A good night sleep helps your child be calmer, more alert, happier, healthier, and perform better at school. So, don’t let these common sleep myths confuse you!
1. A later bedtime results in a later wake time.
If only we could put our children to sleep later so that the whole family could sleep in the next morning! Although it sounds logical that a later bedtime would result in a later wake time, unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. Sleep is biological and not logical! When you keep your children up later at night they become overtired, which makes it harder to settle at bedtime. Overtiredness can also lead to more night wakings, an increased likelihood of night terrors, earlier wake times in the morning, and shorter naps. The solution? Try putting your child to bed a little earlier and see if he wakes any later in the morning. Just 15 minutes can make a difference!
2. Some children just require less sleep.
Many parents think this is true about their children. Yes, every child is different, but research shows that most of our children are not getting the amount of sleep they require. How do you know if your child is getting enough sleep? A well-rested child is able to wake in the morning on her own in good spirits, is alert and happy throughout the day, and does not fall asleep in the car. It may appear that your child requires less sleep than what is recommended, but the opposite is most likely true.
3. Television at the end of the day is a great way for children to calm down.
While a consistent bedtime routine is very important for our little ones, television and screen time should not be part of that routine. The purpose of bedtime rituals is to cue your child to begin to wind down and that it is time for sleep. Screen time actually does the opposite, which is why it is recommended that all screen time be stopped at least 90 minutes before bedtime (and same is true for adults!). Research has found that the blue light emitted from the screen inhibits the production of melatonin, an important hormone needed to induce and sustain sleep. A calming bedtime routine might include reading, calming music, or a quiet game. So, say hello to “Good Night Moon” and buh-bye to the I-Phone!
4. An energetic child at bedtime is not tired.
If your child looks like he is ready to hit the playground before bed, chances are he has missed his window of opportunity to fall asleep. A second wind is a sign of being overtired and NOT a sign of being too awake to fall asleep. It is important to learn the sleepy signs of your child (and each child is different!) and get them to bed before becoming overtired.
Guest Blog by Renee Wasserman, PT, MPH, founder of SleepyHead Solutions
SleepyHead Solutions is a Family Sleep Institute certified Infant and Child Sleep Consultant. She offers many services including phone, email, Skype/FaceTime, and in person consultations to solve your child’s sleep challenges. Please email her at email@example.com with any questions. You can find out more information on the website and its Facebook.
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