We all know sleep has a big impact on our health and wellbeing and when we don't get enough sleep this has a big effect on our ability to concentrate and remember things as well as ward off sickness and keep bad moods at bay.
Children need more sleep than adults, as it enables their bodies to repair themselves and grow as well as re-energising them so they are in the best shape possible to tackle the challenges of the day ahead. With them being back at school we've put together some top tips to help make sure your child gets the best sleep possible.
Being too tired stops children being able to learn properly and if they are really overtired they may even fall asleep at school. However, there are times when everyone has difficulty falling asleep, or parents may worry their child isn't getting enough sleep for them to be healthy. Although the amount of sleep needed will vary from child to child, there are guidelines to help from the National Sleep Foundation who say children aged between five and 12 years old should be having ten to 11 hours sleep each night.
To help achieve the recommended amount of sleep, there are a number of tips which can work. A good bedtime routine is a must. Stick to the same time each night if at all possible, with a bath or shower, warm drink and a story before lights out.
These familiar signals that bed time is approaching work well for younger children, or children with more than one home, settling them down and preparing them for sleep. If a child is having problems falling asleep it may be a good idea to remove the TV from their bedroom if they have one.
Experts say the bedroom should only be associated with sleep and a TV or other electronic games their can weaken this association. It's also worth checking that the bedroom is free from light or noise through the night and the mattress and bed are comfortable.
Ideally, for sleep, a bedroom needs to be the right temperature, 18-24c and should be clutter free. If sleep problems persist, try keeping a sleep diary which may shed some light on specific problems. This could record what your child did immediately before bed, did they have an exercise, did they have any sleep during the day, what time your child went to bed and woke up, how long it took them to go to sleep, how many times they woke in the night, how long they were awake for each time and finally if there is anything making your child anxious or upset. A diary may also help your GP or other expert if you feel lack of sleep is becoming a real problem.