Training our Young Brains to Develop Healthy Sleeping Habits

Sleeping is an everyday ritual that is essential to our daily lives; without the right amount of sleep we are unable to function effectively.  From a very early age we begin to form sleeping habits and patterns.  These are the habits that we will take through to our adolescent and adult years so it essential that we encourage and train children from a young age of how to have good sleeping patterns and be effective sleepers.

We are all aware of the benefits of getting a good nights sleep.  Not only do you feel more alert and are able to tackle the day ahead but good sleep provides many health and well being benefits too.  Getting a good nights sleep and having a regular sleeping pattern will help regulate children’s metabolism.  Training children to sleep will improve brain function, memory, and concentration.  It also reduces the chances of developing depression as naturally they will be in a better mood.

Our bodies need sleep.  Sleeping is the time when our bodies are able to physically rest and our brains have the chance to make sense of the day and reboot.

How do we train our young to be good sleepers so they continue to be effective adult sleepers?
Developing good sleeping habits is a learned skill and we need to train children from a very young age ‘how to sleep’.  Like anything, the more it is routine, the more likely it becomes part of daily life.  Consistency is the key when it comes to training our young to sleep.  Children benefit greatly from having a structure and routine when it comes to sleep times.

It is suggested that school aged children and adolescents need between 10-11 hours of quality sleep each day.  These hours allow their bodies and brains to grow and develop, preparing them for the next day so they are ready to perform at their best in school, on the sports field, or life in general.

Adults need to take the lead when it comes to training children how to sleep.  They need to be consistent and strong in their approaches.  Here are some suggestions where adults can help train our young brains to sleep:

  • Ensure your child’s bedroom is a calming and an inviting sleeping environment: comfortable bedding, nice temperature and in a quite place.
  • Children respond well to routines and familiarity, this is the same for bedtime.  Starting a bedtime ritual when children are very young is a great way of encouraging good sleeping habits that they will take into later life.  This may involve bath, teeth brushing, reading, then going to bed at the same time each night.
  • Make bedtimes a calm time rather than a stressful time.  Adults need to model and promote a peaceful environment before sleep times; children will find it hard to rest when they are feeling tense and anxious.
  • Ensure children have had a healthy balanced diet and they drink plenty of water so they stay hydrated during the night.  It is advised they don’t consume sugary or caffeinated food and drinks before bed.
  • Children need time to wind down before bed, so reading a book or discussing what they did that day will help them to relax rather than playing computer games or watching television in bed.
  • Participating in sport or daily physical activity will also help children to sleep better at night.

We believe in setting up good habits and the habit of being able to sleep effectively is one that is worth investing time and energy for your child’s physical and mental health and happiness.

Emma Firth (Intern)
Get in contact with one of our team if you’d like to talk to us about the importance setting up good habits for mental health and happiness.