How to Help You and Your Child Get the Sleep You Need

Are you getting enough sleep? The CDC recommends that adults get at least 7-8 hours of sleep, while school-age children get at least 10 hours of sleep each night. Here are some things you can work on during the day that will help you or your child get a better night's sleep.
This post was published on the now-closed HuffPost Contributor platform. Contributors control their own work and posted freely to our site. If you need to flag this entry as abusive, send us an email.
Mother with sons sleeping in bed
Mother with sons sleeping in bed

Are you getting enough sleep? The CDC recommends that adults get at least 7-8 hours of sleep, while school-age children get at least 10 hours of sleep each night, and teens should get 9-10 hours of sleep. Here are some things you can work on during the day that will help you or your child get a better night's sleep.

Sleep Success Tips for Parents

Parents lose a tremendous amount of sleep -- up to 50 percent -- in the first year of their child's birth, especially breastfeeding moms who can be on call as often as every two hours. Nevertheless, there are many things that parents can do together to help share the sleep burden and lighten their load.

For example, partners can take turns feeding, and rotate night-shifts, with baby. If mom is breastfeeding, she can pump in the day, and dad can feed in the night. The key is team work and collaboration. If mom or dad has an important meeting in the morning, the other partner can fill in the gap and compensate. At the end of the day, this is how we build intimacy and mutuality... the cornerstones of a good relationship.

Sleep Success Tips for Children

For older children, it is important to set a structure for bedtime with standards and rituals. Then, your child knows what to expect and can rely upon you to follow a set procedure that helps him feel valued, secure and bonded -- three very necessary feelings for a good night's sleep.

First, create a quiet ambience by lowering lights and turning off all technological devices. An hour before sleep is the deadline for television, radio, computers, iPads, and games that are stimulating. The atmosphere should be one of calm and quiet, helping your child wind down at the end of the day, and prepare for sleep. Baroque music that is syncopated to your heart beat in the andante movement will automatically relax your child. Structured routines, such as brushing teeth, and a warm, but not too hot, bath will relax muscles while lowering decibels. A regular story time, with a book read by mom or dad, also helps your child feel cozy, bonded and relaxed.

The idea is to lower the anxiety level of your child and support him through the rituals of preparing for sleep. On my website, you can find some CD's that enhance sleep through progressive relaxation techniques. It's something you can do with your child and it will help you both not only enjoy the process of going to sleep, but experience a wonderful and sound sleep.