Clear child's bedroom of stimuli that may disrupt sleep
BY DR. KOMOROFF Universal Uclick
Wednesday, January 16, 2013
1/16/13 at 2:14 AM
Dear Doctor K: My 8-year-old has trouble falling asleep. Can you give me some practical suggestions that may help?
Dear Reader: To help your child (or anyone of any age, for that matter) fall asleep, you must remove the obstacles that may impede or disrupt sleep.
Here are some suggestions that should help:
A great e-book, short and inexpensive, about how to help your child fall asleep and stay asleep is "Successful Sleep Strategies for Kids" by Harvard Medical School's Dr. Dennis Rosen. You can learn more about this book at my website, tulsaworld.com/DrK
- Stop caffeine intake at least eight hours prior to bedtime. There's plenty of caffeine in cola beverages and chocolate.
- Reduce exposure to bright light for the two hours before bedtime. Dimmer light helps the brain prepare for sleep.
- Keep your child's bedroom dark, quiet and at a comfortable temperature.
- If your child uses a night-light, choose one with a low-intensity bulb.
- Reduce the intensity of your child's reading lamp to 40 watts or less.
- Some parents play classical music in the background, hoping it will lull a child to sleep. Bad idea. Music is not "white noise." The melodies and rhythms are compelling and call to you even when you're asleep. Even soft music can have sudden loud moments. And if you play it, but let it stop when the piece ends, your child may notice the sudden absence of music and have trouble falling back to sleep without it.
- Remove video games, media players, cellphones, computers and TVs from your child's bedroom.
- Position the alarm clock so that it faces away from the bed. This can be helpful if your child stresses out each time he or she sees that five more minutes have passed.
- Insist that your child do homework at a desk (or better yet, outside the bedroom).
- Keep pets out of your child's bedroom.
Write Dr. K at www.AskDoctorK.com or c/o Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut, Kansas City, MO 64106