How do you ensure that your children do well at school? Do you sit with them whilst they do their homework? Do you give them lots of encouragement? Do you ensure they have a healthy diet, and in particular, make sure they have a good breakfast? Do you even go as far as hiring a tutor to improve their understanding of literacy or maths?
All of these things can help a child to flourish academically, but what they need most of all is to be awake and alert enough to let the lessons of school fully sink in. Some teachers report that children are tired before the school day has even begun, and all agree that if children don’t get enough sleep they don’t do as well as they could do.
Obviously setting a good bedtime routine will go some way to making sure that your child gets enough sleep – a set time for bath, brushing their teeth, bedtime story and lights off. Check that their mattress is suitable: it shouldn’t sag and you should be able to slide a hand under their lower back and be able to slide it back out without it getting stuck or coming out too easily.
A poor quality mattress can have an impact on a child’s quality of sleep and can also have a negative effect on the health of your child’s back. This is particularly important for teenagers, who often spend large parts of their day – as well as night – sprawled out on their beds.
Children need enough sleep to function during the day. If they do not get enough sleep they can be irritable or even hyperactive: some children have been misdiagnosed as having ADHD when in fact they were just sleep deprived. Children who have not had enough sleep can also crave sugary or starchy food, making them prone to obesity – especially since those same children often have no energy for exercise. As teachers can attest, tired children also do worse in tests and take less of an active part in everyday lessons.
Take control of your child’s sleeping habits: check that they are comfortable at night and give them the best possible start to each day.