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How to help your child get enough sleep, especially during the Covid pandemic



Consider the work our brains do throughout the day-thinking, feeling, making decisions and worrying about the safety of our family, friends, and even ourselves. Sleep is the time for our brain to rest.

In order to get enough rest, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends that children aged 3 to 5 sleep 10 to 13 hours a night. Children aged 6 to 12 need 9 to 12 hours; teenagers need 8 to 10 hours. However, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only four out of ten junior high school students and three out of ten high school students have enough sleep.

The lack of adequate sleep is not without a costly price. Studies have shown that lack of sleep can cause problems in the short and long term, including not only cognitive impairment, restlessness, and lack of patience, but also diabetes and heart disease.

Most of our emotional health is also related to sleep, and lack of sleep leads to a downward spiral: mood or anxiety disorders can increase sleep, while lack of sleep can increase mood or anxiety. Our best option is to break the cycle as soon as possible.

I know this is easier said than done, especially in children, teenagers̵

7; looming homework, hormones and college pressure, not to mention their social life, or the lack of social life now. Whether it is a parent or a child, implementing good sleep hygiene habits in the family is the key.

Start with a consistent bedtime

Distance learning, working from home, lack of childcare services, and financial difficulties are some of the reasons why our routines look different today. A good bedtime is one of the most critical parts of sleep hygiene.
Regular night activities (even on weekends) are also the key to establishing good sleep hygiene.
The more consistent the bedtime routine, the more your child’s biological clock can keep running, and the more their brains begin to associate the routine with sleepiness. Having a consistent internal clock also helps to regulate mood, which further improves sleep.

This means trying to make weekend sleep and wake routines as close as possible to workdays. This is difficult, especially for teenagers, whose biological clocks will naturally shift in a way that does not always align with class time in the future. However, the more consistent the routine on the weekend, the easier it is to fall asleep and wake up during the workday on the hardest day in general.

Start to relax at least an hour before bedtime

Perform relaxation exercises at least an hour before going to bed and stay away from the screen. Try to read together, do puzzles and even tell stories for young children. Older children can try to keep a diary or create bedtime habits, such as writing down things they are grateful for during the day. These activities usually prevent us from running in different directions from the beginning of the day.

Do not place the screen outside of bedtime and the bedroom

Studies claim that light pollution damages the sleep of teenagers and may cause mental disorders

The blue light emitted by the screen can tell your brain that it is time to wake up, which is exactly the opposite of what we wanted before going to bed. Not only should children stop using their phones or screens about an hour before going to bed, but it is also best to let them leave the room to reduce the temptation to use them, but also to reduce the light emitted and keep the room completely dark. This means laptops, tablets, gaming systems, and mobile phones.

In my experience, although it is disappointing to lose the phone at first, many older children find that when they put their phone in a bucket on the dining table, they feel liberated, more attentive, and can sleep better. Until they picked up the phone after breakfast.

Create an environment conducive to sleep

In addition to eliminating equipment, the correct setting of the room also plays an important role for you to get a quality sleep. You want it to be comfortable, inviting and safe. Try to keep your child’s favorite stuffed animals, toys, or symbols of soothing things close to their bed. The room should be as dark as possible (blackout curtains can work), and the temperature should be on the cooler side.

Don’t eat or drink an hour before going to bed

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Your body needs a lot of work to digest food, absorb all nutrients and convert these nutrients into energy. You want to avoid this process happening late at night, because certain foods such as sugar can not only provide you with a lot of energy before going to bed-if you don’t wait long enough to go to bed, it may be a recipe for reflux and stomach Department of discomfort.

For older members of the family, caffeine should be avoided as much as possible, not just before bed. Caffeine can affect your sleep at any time of the day, even early in the morning. If you want better quality and deeper sleep, please reduce tea, coffee or caffeinated soda from the day.

Trying to meditate in bed to fall asleep

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If your child wakes up in bed, ask them to try meditation. It can reduce stress and increase chemicals, making you feel relaxed and sleepy. One item that is easy to do is a body scan.

Close your eyes and keep your body still, starting from the tip of your forehead, and then moving down to relax every muscle in your face. Continue to move the entire body down, focus on different parts of the body, and relax the muscles as you “scan” areas in the brain. Many children who have worked with me tell me that they can hardly give in before they fall asleep.

Keep the bed only sleeping

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This is helpful for kids not doing any non-sleeping activities, including doing homework, or even listening to music while texting their friends. You want your brain to connect the bed with sleep, and physical separation will help.

If meditation, counting, or other activities do not work, and your child cannot fall asleep after 20 to 30 minutes, you should get up and try relaxing activities until they feel sleepy and cannot fall asleep again. This can help your brain continue to connect to the bed while staying asleep rather than awake.

Establish good sleep hygiene habits for your child

As with most things related to parenting, practicing your preaching not only enhances the message, but also tells your child what to do. By implementing the same technology as you expect, it becomes a family activity. Choose a family evening ritual, such as no screen reading time after dinner, or guided meditation and follow together.

Watch for signs that your child is struggling

If your child has just fallen asleep and is having difficulty in other areas, such as loss of appetite, poor motivation or low mood or restlessness, then it may be time to see a pediatrician, therapist or psychiatrist to see if There are other things that persist, such as depression or anxiety.

The brain is one of our most precious assets, and like any precious asset, there are many ways to take care and nurture it so that it can do its best. Moreover, it all starts-ends with sleep.

For more tips on getting enough sleep, please sign up CNN’s newsletter series “Sleep, but better”.

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