Sleep is as important as nutrition! When kids get the sleep they need, they may have a lower risk of becoming overweight and developing diabetes as well as fewer learning problems and attention issues. New research explains how vitamin ZZZ may help children fight obesity, avoid colds, and succeed in school. It's when the body repackages neurotransmitters, chemicals that enable brain cells to communicate.
Every living creature needs to sleep. Sleep is especially important for children as it directly impacts mental and physical development. It is the primary activity of the brain during early development. Circadian rhythms, or the sleep-wake cycle, are regulated by light and dark and these rhythms take time to develop, resulting in the irregular sleep schedules of newborns. The rhythms begin to develop at about six weeks, and by three to six months most infants have a regular sleep-wake cycle. By the age of two, most children have spent more time asleep than awake and overall, a child will spend 40 percent of his or her childhood asleep.
Sleep is more important than you may think! Can you think of a time when you didn't get enough sleep? That heavy, groggy feeling is awful and, when you feel that way, you're not at your best.
So, if you're not too tired, let's talk about the best way to design a sleep friendly bedroom for your kids.
Choose Calming Colors
Look for soothing, muted wall and bedding colors for children’s bedrooms, and settle on only one or two complementary accent shades for accessories and décor.
Blue – Having the opposite effect of red, blue decreases feelings of anxiety and aggression and lowers blood pressure and heart rates. Children who experience tantrums or other behavioral problems may appreciate the soothing effects of a blue room.
Green – his calming, natural color has a soothing impact on a child. Scientists have also found that green may improve a child's reading speed and comprehension. There's no need to keep this anxiety-reducing color to a minimum.
Yellow – associated with motivation and happiness. Choose a pale shade like lemon, too much bright yellow can induce frustration. It’s better to dot this around the room in accessories and artwork.
Pink – pale pink is calming and will help sending your child off to sleep. Although it's usually associated with typical girly spaces, pink has a calming feel that can translate to both sexes. Any child can grow out of too much pink quickly, though, so try pairing pink artwork, accessories and textiles with a neutral background.
Blackout shades or curtains
Dr. Marc Weissbluth, a pediatrician and author of Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child, warns parents that sleep problems can make kids “less mentally alert, more inattentive, unable to concentrate, and easily distracted.” Bright lights, including electronic gadgets, can trick the brain into thinking that it’s daytime, making it harder to fall asleep. To block streetlights, you can install blackout shades or a curtain. Blackout curtains are best, but if you’ve already bought drapery, try blackout curtain liners to attach to your normal panels, darkening blinds, blackout fabric, or in a pinch, painters tape and dark garbage bags will do the trick. When you’re traveling, you can buy darkening shades with suction cups that attach to any window.
Cool down temperatures for sleeping
You’d be forgiven for expecting a super-cozy, warm room to be ideal for a good night’s sleep. But research shows us that cooler temperatures (between 60-67 degrees) are best for good quality snoozing. Body temperature dips at night as we prepare to sleep so by mimicking that dip externally, we help our internal thermostats reach the optimal sleep temperature quicker. By keeping the room temperature consistent, we help keep our body temperature consistent and that makes for glorious, uninterrupted sleep.
No more stuff in the bedroom!
For an adult, having stacks of papers and piles of clothes in the bedroom can make it harder to relax; a child’s bedroom strewn with Legos, doll clothes, or homework feels the same. Sleeping spaces are for sleeping—if they make us think too much of activities and obligations, the calming association is weakened. Keep only the toys your children really play with, and have good storage bins to put them away for nap and bedtime. Invest in some clever bedroom storage to conceal clutter and keep things organized. It needn’t be super-fancy or expensive storage but well thought out storage makes getting rid of toys, games, homework etc. before bed quick and easy.
Peaceful white noise
White noise sounds are steady, unobtrusive, relaxing sounds, such as rainfall, ocean waves or a mother’s heartbeat. White noise can help many babies to relax and fall asleep more easily – and stay asleep longer. Here are four reasons why white noise works to help your child sleep. A low or moderate volume is best, because little ears and developing brains are sensitive—we don’t want to overwhelm them with a loud, static noise, just a low, natural, and soothing one.
Be Careful with Nightlights
Nearly all children will go through at least one phase of being afraid of the dark. The age-old remedy for this is, of course, a nightlight. But nightlights have changed for the brighter, especially since the invention of LED bulbs. You want to add the lowest amount of light possible to ease your child’s fear, without interfering with sleep quality. Consider other options, like decorative string or rope lights to add just the desired touch of light to the room.
Give your kid a hugging blanket
Kids love a comfort object, such as a favorite stuffed animal or, maybe, their favorite cozy blanket. Did you know that a weighted blanket simulates a hug feeling? That’s why we can call it hugging blanket. These are one of the latest sleep trends among adults and kids for snagging some extra Zsss. The blanket’s pressure is evenly distributed across your body, which some research suggests can provide anxiety and stress relief for those with sleep problems. The feeling of a weighted blanket is similar to that of being hugged or held, which is why weighted blankets have been used for years in occupational therapy, particularly for kids with autism. If your kid or teen is suffering from stress, anxiety or insomnia, a weighted blanket could be a natural way to help them sleep better.