It is of utmost importance that you follow a strict routine when it comes to your little one. Timely meals, healthy diet and proper sleep play a great role in the upbringing of children. Not many would like to believe, but sleep is as important for your child's growth as proper nutrition and well-planned meals.
According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, positive bedtime routines facilitate proper sleep which helps in keeping children fresh, focused and energetic throughout the day. Bedtime routines involve a set sequence of calming activities proceeding a child's bedtime. Such activities may include giving your child a soothing bath, brushing teeth and reading a bedtime story.
Researchers at the Saint Joseph's University, United States, studied the importance of bedtime routines in children and the subsequent effects on their sleep pattern. It was found that children going to bed at a fixed time every night had a much better sleep than those who did not follow a routine. The study involved over 10,000 mothers from 14 countries and was published in in the journal Sleep.
"Creating a bedtime routine for a child is a simple step that every family can do," said principal investigator and lead author Jodi Mindell, professor of psychology at Saint Joseph's University in the US.
"It can pay off to not only make bedtime easier, but also that a child is likely to sleep better throughout the entire night," Mindell said.
Why follow a bedtime routine?
The researchers found that children with a bedtime routine slept for an average of more than an hour longer per night than children who never had a bedtime routine. The positive impacts that increase with the consistency of the nightly routine include earlier bedtimes, shorter amount of time in bed before falling asleep, reduced night waking, and increased sleep duration.
"The other surprising finding is that we found that this effect was universal," Mindell said.
"It doesn't matter if you are a parent of a young child in the US, India, or China, having a bedtime routine makes a difference," concluded Mindell.
Institution of a regular bedtime routine also was associated with decreased sleep problems and daytime behaviour problems as perceived by the mothers.
Inputs from IANS