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Routine: Important To Help You Sleep

It's never too early to start a baby or child on a bedtime routine. Regular sleep is essential for good health, particularly for growing children. A routine can help to establish good sleeping habits from an early age, which can prove to be invaluable later on. Try some of these tips to ensure your children learn when and how to prepare themselves for sleep, an ability that will be an asset throughout their lives.

Set the Stage for Sleep

Try to establish a fixed routine that prepares the child subconsciously for a good night's sleep. Most people find that achieving a relaxed state leads to drowsiness, so encourage a period of calm some time before the desired bedtime, followed by a warm bath and perhaps a story in bed. Different things appeal to different children, so take some time to discover what works best for your child, whether it's a long and lazy cuddle or quietly listening to some soothing music. This can be a wonderful time for cosy cuddles, stories and chats that allow your child to achieve a wonderfully drowsy and relaxed state that leads to effortless sleep. Experiment with light levels in the bedroom as although complete darkness encourages the best sleep, for children prone to worrying or waking in the night a nightlight can provide soothing reassurance.

Keep Electronics out of the Bedroom

We are all exposed to a variety of electronic gadgets and devices throughout the day. Scientists are only just discovering that the prevalence of electronics in our lives is having a negative impact on the quality and quantity of sleep that we enjoy. Make sure that your children put away all computers, screens and phones for a period before bedtime and keep them out of the bedroom completely.

Fine-Tune and Adapt Your Routine

It's important to be consistent but it's equally important to allow a degree of flexibility when the occasion demands. Holidays could signal the opportunity to bend the rules a little, for example, but try not to disrupt the routine too much or too often or you risk losing it completely. As the child grows, the routine should adapt and change according to his or her changing needs, but try to make changes gradual and organic so that the routine still encourages relaxation and sleep. 

Don't Give Up!

Perhaps the most important rule of all is to hang in there. When you first try to impose a routine, you will meet with mishaps and resistance. You may feel that you are making progress for a while before chaos ensues and you think that you might as well give up. Be assured that your efforts will pay off eventually and you will be rewarded with relaxed, peaceful and sleepy children. Make sure that you don't give in to complacency either, as relaxing the routine too far can result in the system collapsing completely. Parenting is all about being consistent, even in the face of adversity, so remind yourself what a responsible parent you are being and continue organising bedtime according to your set routine.

Post by Archers Sleep Centre, Scotland's leading bed specialist