Melatonin ingestion and related hospitalizations have increased in children during the past decade but had the largest increase during the covid 19 pandemic.
Parents should consider establishing good sleep hygiene early on with their children instead of turning to sleeping pills, commonly used for adult insomnia.
Below you will find ways of establishing good sleep hygiene.
What is sleep hygiene?
Sleep hygiene is a collection of behaviors that promote good sleep. It is vital for children to have good sleep behaviors. Many sleep struggles are made worse by poor sleep hygiene. When practicing sleep hygiene, consistency is key. It will take time and repetition to be effective.
Create a routine:
Humanas are creatures of habit. A consistent bedtime routine lets your child's body and mind know that it's time to settle down and prepare for sleep. the routine should last about 20 minutes and consist of three to four quiet soothing activities such as brushing teeth, a warm bath, reading, etc. Bedtime routines provide children with a sense of familiarity and comfort and can start as early as 9 months of age.
Set a bedtime:
A sleep schedule works with your child's biological clock. When established, the child will get sleepy around the same time every night. It's important to keep the bedtime the same on the weekends as it is during the weekday schedule.
Implement a screen curfew:
Mobile devices, TVs, and tablets emit a type of blue light that suppresses melatonin, a hormone that promotes sleep. Children may be more vulnerable to this light projected from the screen. Screen time also stimulates the brain making it harder to wind down for sleep. Electronic devices should be kept out of the bedroom and ideally not used within one hour of bedtime. Consider using the family media plan created by the American Academy of Pediatrics.
For more sleep hygiene behavioral changes, please visit www.sleepfoundation.org