Sleep

The Key To Happy Healthy Kids

Getting back into a routine for nursery or school can be tough after the holidays. Research has shown that sleep, especially for children, is vitally important for good health. Sleep expert Mandy Gurney, founder of international child and baby sleep clinic, www.mill-pond.co.uk, shares her tips for parents.

Body Clocks!walking1

Start waking up 15 minutes earlier every day a week or so before school starts, says Gurney. If your kids have been getting up late in the holidays and you suddenly get them up at 7am, they’ll feel like it’s the middle of the night!

Let There Be Light

Light will help wake up even the slowest of morning risers. Light suppresses melatonin – the hormone that makes us feel sleepy. So open those curtains and blinds straightaway.looking-out

Bedtime Routines

Giving your child a consistent bedtime routine is really important. Gurney says wind down time should be no longer than half an hour. And should consist of a quick five minute warm bath followed by a story and dimmed lights before saying goodnight.

Sleepwear

Comfortable nightwear is important - cotton is best. Make sure you check you’ve got the correct tog rating for baby sleep bags and duvets for the season, says Gurney. “We all sleep best in a cooler environment so it’s very important your child does not over heat in the night.”baby-sleep

Sleep Inducing Snacks

Give your child something to eat just before the bedtime routine to pre-empt calls for snacks when they’re meant to be going to sleep. Try giving them warm milk, a banana, oats cereals, wholegrain or turkey – something with natural amino acid which will actually help sleep.

Limit Bedtime Chat

Try not to talk about your child’s day at bedtime as it will activate their mind and make it harder to get to sleep.

Health Benefits

Your child’s health can be negatively affected by not getting enough sleep. Recent research has shown that toddlers not getting enough sleep while they’re developing could be behind in class when they start school, says Gurney. Hyperactivity can also be caused by sleep deprivation and some very mild cases of ADHD could actually be caused by a lack of sleep.675261_59538239

How Much Sleep?

Babies need lots of sleep and by the time a child is two they should have spent 13 months of their life sleeping, says Gurney. This might sound like a waste of time but scientists are uncovering more and more about how important sleep is. “Research has shown that an hour’s extra sleep can raise a child’s IQ                                                                          by two years,” says Gurney.

 

Age

Sleep  needs

Age

Sleep  needs

3

12 hours

9

10 hours

4

11 hours 30

10

9 hours 45

5

11 hours

11

9 hours 30

6

10 hours 45

12

9 hours 15

7

10 hours 30

13

9 hours 15

8

10 hours 15

14-16

9 hours