriate use at night and set boundaries about use before and after bedtime.
4.     Educate yourself and your child on how light from electronic device screens can interfere with sleep.
5.     Talk to your child about the importance of sleep for health and well-being.
6.     Talk to your child’s teacher(s) about your child’s alertness during the day. Let your child’s teacher(s) know that you want to be made aware of any reports of your child falling asleep in school.
7.     Remember that you are a role model to your child; set a good example.
8.     Create a sleep-supportive bedroom and home environment, dimming the lights prior to bedtime and controlling the temperature (in most cases, temperatures above 75 degrees Fahrenheit and below 54 degrees will disrupt sleep).
9.     Try to encourage activities such as reading or listening to music before bedtime instead of watching TV, playing video games or surfing the web.
10.  Make sure children’s activities, including homework, can be completed without interfering with bedtimes.

Use your senses to create a calming environment in your bedroom:

Start with a cool room, make your room dark, try for peace and quiet, Surrounding yourself with the scent you like could help you drift off and, in fact, one study found that smells (both good and bad) influence our dreams. Most importantly, keep your room clean and use laundry detergents and other scented products with a pleasing smell, or no smell at all if that is your preference, eat lightly before bed (if at all) and avoid stimulants like caffeine.

Now grab your favorite Sweet Scented Pillow Pet, take a whiff, and drift off to sweet dreams!