This year is tenth World Sleep Day, an annual event organized by the World Sleep Society in which more than 72 countries participate. It is intended to be a celebration of sleep and a call to action on important issues related to sleep including medicine, education, social aspects and driving.

The aim of World Sleep Day is to lessen the burden of sleep problems in society through better prevention and management of sleep disorders. This year’s motto is “Sleep soundly, nurture life”. This phrase helps spread the message that quality of life with sleep disorders is improved and recognizes sleep as important to overall health and well-being. Although most sleep disorders are treatable (there are about 100), less than a third of sufferers seek professional help.

People with deep, uninterrupted sleep experience lower rates of high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity and other chronic diseases.

It is a pleasure for me to collaborate and help spread the word about the 10 sleep guidelines for babies and children that World Sleep Day recommends:

  • Make sure your child gets the required amount of sleep. Set an appropriate and regular bedtime (preferably before 9pm) and a regular time to wake up.
  • Keep schedules consistent both during the week and on weekends.
  • Establish a consistent routine before bedtime and use comfortable sleepwear (very absorbent diapers for little ones).
  • Make sure your child sleeps independently.
  • Avoid exposure to bright light at bedtime and at night and increase exposure to light in the morning.
  • Keep electronic devices (including TVs, computers, mobile phones, etc.) out of the room and limit their use in the hour before bedtime.
  • Keep regular hours during the day, including regular meal times.
  • Maintain a daytime nap schedule appropriate to your childs´age.
  • Promote physical exercise and outdoor activities throughout the day.
  • Prevent children from eating foods that contain caffeine and limit the amount of sugar they eat.

 

SLEEP IS A NECESSITY, NOT A LUXURY

As a parent we must be aware of how important sleep is for our children and do all we can to make sure that our children learn healthy sleep habits from very early on in life.

The developing brain is a complex thing and good sleep hygine ensures that we are giving our babies a chance to grow and develop into happy relaxed and intelligent young beings.

Sleep is a cycle and young children need to sleep well both during the day and at night. If day sleep is overlooked or skipped, children can quickly become overtired and irritable which in turn leads to difficult nights in which it is harder for them to fall asleep and rest deeply.