Latest research on kids bedtime habits has resulted in advice that parents should take televisions, computers and mobile phones out of children’s bedrooms as they prevent sleep and harm their performance at school.
And at The Sleep Council, we’re behind this advice. Distractions in the bedroom are at the root of many sleep related problems and with around two million children and young people suffering from sleep disorders in the UK, technology has become a modern day problem and only now are we seeing the impact that it is having on children’s sleep habits.
While a complete ban on electronic devices in the child’s bedroom may not always be feasible, it is possible to zone the areas of room so that there is an ‘entertainment’ zone for fun and play and a ‘sleeping’ zone for quiet and rest.
It’s not about depriving children of these activities but limiting excessive use, in particular in the hours before bed. Children don’t always understand the importance of sleep which is why it is particularly important for parents to set parameters for switching off gadgets and be stricter about enforcing appropriate bed times.
Sleep deprivation causes increased hyperactivity and other behavioural problems, as well as damaging their physical and mental development. Poor sleep habits from an early age can lead to long term sleep problems.
Here’s our top sleep advice:
– Set aside time before bed to wind down properly. This is a perfect opportunity to read with your child, or talk to them about their day.
– Limit the use of the TV, computers, gaming machines etc before bed.
– The bedroom should be free from distractions such as TVs etc and clear out clutter. Make sure it’s cool, quiet and dark.
– Keep regular bedtime hours. A good sleep routine will work wonders.
– Know how much sleep your child needs. As a general rule of thumb toddlers need around 12 hours of sleep a night; children aged four to six – 10.5-11.5 hours; six-12 years olds – 10 hours; and teenagers – around eight to nine hours.