In 2002, an estimated 3. 3 million Canadians reported having
insomnia. The Canadian Sleep Society says sleep problems affect
10 to 35 per cent of the population. So what can you do to make sureyou and your family get the best possible night’s sleep?
Khullar says three things regulate our sleep: cues to our behaviour,light and melatonin (a hormone) levels. At our northern latitudes,on bright summer evenings we can limit exposure to daylight withblinds or curtains. In winter, using a light box during the early morningmay help our bodies adjust to long, dark nights.
a quiet voice will help signal it’s timefor sleep. Babies need to eat when theyare hungry, but regular routines for playtime, bath time and bedtime will helpyour infant to settle into a pattern.
Babies six months to a year old needabout 14 to 15 hours of sleep a day:
10 to 12 hours of it at night, plus twodaytime naps of one to two hours each.
Continue the calming bedtime routineyour infant expects. It’s important forbabies to learn to “self-soothe.” You canhelp by making sure your baby’s handsare free to suck or stroke his cheek.
Although routine is paramount at thisage, try to alternate who puts yourtoddler to bed. This connects the routinewith sleep itself, rather than a particularperson. At this age, a favourite toy orblanket may provide extra security—justmake sure they are safe with no loose orsmall parts that can choke. Some toddlersmay have night terrors or nightmares.
Immediate and calm reassurance andphysical comfort will likely help themgo back to sleep. A night light may alsobe soothing. By age two, many toddlersone nap once a day, after lunch.
When your toddler begins to crawl outof his crib, it’s time to move him to a bed,a change that can be eased by talking toyour toddler about the more grown-upthings he’s beginning to do. Remove allpotential hazards to make sure yourchild is safe in his new environment.
Help your child learn that once she’sin bed, she needs to stay there. A calm,consistent reminder that “It’s bedtime”works best in teaching your toddlerthat bedtime means staying in bed.
For children aged six to 12, approximately10 to 11 hours of sleep each night providescritical energy for learning and playing.
You’ll know your child is getting enoughsleep when she wakes up refreshed inthe morning.
The Canadian Sleep Society recommends a consistent bedtime routine:a quiet, dark, comfortable sleep environment; and a sleep-and-wake schedule thatdoesn’t vary by more than 30 minutes,even on weekends. The society alsosuggests kids avoid heavy meals justbefore bed, although a light snack withsome carbohydrates, like a half of asmall apple or banana or a slice of toastis OK. Make sure your child gets regularexercise in natural sunlight. Encourageyour child to avoid napping. Finally, maketime to discuss your child’s concernsor fears earlier in the day, rather thanat bedtime.
Infants and babies
From birth to six months of age, infantssleep a lot. But the phrase “a good night’ssleep” hardly seems to apply to theirperfectly healthy (and normal) patternof sleeping between two and four hoursat a time. To teach your infant the difference between day and night, keep yourhome bright and active during daytimehours, play most with your newbornduring the day, and don’t worry toomuch about the noises of daily life.
At night, reduced light and noise levels
and the use of gentle movements and
Few people think
of sleep in terms
Yet sleep is acrucial componentof that process.