We know sleep is important, but how can we achieve the best quality of sleep?

By Patrycja Sztachelski

Research has shown that proper bedtime routines are necessary to promote healthy sleep, and a review of recent studies has been performed to compare sleep hygiene practices across different countries and cultures. The focus of these studies has been on four age groups—infants and toddlers (four months to two years), preschoolers (three to five years), school-age children (six to 12 years), and adolescents (13 to 18 years)—leading to a broad analysis of sleep practices.

Experts “found good-to-strong endorsement of certain sleep hygiene practices for younger kids and school-age kids: regular bedtimes, reading before bed, having a quiet bedroom, and self-soothing”, which involves giving children opportunities to go back to sleep on their own if they wake up in the middle of the night. One particularly significant factor that affects sleep habits for adolescents is technology use before bedtime. Furthermore, “studies in Japan, New Zealand, and the United States showed that the more exposure kids had to electronic media around bedtime, the less sleep they had”.

Since these sleep hygiene studies have been performed in various countries, important findings in different cultures include the idea that family dinner time is crucial to helping adolescents sleep (i.e. in New Zealand), and that there is a relationship between school-age children’s and adolescent’s lowered sleep duration to lots of school work and long commute times to school, both of which are findings that resulted from Chinese studies and one Korean study.

Experts recognize that there is more research needed to determine the effects of sleep hygiene factors on overall sleep quality, but recommend setting bedtimes for children, as well as routine habits (i.e. family dinners, reading before bed, and limiting screen time) to improve the sleep that children receive.

 

University of British Columbia. (2018, December 3). Importance of good sleep routines for children. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 8, 2018 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/12/181203080327.htm