New parents may beg to differ, but starting at about six weeks of age, we develop circadian rhythms that cause us to fall asleep and then wake up again. Judith Owens, MD, Director of Sleep Medicine at Children’s
National says sleep is more than just a behavior.
"We talk about the sort of the pillars of good health being physical activity, and good diet. But sleep should rank right up there as part of that three-legged stool for good health,” she recently told WTOP.
So how do we busy parents do that? Our docs say we should put just much effort into having kids go to sleep on time as we do getting them to school on time.
Here are a few more tips:
Create a soothing bedroom. The best condition for sleep is a cool, dark room, which encourages melatonin production and a drop in core body temperature, which is needed for sleep.
Turn off the electronics. Don’t let children watch TV too close to bedtime. The light can stimulate the brain and potentially cause nightmares in young children – and it interferes with circadian rhythms.
Stick to the routine. Whether it’s a bath, books, songs, prayers, snuggling with a security blanket, or any combination, it’s important to keep it consistent.
Be consistent on weekends. Make sure sleep and wake times are consistent even on weekends. Make sure your kiddo is physically and mentally tired by planning fun activities throughout the day.
Do you have any bedtime routines you want to share?