NC State
Very Important Parents

Sleep is a fundamental part of health as it is involved in memory, emotional well-being, and energy. Those who sleep for a full eight hours are benefiting not only mentally, but their body is allowed to repair. In children, a good night’s sleep is involved in the growing process. Being a college student means that I am constantly running on little sleep. It seems almost impossible for me to get the recommended eight hours with all of the assignments and readings that are due. This leads me to feel sluggish and needing copious amounts of caffeine to make it through the day. Does this sound familiar? If so have no fear I have some tips to help you and your children make some healthy sleep habits.

Have a sleep schedule:

Having a sleep schedule that you follow at least somewhat closely, results in feeling more rested. This would be the timing of when you would be going to bed and waking up, for kids this timing will revolve around parent’s work schedule and school/daycare. A schedule takes about 2 to 3 days for your body to adjust. You can still catch up on the weekend just do not sleep too late or you will mess up your routine for Monday.

Establish a bedtime routine:

To make sure you are shifting into sleep mode establish a bedtime routine to help you wind down after a long day. This could be reading a book, getting dressed for bed, or eating a snack. If reading a story together have the light on dim so that shifting into sleep mode is easier. Make sure that whatever you do that it relaxes you and is not stimulating, such as television shows.

Turn off electronics 30 minutes before bedtime:

When using electronic devices there is blue light given off, which disrupts sleeping patterns. There are apps, which allow you to change the blue rays to yellow allowing for normal sleep cycles. Even with these light changes try to avoid screens 30 minutes before you are trying to go to bed. That way you are not being stimulated right up to bedtime and have time to relax.

Avoid caffeine in the evening:

The effects of caffeine can last 4-6 hours after consumption. This means that 3 o’clock coffee or soda is sticking around until 9 at night. Instead of tossing and turning at night try to limit or avoid your intake of caffeine from the late evening to nighttime. Some items that have caffeine, which you may not think of, are some teas, soda, and chocolate.

Molly Beardslee is an undergraduate student working in research at NCSU in the Department of Agricultural and Human Sciences. She is currently working towards her bachelor’s in Applied Nutrition. She has an interest in the holistic health of children and their families.