Children’s sleeping patterns
“In thy sleep, little sorrows sit and weep”, says poet William Blake. Sleeping is important for the very obvious reason that it restores our energy, but also because when we dream, we process the happenings of the day.
It comes as no surprise, then, that children’s sleeping patterns affect their behaviour during the day, as well as their consequent immune system and long-term memory; two factors which are essential for them to be able to do well and obtain good grades.
A bedtime routine is key for a child to sleep soundly during the night. Getting into one might take time and patience from the parents and the rest of the family, but the efforts will eventually pay off. Putting on their pyjamas, brushing their teeth, reading a book and switching the lights off is a good example. A good routine helps reduce fidgeting in bed and a light sleep cycle with possibilities of brief waking.
Schoolchildren usually need from eight to 10 hours of sleep every night, so it’s essential to plan their routine around that time span and not have to waste time getting them out of bed in the morning. That is an unnecessary hassle to go through.
It’s also important not to let the day’s events rattle around the child’s brain for long. If, for some reason, the child is exhibiting signs of anxiety or unresolved issues by the time they go to bed, there’s a great chance of then not getting into deep sleep and having nightmares.
The environmental variables around a child when they are about to sleep can also help establish a positive or negative sleeping pattern, depending on how they are laid out. After the bedtime routine is over, switching off the light and/or regulating the temperature of the room is the most reasonable thing to do.
Not going to bed hungry and avoiding caffeinated products such as iced tea, energy drinks and chocolate up to one hour before bed is also advisable.
Heavy homework and watching TV should ideally be conducted before that one hour of quiet time a child needs to calm down and reflect on what happened at school. Ideal light snacks before bed time include a glass of milk, a piece of fruit or some cereal.
Lastly, if the child experiences an unusual sleeping pattern over an extensive period of time due to autism or any other condition, it is important for the parents or guardian to take them to a therapist or a doctor that may guide them towards the ideal cure.
Lack of knowledge of childrens’ sleeping patterns will keep everyone in the dark, and that should ideally be nobody’s cradle song. School time should not turn into a school daze.