04 Mar Good Night, Sleep Right!
The phrase “sleep like a baby” seems like an oxymoron to most parents of newborns. Yet, many people are not aware of how often sleep disturbances affect the home life for parents of children much older as well. With National Sleep Awareness Week taking place March 6-13th, I would like to shed some light on the issue of sleep concerns related to children. Sleep issues can cause a host of problems for children involving their mood, behavior, memory, concentration, safety, and reaction time. Hence, not only can home life be disrupted but school as well.
Signs of Sleep Problems
Snoring or irregular breathing while sleeping
Difficulty falling or staying asleep
Difficulty staying awake during the day
Unusual nightmares or sleep walking
Unexplained poor performance during waking hours
Suggestions for Parents
Establish a regular and consistent bed time and stick to it.
Create a relaxing routine that is similar to a spa experience.
Adjust the lighting, noise level, and temperature of the room for comfort.
Turn and keep off electronics an hour before bedtime.
Avoid caffeine six hours before sleeping and big meals close to bedtime.
Put your child to bed before falling asleep and don’t get into the bed.
I hope you find these tips helpful. If your child regularly struggles with sleep, consider consulting with your pediatrician or an occupational therapist to develop a plan for your home specific to your child. There are many alternative options including sleep apps, specialty pillows, and books that may be worth the cost if you can gain sleep for you and your child. Have a playful day!
Amy Baez, MOT, OTR/L
Amy Baez is a pediatric occupational therapist, award-winning handwriting author, and Founder of Playapy. For more information about Playapy services and products, visit www.playapy.com or email [email protected].