HealthSmart

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Tue, Mar 1, 2016 at 12:00 AM

9 Tips for parents to ensure their children get enough sleep

Preschoolers that get the right amount of sleep are less irritable and have better attention spans.

Did you know that Centers for Disease Control recommend 4-5 year olds get 11-12 hours of sleep every night?

If you didn't, you aren't alone.

Lack of sleep isn't just an adult issue. Most children don't get enough sleep either. This can cause a lot of problems for their growing minds and bodies.

Lack of sleep in preschoolers can lead to several side effects, like:

• Irritability

• Mood disturbance

• Daytime sleepiness

• Forgetfulness

• Inattention

• Long-term lack of sleep can eventually lead to early dementia and loss of memory.

If your preschooler has any of these symptoms, they might benefit from a little extra sleep.

Dr. Manganaris of Pulmonary and Sleep Associates of Marshall County knows that getting a preschooler to sleep is no small task. So, he put together a list of tips to help you out.

Tips for helping preschoolers sleep better:

1. Keep the same sleep schedule seven days a week. 

Having a regular sleep schedule keeps their internal clocks set and reinforces a consistent sleep rhythm.

2. Have children exercise daily for at least 30 minutes.

That way their bodies tired by bedtime.

3. Don’t go to bed hungry.

A grumbly tummy will make it hard to fall asleep.

4. Have one hour of quiet time before bed.

So when it comes time to go to sleep, their minds are relaxed.

5. Establish a bedtime routine.

Knowing what comes next is comforting, plus after a while it conditions their bodies to become sleepy during the routine.

6. No caffeine.

No brainer!

7. No phones, TVs or computers in the bedroom.

Light from electronics can get children's sleep hormones out of whack.

8. Don’t use the bedroom as a punishment.

The bedroom should be a comforting space.

9. Children should have their own sleep space.

No distractions!

If you've tried everything and still have trouble getting your preschooler to sleep, they could have a sleep disorder. Visit Marshall Medical's Sleep Disorders Center for more information on sleep disorders and an at home assessment. Or contact them at (256) 894-6850 to set up a consultation—no physician referral is required.

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