Every parent knows that getting a child to sleep at night can be a struggle. In fact, sleep problems in children have been on the rise in the UK and hospital attendance for children with sleep disorders has tripled in the last 10 years, according to NHS data. A healthy sleep routine is crucial to your child’s development and overall well-being. Little Lucy Willow explains how – “Sleep is as essential as eating and drinking. It keeps you calm, your mind alert and recharges your body to enable you to get up and face each day.” A lack of quality sleep can lead to several health concerns which can have a negative impact on your child’s home life and academic performance. Fortunately, there are many techniques you can try to encourage a healthy sleep pattern in your child. With this in mind, here are some top tech tips to help your child sleep better at night.
Avoid smart devices before bedtime
Research shows that using a smart device like a smartphone before bed can make it more difficult for your child to get to sleep and harm their overall sleep quality. Experts at sleepfoundation.com explain how the blue light emitted by the screens of smart devices can delay the release of sleep-inducing melatonin and increase levels of alertness. This is why people who use smart devices before bed often take longer to fall asleep. For that reason, you should encourage your child to turn off all electronic devices at least an hour before their intended bedtime. This will allow their body to start producing the correct levels of melatonin to support a good quality night’s sleep.
Download a calming app
While most experts recommend against using electronics before bed, there are ways for smart devices to promote better sleep. For instance, there is a great selection of calming and meditation apps that can be downloaded onto devices like smartphones or computers. These apps are designed to promote mindfulness and encourage healthy sleep patterns. Here are some of the most popular apps to aid sleep in children:
● Sleep Hero – This app responds to your child’s crying by playing pre-selected nursery rhymes or calming songs selected by you.
● Sleepy Sounds – This app plays soothing sounds on repeat and also displays a relaxing animated show to light up your child’s room.
● Nighty Night – This award-winning app tells stories of what farm animals do at night. The app finishes with all of the animals going to sleep and encourages your child to do the same.
● Sleep Meditations for Kids – This app uses a combination of story meditation and soothing music to promote quality sleep in children.
Monitor your child’s sleep
There is a variety of technology on the market that will allow you to monitor your child’s sleeping patterns. One of the most popular ways to monitor sleep is by wearing a fitness tracker like a Fitbit. These devices are worn on the wrist overnight and provide a detailed analysis of your sleep quality including hours slept, times that you were woken throughout the night, etc, direct to your smart device in the morning. If your child does not want to wear a physical sleep tracker, then you should consider downloading an app like Sleep Cycle. This app uses your mobile phone’s microphone to monitor your child’s movements as they sleep. While this may be less accurate than a sleep tracker, it can still provide a rough overview of your child’s overall sleep quality.
Take advantage of smart home technology
If you are concerned that your child is experiencing poor sleep due to using smart devices late at night, then you can programme your Wi-Fi to automatically switch off at a certain time at night. This will encourage your family to do nighttime activities that will promote healthy sleep i.e. reading a book or doing a puzzle. You can also use smart home technology to dim your lights automatically, play relaxing music, and adjust your thermostat to a comfortable temperature. This will help to create a calming evening environment that will encourage good sleep quality. You can find plenty of useful advice and tips on how to improve sleep using smart home technology.
Unfortunately, sleep problems are fairly common in children and can lead to several serious health conditions including stress, obesity, and depression. Luckily, there are plenty of ways for you to encourage your child to adopt healthy sleep habits i.e. through avoiding blue light-emitting devices before bed and using a calming sleep app. Advancements in technology have also made it possible for you to monitor your child’s sleeping patterns and automate your home systems to create a sleep-friendly environment in the evening. Use the above tips to promote quality sleep in your household and help your child sleep better.