Un­lock­ing the se­crets of the snooze

The Daily Telegraph (Sydney) - Best Weekend - - FRONT PAGE -

straight­for­ward and surgery can be per­formed to have them re­moved,” Swan says. “What is more com­plex is if it’s some­thing like obe­sity, which re­quires a sig­nif­i­cant be­hav­iour change, e, not just in the child but usu­ally lly the whole fam­ily.” HAV­ING a baby that sleeps through the night is one of those milestones par­ents proudly tick off. But what hap­pens when your child has still not mas­tered get­ting a good night sleep? Pae­di­atric sleep con­sul­tant Ch­eryl Fin­gle­son says there are four main cat­e­gories par­ents need to fo­cus on to en­sure sweet dreams. 1) Drowsy but awake: this is the ideal state to in­duce a good sleep. 2) Con­sis­tency: if you want chil­dren to es­tab­lish good habits, con­sis­tency is key. If we do the same thing ev­ery day, such as head to bed at roughly the same time, your body starts to ex­pect it. 3) Rou­tine: chil­dren re­spond to rou­tines, es­pe­cially when you are try­ing to es­tab­lish a good sleep pat­tern. Try to have din­ner at a sim­i­lar time each night, fol­lowed by a sim­ple rou­tine that chil­dren will recog­nise as the path to bed­time. This may in­clude hav­ing a bath or shower, brush­ing teeth, read­ing a book, then a hug and a kiss be­fore bed. 4) Sleep win­dow: when you feel drowsy the sleep hor­mone mela­tonin is re­leased to ease you into sleep. But if you ig­nore those sig­nals, your body re-boosts by re­leas­ing the adren­a­line hor­mone cor­ti­sol and you can be­come over­tired and un­able to get to sleep. Fin­gle­son says one of the big­gest dis­rupters to a good night sleep for both adults and chil­dren is en­gag­ing in screen time too close to bed time. “The blue light emit­ted by your screens — and that in­cludes phones, iPads, com­put­ers and the tele­vi­sion — works as a trig­ger to stay awake,” Fin­gle­son says. “It wires your b brain to stay fo­cused. I ad­vise my clients c with chil­dren to have a r rule that they won’t use scre screens for at least 30 to 60 min­utes prior to bed bed­time.” A few ex­tra point­ers th that may work, she says, are to keep the bed­room rel­a­tively tidy to in­duce a feel­ing of calm; keep the tem­per­a­ture level (cooler rather t than over­heated is b best); and to have a co com­pletely dark bedr bed­room.

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