Top 5 tips for kids sleep health

Find out how to create a soothing and restful bedroom for your kids, including those who suffer from asthma and allergies.

1. Create a regular bedtime

We know how cranky overtired kids can be. Once you’ve set up a regular bedtime routine they enjoy, getting them to settle is usually a lot less difficult.

Whatever routine you set in place, try to ensure that it's around the same time each night – especially on school nights. On weekends, you can afford to be a little more flexible, particularly with older children who have established sleep patterns.

Once in bed, it's okay to allow your children to play or read for a short while, until they're ready to sleep. As adults, we don't sleep the moment we climb between the sheets, so you can imagine your kids may not want to do so either.


 

2. A good quality mattress is a must

One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to hand down a well-worn mattress from child to child. Investing in a new bed with supportive back care is worth every cent. Plus it’s more conducive to your child’s sleep quality.

Research shows that toddlers may grow as much as 1.5 cm overnight. And in their late teens, most children are still growing, proving six-year-olds to 16-year-olds need a quality sleep surface that's the right size for them, with the right body support.


 

3. Removing stimulants enhances rest

Just like a well-loved teddy bear, a restful and relaxing kids bedroom environment helps young children sleep better. Electronic devices in bedrooms distracts them, keeping them up.

Wherever possible, avoid making TVs, tablets and other devices part of your child’s bedroom or bedroom routine. If they have access to a mobile phone, remove the temptation from their room each night so it's out of sight and out of mind


 

4. Asthmatics shouldn’t have to suffer

If your child suffers from asthma, you may find that their coughing or wheezing worsens at night. This could be due to dust mite droppings are the enemy to all asthmatics. Make every effort to remove these from the environment with care, replacing beds and bedding where necessary.

Use a protective, washable mattress and pillow covers and make sure to change the sheets on a regular basis. Frequent airing and vacuuming will also help. If sleep problems persist, it's worth checking with your GP to learn how to use of your child's inhaler correctly overnight.

Note: a mattress and bedding with hypoallergenic fillings (ie. without known irritants like feathers or hair) may be necessary to provide the best and most effective relief from asthma, eczema or rhinitis.

5. Making the move from cot to bed

The exact age a child is ready to move from a cot to a bed is usually between 18 months and three years.

Most often, toddlers won't be ready to cope with the overwhelming expanse of an adult-sized bed. As an temporary step, it's helpful to bridge the gap with a cot bed or smaller-scale starter bed that still allows kids to feel snug and cosy.

A 'cot bed' is a large cot with sides that you can remove later to convert into a bed.

Buying a quality mattress is important because it provides children with the correct support for their growing bones and muscles – which can’t be underestimated. Quality mattresses are designed to support their spines in correct orthopaedic alignment and have just the right comfort layers to cradle them.

Suitable mattress types range from foam to sprung beds. However, mattresses made with memory foam aren’t recommended for very young children.