In our fast-paced, busy lives, sleep is often regarded as a luxury. Actually, it’s vitally important to our wellbeing. Sleep is especially crucial for children’s healthy physical, mental and emotional development. According to the National Sleep Foundation, children aged between 6 and 13 years need 9 to 11 hours of sleep a night. However, with the pressures of homework, extra-curricular activities, friends and the need for downtime in the evenings, how often does your child get the quality and quantity of sleep they need?
It is an important question since a lack of sleep can negatively impact your child’s learning, impairing their ability to focus and preventing them from consolidating information.They are at risk of missing learning when their mind drifts in class, and trying to do homework after a tiring day at school becomes astressful experience. Crucially, while your child sleeps their brain strengthens the neural connections that form their memories. If this process is compromised, learning from the day before can be lost.
Luckily, there are simple steps that you can take to help your child get a restful night’s sleep and ensure they wake up ready to make the most of their school day. These tips work for grown-ups too, so the whole family can benefit from better sleep!
Our sleep-wake cycles are regulated by a circadian rhythm which responds to light and darkness. This balance can be easily upset, particularly in winter when we do many of our evening activities by electric light. Creating a routine with set waking and sleeping times for your child can help to restore their natural rhythms.
In the lead-up to bedtime, turn off the television at least thirty minutes beforehand. Mobile phones and gadgets should also be avoided. Instead, taking a bath, reading together or listening to an audiobook are ideal ways to relax your child’s mind and body.Whatever activity you choose, be consistent – your child’s body must learn to recognise the routine as an indication that it is time to sleep.
To better recreate the natural signals that direct your child’s circadian rhythms, invest in aBodyclock or Wake-up Light. These clocksuse light to simulate sunrise and sunset, setting in motion the bodily processes associated with waking and sleeping. By creating near-natural sleeping patterns, and avoiding sudden wake-up calls,these clocks benefit mood, focus and learning.
Just like adults, children have sources of stress that can disrupt restful sleep. To help your child let go of tension and fall asleep peacefully, try deep breathing, mindfulness and meditation exercises. A wealth of guidance can be found online, including on YouTube.
Essential oils can also help to lull your child into a restful sleep. Research suggests that lavender oil has anxiety-relieving properties and can act as a gentle sedative. Use a diffuser or scent your child’s pillow with a few drops to allow them to reap the benefits. Incorporating it as part of your child’s bedtime routine will help them to associate the aroma with it being time to sleep.
Need a little help drifting off?
At Flying Start Tuition, we know how important sleep is to learning. We also believe that helping your child to develop healthy habits around sleeping will benefit them throughout their lives. That’s why we are offering a Philips Wake-up Light and bottle of Doterra Lavender Oil as our top prize in our Christmas competition. Visit our website to find out more!
Flying Start Tuition is an award-winning tuition centre offering classes for children from year one through to GCSEs, including their popular Eleven Plus programmes. They run a variety of holiday courses and workshops and are more than happy to adviseon courses that might be suitable for your child. Classes and courses run attheir main centre in Chesham and at their five satellite centres in Amersham, Aylesbury, Berkhamsted, Jordans Village and Little Chalfont.
Flying Start are Ofsted registered and accept Childcare Vouchers and Tax-Free Childcare. Bursaries are also available – please ask for details.
For further information, contact:
t: 01494 772 898