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Optimising and prioritising sleep

There are many things that we can do to improve our sleep hygiene.

In this video we discuss tips for good sleep hygiene, including the following.

Develop a routine: Be consistent with regular times for going to bed at night and getting up in the morning as this routine helps set the internal body clock and maintain its 24-hour circadian rhythm.

Optimise the sleep environment: The bedroom should be dark and free from distractions and noise that could disrupt sleep through the night. The temperature should also not be too hot or cold.

Avoid excessive screen time: Set a ‘bed time’ for media devices and don’t allow them in the bedroom during the night. This is important because engaging the brain with exciting or provocative information before bed may trigger emotional and hormonal responses (like adrenalin), which can reduce the ability to fall and stay asleep. Also, light from electronic devices can disrupt the body’s natural occurring circadian rhythm, increasing alertness and suppressing the release of the hormone melatonin, which is important for regulating our sleep-wake cycle.

Promote exercise during the day: Make time for physical activity and exercise throughout the day to facilitate and improve sleep patterns throughout the night.

Engage in relaxing activities prior to sleep: Avoid activities that stimulate the mind and body in the hours immediately before bed such as exercise, eating and screen time.

Get exposure to natural light: Expose children to bright early morning light as it is the most important cue for the regulation of the body’s circadian rhythm.

Conversation starter

  • Have you tried any of these strategies with children? If so, what was their effect on sleep?
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