Healthy Sleep

Article: Why your family needs a healthy sleep schedule - and how to create one

Healthy sleep is critical for healthy living. Its importance is often underestimated and many everyday things we do are eroding this essential foundation for a healthy and happy life.

Children require adequate sleep to grow and function effectively. Insufficient sleep negatively affects a child’s cognitive performance, memory, behaviour and school performance whilst increasing their risk of gaining unwanted weight.

Families play a central role in providing environments that help children acquire healthy sleep behaviours that serve them for the rest of their lives.1

Providing conditions that are conducive to sleep can help ensure children sleep well. Light stimulus from electronic screens, emotional stress, sugary or caffeinated foods and drinks late in the day, can make it difficult for children to fall and remain asleep. Discussions with children around the importance of sleep enables them to problem solve, finding solutions that will work best for them.

Healthy sleep interventions, including sleep hygiene education, can improve sleep quality and duration. It can contribute to reducing Body Mass Index (BMI), decreasing sedentary behaviour and can also help reduce fatigue.

The sleep environment is an important factor in healthy sleep and bedtime rituals are helpful for preparing the body for rest. These can include setting regular sleep and wake times, teeth cleaning, book reading, drawing, listening to stories or mellow music.

The Little People, Big Lives report recommends that families take steps to:
  • Have regular bedtime routines
  • Make bedrooms peaceful places
  • Remove all electronic devices from bedrooms
  • Set bed times and wake up times
  • Keep the bedroom dark, quiet and at a comfortable temperature

Download the full report here and watch the video below to hear from Ada Nicodemou and the Minter family on the practical ways they encourage healthy sleep for their kids.