Let’s Talk About Sleep

Family sitting and stretching their hands upwards 

As the new school year rolls around, how about making a commitment to get your whole family to sleep well in the coming year?

Try bringing up the topic of sleep, say during yo ur family dinner, and hear what your kids have to say about keeping late nights. They may have reasons you do not know, such as preferring to work at night when it’s quieter.

Then help them to see the benefits of a regular sleep-wake time and having enough hours of sleep, which means nine to 11 hours for primary schoolers and eight to ten for teenagers. Find an agreement which you and your children can see eye to eye with and make that your sleep resolution for the year.

To help everyone in the family keep their word, make a written contract for everyone to sign. Stick it on the fridge or your child’s bedroom door so your resolutions are never out of mind.

For good measure, make your own sleep resolutions too. And show your kids you are prepared to lead by example!

Here are some examples to get your discussion going.

Related: Sleep Deprivation

For Your Kids

Mom helping daughter study 

I will go to Bed at 9pm Daily

You can help your children learn to plan their daily schedule so they have enough time for homework, studying and leisure activities before bed. It may be tempting to push back bedtime when there are lots to do, but be firm! It shows children that bedtime is a priority and helps inculcate good sleeping habits from young.

Finish Homework and Studying when I get back from School

Help children get schoolwork out of the way, so they can rest easy when bedtime rolls around. Encourage them to finish homework and studying as soon as they get home from school, rather than leaving it too close to bedtime. This is especially important when teenagers face an increased workload as they transit from primary to secondary school.

Go to Bed at the Same Time Every Day, even on Weekends

Children thrive on routines, and this will help their internal body clock grow accustomed to bedtime. On weekends, plan fun activities such as breakfast at your favourite hawker centre, or take part in fitness activities such as Sundays@The Park. Make weekends enjoyable, and children will be clamouring to wake up early.

Related: Sweet Dreams are Made of These

For Everyone

Young family sitting together on a bed reading book 

I will Wind Down my Routine Before Sleeping

As bedtime approaches, start winding down your routine and avoid stimulating or rigorous activities such as exercise just before sleeping. Put away electronic devices, including mobile phones, laptops and tablets.

Go a step further to preserve quality sleep by leaving phones outside the bedroom at night. Even on silent mode, vibrations from texts or calls can interfere with sleep. In the morning, rely on a good old alarm clock for your wake-up call instead.

Make My Room a Sleep-Friendly Zone

Help your body associate the bedroom with rest by keeping it quiet, dark and cool, and use it for soothing activities such as reading or listening to soothing music. Avoid doing stimulating activities in bed such as doing homework, using electronic devices, and poring over the ten-year series!

Related: Catch Your Zzzs: Tips for a Better Night’s Sleep

For You

Parents sleeping together with daughter 

I will Counter Stress for Better Sleep

Keep stress under control in your daily life, and you’ll soon see the benefits on your sleep patterns too. Getting regular exercise and a having healthy diet can go a long way towards stress management so you get a good night’s sleep.

Lead by Example

Ultimately, your most important role as a parent is to lead by example with your own sleeping habits as children learn by observing the people around them. Older siblings will enjoy having a sense of responsibility, so encourage them to set a good example for younger children too.

Make sleep a priority for the whole family, and you’ll soon reap the benefits when everyone’s brighter, fresher and more energetic after a good night’s sleep.

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