Healthy Sleep Habits for Babies, Children & Adults

Last Updated on September 14, 2021

Your behaviour and activity during the day and specifically before bed can significantly impact your sleep and its quality. Understand that your daily routines, like drinking, eating and even taking medications, can disrupt your rest.

The truth is that even a few slight adjustments can be the difference between sound sleep and a restless night with constant tossing and turning. That’s why sleep experts have come up with a term that summarizes the things you do before bedtime to improve your ability to fall asleep and stay that way, and that’s called ‘sleep hygiene.’

Healthy sleep habits come with better and more deep sleep. Good sleep hygiene is crucial for people with sleep disorders, such as insomnia, since it’s a part of cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT). CBT is arguably the most effective long-term treatment for insomnia strugglers.

Everyone can have problems with sleep, which is why in today’s article, we’ll try to explain how having healthier sleep habits can improve the quality of your sleep, no matter your age. We’ll discuss this topic regarding infants and toddlers, older children and teens, and last but not least, adults. So if you are interested, continue reading.

Healthy Sleep Habits for Babies

Healthy Sleep Habits for Babies

It’s essential for all ages to get a good night’s sleep. However, babies and toddlers often have sleep problems that affect both the child and their parents.

How many hours of sleep a baby needs depends on age. For example, newborns usually sleep between 16 to 20 hours, while infants need about 13 to 15 hours which includes nighttime sleep, morning naps and afternoon naps. Finally, toddlers often need around 12 hours a day.

If your child isn’t getting enough rest, here are some useful tips that might improve that:

  • Feed your child – ensure your little one is fed before you put them in bed, so they aren’t hungry.
  • Put your baby in bed – after they are fed, you should put them into their lovely cot bed while they are sleepy but still awake, so they learn to fall asleep on their own.
  • Correct placement – when you’re putting your kiddo in their crib, make sure that you place them on their back, at least up to one year of age.
  • Set a bedtime – sticking to a time for putting your baby to bed will be beneficial for their quality of sleep.
  • Sleep schedule – the best way for a kid to have healthy sleep habits is to establish a nighttime routine (feeding, bath, bedtime story, etc.) and a regular sleep schedule from a young age.
  • Don’t allow super long naps – generally, it’s a good idea to try and limit naps to no more than 3 hours at once.
  • No food in bed – leaving a bottle or cup in your child’s crib can lead to cavities and tooth decay.
  • Try a pacifier – after your newborn is 3 to 4 weeks of age, you can introduce them to a pacifier at nap time and bedtime because it can reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome.

Healthy Sleep Habits for Children & Teens

Healthy Sleep Habits for Children & Teens

Sleep issues are common among many children and teens. They can affect their focus and productivity at school, training, or home. Generally speaking, sleep deprivation can affect your child’s mood, behaviour, emotional health, and weight.

Poor sleep habits can often be the cause of deprived rest. However, one-fourth of all children have a sleep disorder they struggle with, sometimes meaning the reason behind restless sleep is a medical condition. If your kid isn’t getting enough sleep, here are some useful tips that might improve that:

  • Have a bedtime routine – establish a regular sleep schedule and proper hygiene routine to help them wind down (taking a bath, listening to music, or reading a book) while creating a soothing environment and avoiding daytime naps.
  • Keep them active – if your kid does various activities throughout the day, they will sleep better at night. However, avoid strenuous exercise before bed since it can be a stimulant.
  • Avoid caffeine & sugar drinks – soda, energy drinks and beverages with caffeine aren’t recommended in the late afternoon and the evening.
  • No big meals before bed heavy meals right before bedtime can make it hard to fall asleep. Stick to light snacks and suitable drinks before it’s time to rest.
  • Use the bed only for sleep – the best way for your children to rest correctly is for them to associate the bedroom only with sleep.
  • Don’t allow electronics at night – any device with a lighted screen, such as cell phones, electronic games, tablets, laptops, etc., emit blue light, which can keep your child awake.

Healthy Sleep Habits for Adults

Healthy Sleep Habits for Adults

The possibility of you having a good night’s rest doesn’t only depend on your bed. You have to think about your routine and sleep schedule just as much. Here are some tips and tricks that can help your body and mind to prepare to fall asleep:

  • Sleep routine – have a consistent sleep schedule and follow it. If you can’t keep track of your wake-up time and such, get yourself a sleep diary to identify trends that could be throwing off your nightly rest. Also, set a bedtime that allows you to get at least 7-8 hours of sleep.
  • Wind down – don’t forget to wind down at least 30 minutes before bed. You can do that by reading a book, meditating or and other relaxing activities.
  • Blue light – leave all electronic devices an hour before bed because they use blue light, which stimulates the brain and make it harder to fall asleep.
  • Do activities – don’t forget to exercise regularly. Physical activity benefits the body in many, and one of them is providing you with better sleep.
  • White noise machine – consider a white noise machine and maybe even a calming scent, like lavender essential oils.
  • Food & drinks – don’t eat heavy meals, nor drink alcohol and caffeine before bed. Overall, reduce food and fluid intake at night.
  • See a professional – If your sleeping issues are worsening, you should go and see a doctor, so they can identify the problem and recommend a solution with optimal treatment.
  • Room temperature – Take a look at your thermostat and make sure your bedroom is set to a cooler temperature since it will be easier for you to sleep when you’re not hot.
  • Comfy PJ’s – Find yourself a comfortable pyjama set and use your curtains to block the light so it doesn’t wake you up the following day.

Bottom line

Sometimes getting up for a short while can help if you have trouble falling asleep, but you can’t do that every night. That’s why if you have trouble falling asleep, you should try and train your body to wind down and relax. You can do so with all the techniques and tips we’ve talked about in this guide.

We hope that we can at least get you one step closer to having a better night’s sleep. However, please remember that we are non-professionals in the medical field, and these are only our recommendations.

We hope we were able to answer the how and why, and now it’s our turn to hear from you if any questions regarding the subject were left unanswered. If you want to share some information, we would gladly hear about it in the comments below.

Isabelle Harris
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