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Is it Bedtime Yet?: Pro Parenting Tips for Rank Amateurs

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Switch off electronics at least 30 minutes before bedtime. The light from these devices can stimulate your brain and make it harder to fall asleep. Mindell, J. A., Kuhn, B., Lewin, D. S., Meltzer, L. J., & Sadeh, A. (2006). Behavioral treatment of bedtime problems and night wakings in infants and young children. Sleep, 29(10), 1263-1276. PMID: 17068979. You can also read more about the symptoms that lead you to ask “ Am I pregnant or is it PMS” or take our quiz. Hirshkowitz M, Whiton K, Albert SM, et al. National Sleep Foundation's sleep time duration recommendations: methodology and results summary. Sleep Health. 2015;1(1):40-43. doi:10.1016/j.sleh.2014.12.010

This is because, when we are sleeping, our brains are very active. While in deep sleep, all the information children have learned gets selected, consolidated and stored in the long-term memory, so it can be put to good use at a later date. A child has to be awake enough to be focused and attentive in the first place, Meadows says, and then well-rested to recall those memories and use them to solve problems in future. Poor sleep can affect every stage of the learning process. “If you’re pulling an all-nighter and cramming for exams, you’re actually preventing your brain from laying down the information you’re learning,” he explains. Krystal AD, Prather AA, Ashbrook LH. The assessment and management of insomnia: an update. World Psychiatry. 2019;18(3):337-352. doi:10.1002/wps.20674 This is probably one of the most common reasons. As your baby grows, it is perfectly normal to assume that they will always go to bed at the same time they did when they were 6 months. However, often the older they get and the more able they are to accommodate the build-up of homeostatic sleep pressure, many parents find that a 7pm bedtime no longer works as well as it did for their younger baby. Holding BC, et al. (2021). Quantifying cognitive impairment after sleep deprivation at different times of day: A proof of concept using ultra-short smartphone-based tests.The occasional night of poor sleep generally won’t have a serious impact on your health. All the same, experts have linked ongoing sleep deprivation to serious health consequences, including a higher risk of chronic diseases and early death. Yes, napping for a long time is one of the most underrated aspects of a healthy lifestyle. The benefits include clearer thoughts, increased creativity, and improved memory function. Is laying with your eyes closed the same as sleeping? N1 (formerly stage 1). This first stage of sleep marks the period between being awake and falling asleep. Ten-year-old Harley Walker has had poor sleep all his life, and no one has been able to explain why. After doing the rounds of appointments with GPs and paediatricians, he is spending the night in Sheffield’s sleep lab with a Medusa’s head of brightly coloured wires glued to his skull. His mum, Abigail, will sleep in a camp bed next to him.

della Monica C, et al. (2018). What makes a good night’s sleep? The external and internal factors that influence a good night’s sleep. It can be difficult to know when you are getting enough sleep as well; it's important. For most adults, 7-9 hours is the average amount of shuteye needed each night, but if you need more than 8 or 9 hours per night, there might be an underlying issue that needs attention. How long is a power nap? Seven to nine hours of sleep is mandatory for adults. Studies have shown that poor sleep patterns cause depression, weight gain, diabetes, etc. Why do I feel better with less sleep? Various environmental, behavioral, and medical factors can influence how much sleep you need, though, and those may change throughout your life. Perhaps the greatest long-term health risk to a child who doesn’t sleep is the danger of becoming obese. The mechanism by which sleep-deprived children are more likely to put on weight isn’t fully understood, but there are many strong hypotheses. As well as having less energy to exercise, and more opportunity to eat because they are awake for longer, it is thought that the body’s balance of leptin and ghrelin – the hormones that tell our brains we’re full or hungry – is abnormal in children who haven’t slept enough. Tired children are more likely to crave foods that are high in fat and sugar.


Activities involving hand-eye coordination help the brain wind down before bed, eg jigsaws or colouring in.

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