Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Guest Post: Helping Your Kid Sleep!

Help Your Child Travel to Dreamsland Faster: Tips for Obtaining the Recommended Hours of Sleep

It's well known that sleep is extremely crucial in ensuring that your child performs well in school—experts suggest that sleep deprivation can heavily influence your child's concentration and retention levels, two abilities that are needed to take notes and past tests. Of course how many hours of sleep your child needs each night will vary upon his or her age. But for some ball park figures, the recommended hours of sleep for each age bracket goes as follows: 3 to 5 years old—11 to 13 hours; 5 to 12 years old— 9 to 11 hours; and adolescents—8.5 to 9 hours. But sometimes trying to get your child to get those recommended hours of sleep is a huge battle. That said, to learn some different ways you get your child to fall asleep faster and get the proper shut eye that he or she needs to function in school (no matter what age) read the tips listed below.

Make a "Sleep" Routine. First and foremost it's important that your child creates a sleep routine—something that he or she does to prepare to go to sleep each night. This can include anything from washing his or her face, hopping in the shower, brushing his or her teeth and then jumping in his or her pajamas 20 minutes before their typical scheduled bedtime for example. The trick is that they need to do everything in the same particular order every night. Eventually your body will become conditioned with the schedule and will send signals to the brain that it's "time for bed" once the routine is in action. This will in-turn will help your child fall asleep faster. * Extra tip: if a shower is included in the sleep routine, make sure that a cold/cool shower is omitted. Cold showers actually make our bodies go into a "cold shock." This agitates our central nervous system, which ultimately gives your child the results you don't want—a new found jolt of energy. Instead, suggest your child takes warm/hot showers. The steam will help relax your child's muscles enabling them to fall asleep more soundly.

Avoid Feeding Your Child Heavy Meals Near Bedtime. According to experts, heavy meals will only disrupt your child's digestive system and make them terribly uncomfortable and unable to fall asleep. A "light" snack that is high in tryptophan (a natural sleep inducing agent) may just so the trick though. Some of these types of snacks include a tall glass of milk, bananas and nuts.

No Stimulants an Hour Before Bed Time. This not only includes consuming caffeinated beverages such as tea and soda or avoiding mild form of exercise that can invigorate the body and mind, but it also includes watching television, playing video games, checking Facebook or even texting —studies show that doing these kind of activities, especially those that radiate bright lights (television and computer screens) will simply just reactive the brain and make it extremely hard to fall asleep. So make sure that your child doesn't do these things within 4 to 6 hours of the time he or she is supposed to fall asleep.

Make Sure Your Child is Dressed in Comfortable Sleepwear. Your child may have a hard time falling asleep simply because they are wearing the wrong type of attire to sleep. He or she shouldn't be wearing something that they've outgrown and is tight and constricting or something that it going to make him or her too warm or too cold throughout the night.

Avoid Naps. If your child is on the younger side then a nap may very well be necessary. However, if you have an adolescent or teen try not to let them nap after school. If he or she has to at least make sure he or she only takes a power nap (which is typically 30 minutes to an hour). It may not seem like a very long time but that’s all the body really needs for a temporary re-charge and this should also enable your child to get to bed at an appropriate time.

Encourage Your Child to Study. Last but not least, if your child still cannot fall asleep after following all of the tips listed above then turn to this last option—tell your child to study. Trust when we say that for most children, cracking open a boring textbook is the fastest way for him or her to visit Dreamsland. Your child's eyes should get heavy within a few pages—and if they don't at least they've managed to squeeze in some extra studying.

Author Bio:

This is a guest post by Nadia Jones who blogs at online colleges about education, college, student, teacher, money saving, movie related topics. You can reach her at nadia.jones5 @