A good night’s sleep is important not only for adults but children as well. Having a peaceful good night’s sleep improves the health and growth of baby. It is important to develop healthy sleep practices start from the birth of baby.
Not having a good night’s sleep affects the mental and physical health of kids. Kids do not feel active during the day time and experience distress and remain uncomfortable. They appear dull no matter how vivid and vibrant looking nerdy baby onesie you put them on. Having efficient amount of sleep improves the quality of life. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine published a consensus statement regarding Recommended Amount of Sleep for Pediatric Population. In this research study they have given the number of hours a kid should sleep at different stages of life till their teenage including day time naps and night time sleep.
The chart below shows the recommended amount of sleep for kids.
Infants (4 months to 12 months)
12 to 16 hours per 24 hours
Toddlers (1 year to 2 years)
11 to 14 hours per 24 hours
Kids (3 years to 5 years)
10 to 13 hours per 24 hours
Children (6 years to 12 years)
9 to 12 hours per 24 hours
Teenagers (13 years to 18 years)
8 to 10 hours per 24 hours
To ensure that your baby gets above mentioned amount of sleep here are top 10 tips for settling their sleep hygiene.
Set Bedtime Routine
Set a bedtime routine that starts almost at same time each day. It improves healthy sleep patterns. It can include drinking milk, taking bath, changing their stylish baby clothes, putting on comfortable baby pajamas, story time in bed. Going through same routine every night make them feel relaxed and sleepy. A fixed bedtime routine helps them fall into deep sleep with comfort and ease.
Set Sleep and Wake-up Times
Setting up a fixed sleep and wake up time improves sleep hygiene. Keep an appropriate bed time and wake up time within 1 – 2 hours every day. Fixing a routine time helps improve regular sleep pattern. Make your school going kids follow the same time not only during week days but on weekends as well.
Set Comfortable Environment
Set a comfortable sleepy environment in kids’ room. Make sure the room is noise free and lights are appropriate to make them fall asleep. Peaceful environment of room is necessary for a good deep sleep. Use dim fairy lights and light relaxing music to make the room environment sleepy and comfortable.
Set Meal Times
Set a healthy eating routine for your baby. A good breakfast helps start your baby’s body clock into a set pattern. Make sure they eat their last meal in the evening 2 to 3 hours before going to bed. Start their bedtime routine by giving them milk. Going to bed with either full or empty tummy can make them uncomfortable.
Make Your Baby Relax
It is important to make your kids relax before sleep time. Relaxing helps your baby fall asleep comfortably. Babies feel relaxed while listening to a story or lullaby. Older kids can read a story by themselves or listen to light gentle comforting music before falling into deep sleep.
Make Them Feel Safe
Make sure that your kid is not afraid of anything. If they are scared of nightmares then listen to their dreams and tell them you are always there and have their back. Or you can put a dream catcher in their room if that makes them feel safe. If they are afraid of sleeping alone in the dark room then buy them a comfort toy and tell them it’s there to guard them. Make their room dimly lit and don’t turn off the light. Make sure they are not watching any scary cartoons, movie or playing any scary video game before going to bed.
Make Them Get Natural Daylight
Make sure your kid is getting plenty of natural day light especially in the morning. The bright day light suppresses the melatonin hormone which helps them stay awake and active during the daytime and sleepy when it comes to bedtime.
Keep Them Away From Screens
The light emitting from TV, Computer or mobile screens stimulate the brain hence disturb the sleep. The lights emitting from electronic devices suppress the production of sleep hormones (melatonin and serotonin). It is recommended that do not let your use mobile, tablet or computer or watch TV at least two hours before bedtime. Make sure to make their bedroom a screen free zone.
Keep Them Away From Caffeine
Caffeine can delay the timing of your kid’s body clock and can have a disturbing effect on your baby’s sleep patterns. Cola, Chocolate, Coffee and energy drinks contain caffeine. Make sure your kid is not having any of this in late afternoon or in evening to avoid any disruption in their sleep pattern.
Keep Day Naps Short
Short day naps are important even for adults to stay active and relaxed. Infants, Toddlers and babies of age 2 to 3 can have longer day time sleep but make sure it’s in early hours of day and is not later than late afternoon. But for school going kids a 30 minute nap in early afternoon is enough.