Bedtime Routines Matter | KELOLAND.com
SIOUX FALLS, SD (KELO) – Health has been on the minds of many since the start of the pandemic, but one aspect that is often overlooked is sleep.
Going to bed seems like an easy activity to do. And while getting enough sleep is crucial, for many, bedtime isn’t always easy.
“It affects your physical ability, it affects your mental ability, affects everything you do throughout the day, this sleep-wake cycle,” said Susan Illg.
Family life expert Susan Illg says a good bedtime routine can make all the difference when it comes to falling asleep.
“You’re going to have your routine as a parent, you’re going to have your routine as a child. And so you are going to help model this routine for your child. You’re going to help them understand the value of this routine because sleep is very, very important, ”Illg said.
Heather Krause and her husband follow a strict routine with their 3 year old son. They have been doing it since birth.
“I would rock him in the rocking chair and bottle or breastfeed him. And my husband would sit on the floor and read to us, ”Krause said.
To this day, she says reading books before bed is still part of her son’s bedtime routine, along with bath time and the lights dimmed.
Experts also recommend turning off the screen around 45 minutes to an hour before bedtime.
Illg says the routines provide predictability, leading to more calm when it’s time to sleep.
“What you don’t want is you don’t want to have a child too tired because you think, Oh, they’re going to be so tired that their head is just going to hit the pillow and they’re going to be asleep. That’s not what’s going on, ”Illg said.
In fact, she says that an overly tired child or adult may have a harder time falling asleep.
“We were trying, like, we would let him stand a little later. I will sleep longer in the morning and it never worked. He always woke up earlier than usual. And so we really learned that if he goes to bed on time, he will stay asleep all night, he will sleep longer in the morning, ”Krause said.
But when life comes along and routines get cut short, don’t be too hard on yourself.
“Don’t beat yourself up as a parent, just say, okay, you know what, we’re gonna do our best tonight.” And then tomorrow we will try to do, to do better, ”Illg said.
Illg says parents can experiment with different bed times for their child as well, watching for natural clues as to which bedtime is best for them.