Adequate sleep is important for health and well being at every age but getting babies and toddlers to sleep can sometimes be a very daunting task! Issues can arise at any age whether they are waking too often through the night, getting up too early in the mornings or having trouble napping during the day. Putting them to bed in an environment that minimises stimulation and encourages sleep can help your child to fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer.
Babies, children and adults all sleep differently. The amount of time we spend in light and deep sleep varies depending on age. Babies are biologically programmed to sleep more lightly and wake more often than adults.
On average, a young baby needs around 14 to 15 hours of sleep over a 24-hour period. Toddlers need around 10 to 12 hours sleep per night and still need a morning or afternoon nap until at least around the age of two and a half to three years.
Insufficient sleep causes problems. Young babies may have trouble feeding properly or finishing their feeds if they are tired. They become over-tired very quickly which can make falling asleep and staying asleep harder. Older babies and toddlers may be more difficult to handle, since tiredness often translates into crankiness and tears. Your child’s sleeping routine at night can be severely disrupted if they don’t get enough sleep during the day.
Babies and young children sleep from necessity, unlike teenagers who will sleep for hours for pleasure! Children want to be awake and interact with the world, they will stay asleep only as long as their brains remain at rest and unstimulated.
When trying to establish healthy sleeping habits in your child, it’s important to look at their surroundings. You need to consider anything that could keep them from falling asleep or wake them up prematurely including the room temperature, sounds and lights.
The ideal room temperature for sleeping is between 20-22 degrees. Being too hot or too cold often results in shortened nap times or a disrupted nights sleep. So always put your child to bed in comfortable, weather appropriate clothing.
Very young infants are unable to retain their own body heat so it’s important to keep them warm enough, especially when the room temperature is low.
Bedding should be be age appropriate, younger babies sleep better on a firm mattress while toddlers can be introduced to the comfort of a pillow and blanket. Keep in mind that many babies tend to move around in their cots while they sleep, so whether it’s cold outside or you have air conditioning on during Summer months, consider dressing them in clothing that will keep them warm in place of a blanket.
Also make sure your child is in a fresh nappy and not hungry, thirsty or has some other physical discomfort that could disrupt their sleep.
Beds should be free from all toys. Consider taking mobiles away from cots which can inspire play or engage a baby visually.
A child’s desire to play and roam around the room increases as a child’s mobility and curiosity increases. Be mindful of this if your toddler gets up in the middle of the night to play.
As they grow many babies become light sensitive waking very early in the morning, having unsettled day time naps or refusing to sleep altogether.
Melatonin is the hormone produced by the human body that makes us fall asleep. The release of Melatonin is influenced by the amount of light registered by the eyes. The darker the room the more melatonin our brains produce and the faster we can fall asleep. Babies’ and kids’ eyes are more sensitive to light than adults’ are, so their melatonin levels are more strongly affected by light exposure.
Ensure you have adequate window coverings to block out sunlight during the day. Also consider other sources of light coming into the room such as the glare from a baby monitor or hall light coming under the door.
Keep all screens out of the child’s room. This means no iPads, TV’s, or smart phones. Artificial light exposure before bedtime stimulates a child’s brain and suppresses the release of Melatonin.
Try dimming the lights as you get them ready for bed. By darkening the room, you reduce the amount of stimulation around your child, which will help calm and settle them. A darkened room also tells your child that it’s time for rest.
Just as with adults, babies and toddlers can be sensitive to noise. Children can sleep with some noise but are often woken by loud or sudden sounds.
If you find that sudden noises wake your baby, you could consider a sound machine. These machines do not need to be turned on loudly. Make them loud enough to dampen any noises that can come from the environment. A fan can double as a sound machine.
A quiet room can help your child to settle and fall asleep much faster.
Creating an ideal sleeping environment for your baby will help encourage healthy sleeping habits. By controlling the temperature, light and noise in their bedrooms you can eliminate those factors which sometimes cause difficulty falling asleep or premature waking.
Too much sunlight entering a bedroom window can be a big contributor to sleeping issues.
A window that faces into the morning sun is often the cause of very early waking in babies and children. Even heavy curtains and blinds can be no match for the direct sunlight that streams in around the edges.
OzShut Roller Shutters are installed on the outside of a window frame and when fully closed are capable of blocking out even the brightest morning light! With 100% control over the amount of sunlight you let into the room Roller Shutters are also ideal for day time naps.
Most of the heat that enters or escapes from your home happens through the glass of your windows. In Summer months, bedrooms that receive direct sunlight are often uncomfortably hot, during both the day and night. Throughout Winter rooms can be extremely cold, especially in the early hours of the morning when minimum temperatures are reached.
All OzShut Roller Shutter slats are filled with an insulating material called Polyurethane. This allows them to reduce the transfer of heat in or out of your home by up to 90%!
A child’s bedroom with a Roller Shutter installed on the window will stay much cooler during Summer and noticeably warmer through the winter. As well as saving you on the energy costs of air-conditioning and heating.
Being able to keep their bedrooms at a comfortable temperature will allow for a more peaceful and hopefully longer sleep.
The insulation inside the Roller Shutter not only prevents the transfer of heat, it will also stop noise travel by up to 50%. By blocking out neighbourhood sounds and traffic OzShut Roller Shutters can help your child sleep longer in the mornings and prevent disrupted naps from sudden outside noises.
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