Sleep is the most important thing for a child as it gives them time to rest and is vital to maintaining good health. At East Northport Medical Care, we know how tough it can sometimes be for parents and kids to get a good night’s rest. That’s why our northport family doctor has these helpful tips to ensure your child gets the rest they need.
Set A Bed Time
Whether your child is an early riser or likes to go to sleep late the average amount of sleep for a school-age child is between 9-12 hours. Since a child’s sleep habits don’t change much the best practice is to talk with your child to see when they start feeling sleepy and set a reasonable time as their bedtime. It’s also important that you set a wake up time as sleeping longer than normal can lead to a harder time falling asleep.
Create A Routine
Our next tip for our northport family doctor is to create a daily routine right before bedtime. Some things that can be a part of your child’s bedtime routine include light playtime, bathing, brushing teeth, and then getting your child ready for bed. Through repetition of this process, your child might become tired as their bodies realize that sleep is soon.
Reduce Screen Time
When it comes to screen time, we recommend that you shut off your child’s screen, whether it’s a phone, tablet, or video games at least two hours before bedtime. This is mainly because of the blue light in the screens, which prevents the creation of melatonin the hormone that helps us get sleepy. Screen time right before bedtime can lead to your child staying up for an extra 30-60 minutes depending on the length of screen time and the intensity. Our recommendations would be to have your child read or follow some of the recommendations we made in the nightly routine.
The most important thing when it comes to going to sleep is your child’s comfort. If your child isn’t comfortable, then they will have difficulty falling asleep. In order to ensure your child is comfortable, we recommend you follow these tips:
- Keep the room cool.
- Make sure the room is quiet, and if you have to, use white noise to help block out other sounds.
- Reduce the light level in your child’s room by turning off the lights and closing any blinds or curtains. If your child is afraid of the dark, you can place a nightlight.
- A smell can also play a role in relaxing your child and making them more comfortable. We recommend that you use a room diffuser or essential oils.
Some Other Tips
While those were our main tips on how to help your child go to sleep, the following tips are some other things to keep in mind when getting your child to sleep. Both are just as important to help your child get the best possible sleep. Some other tips our northport family doctor recommends:
- Avoid caffeine, especially right before bed
- Avoid eating or drinking a few hours before bed
- Don’t sleep with your pet
- Exercise an hour before bed
- Create a stress-free environment
- Avoid language like “go to sleep now” as it might cause some anxiety
When To See Our Northport Family Doctor?
If your child is still having trouble sleeping and you’re noticing behavior such as frequent zoning out and an inability to focus on school and other tasks it might be time to talk to your doctor as your child might be suffering from childhood insomnia, childhood sleep apnea, or restless leg syndrome. Our northport family doctor specializes in sleep studies and can help you and your child get a good night’s sleep. The following symptoms could be a sign that your child might have a sleep disorder:
- Significant daytime sleepiness
- Frequent or severe snoring or other abnormal breathing during sleep
- Suspected psychological or developmental condition
- Trouble sleeping
- Persistent nightmares
We also recommend that if you notice any odd behavior with your child’s sleeping habits you write them down. That way when you visit it will be easier to diagnose and recognize where the pattern might be.
Schedule an Appointment With Our Northport Family Doctor
If you think your child might be dealing with a sleeping disorder or if you have any other questions about your child’s sleeping habits, please schedule an appointment with our northport family doctor to help them get proper sleep. To make an appointment contact us at (631) 368-9166.