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Sleep and Sleep Disorders in Children (cont.)

Sleep Hygiene and How to Avoid Poor Sleep Habits

Sleep hygiene is considered the foundation of "good sleep"" across all ages. Poor sleep hygiene is also the major contributor to most behaviorally based sleep disorders, and symptoms such as daytime sleepiness and trouble sleeping may be a reflection of poor sleep hygiene. There are two major factors which contribute to poor sleep hygiene. The first involves lack of an adequate sleep routine and a poorly organized sleep environment. The second includes poor habits which lead to increased arousal around bedtime. Establishing practices which encourage good sleep hygiene include the following measures.

  • Develop consistent and age appropriate sleep and wake schedules including limiting naps for older children.
  • Establish consistent routines around bedtime such as reading a book or telling a story. It is important to limit these activities to less than 30 minutes nightly and maintain consistent patterns.
  • Maintain a comfortable and calming sleep environment. Keep the bedroom temperature slightly cool and eliminate any distracting noises, such as computers, televisions, and cell phones.
  • Eliminate caffeinated products, especially during the late afternoon.
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