Dr. Robert Oexman is a sleep expert of the Dr. Robert Oexman of the Sleep to Live Institute. He is offering parents 6 tips on how to get kids to sleep. The quantity and quality of sleep kids get directly reflect on grades, memory, energy, and overall health.
- Get electronics out of the bedroom at least 1 hour before bedtime. Sleep texting is sweeping children’s beds across the country and is preventing them from getting the sleep they need. The light from cellphones, tablets etc. slows the production of melatonin which makes it harder to fall asleep.
- Don’t allow kids to have food or drinks high in caffeine or sugar after dinner. While Dr. Oexman advises against having these items after lunchtime — since caffeine actually stays in the body for 12 hours — dinner is the absolute latest time children should have anything sugary or caffeinated. He suggests eating something with carbohydrates instead – like a half a bagel – which increases melatonin making it easier to fall sleep.
- Encourage kids to exercise after school. Exercising between 3 and 6pm raises the body temperature above normal a few hours before bed, allowing it to start falling just as kids are getting ready to go to sleep. This decrease in body temperature helps ease kids into sleep and stay asleep.
- Don’t let children watch TV as they fall asleep or play with other electronics. Dr. Oexman says there should be a “wind down” period about a half hour or so before bed so the body can begin to shut down and prepare for sleep.
- Invest in a white noise machine. Especially for those who live in city areas with lots of outside noise or children who have older siblings that stay up later. A white noise machine out background noise so its easier to fall asleep.
- Don’t let kids stay up late doing homework or studying. The later in the evening it gets, the harder it is for children to focus and retain what they’re studying. It is better to have them do homework when they get out of school so they can absorb the material better and so it won’t cut in on their much needed sleep.