Every living thing requires adequate sleep to function properly and this is especially important for your children. Ensuring your children are getting enough sleep is just as important as providing them with a nutritious, balanced diet full of the vitamins and minerals they need in order for them to grow into healthy, happy adults.
Yet although we know the importance of sleep, (especially people like shift workers who often try their best to make their bedrooms the optimal environment for sleep) many of us tend to overlook how we could be helping our children get enough shut-eye.
Below are a number of ways in which blockout curtains or blinds could help you in creating the perfect sleep environment for your children.
Babies, Infants and Toddlers
Creating the optimal sleep environment for our baby is so important, yet it’s a factor many families still overlook. Sleep is vital for your baby's mental and physical development and many parents will often find their babies sleep pattern difficult to say the least. Although newborns often sleep for the majority of the day and you can put them down anywhere and everywhere during the first few months, as they get older they will require a space free from distractions. Light filled rooms could mean your baby could stay awake for longer, wake up earlier or more often and get lower quality sleep overall. Anyone with small children or babies will know that an overtired baby or toddler can be a nightmare to deal with!
Installing block out curtains or blinds into your baby’s nursery is one of the best ways to keep the room dark at any point during the day. Having a room which is dark and cozy is the ideal environment for sleep and will also help with overstimulated babies that require a break from everything else that may be going on inside the house. Some babies and toddlers are more sensitive to light than others and having the option to draw the curtains and blinds and remove this distraction could help your baby fall to sleep much easier and for longer periods of time.
By the time your baby is between four and eleven months he or she will no longer require night-time feeds and should therefore begin sleeping through the night. This is usually the time when most parents begin creating a bed-time routine for their babies. Having a dark nursery and therefore a sleep-friendly environment during this time will make the task of getting your infants into a regular sleeping pattern much easier.
Sleep is just as important for school-aged children, with recent studies showing that children who get a better night’s sleep tend to have fewer issues with their attention, bad behaviour in school and at home, memory and mental health and wellbeing. Children who struggle getting an adequate amount of sleep could run the risk of high blood pressure, obesity and mental disorders such as depression.
If you have ages six to thirteen years old you’ll know just how difficult it can be to calm them down in the evenings and get them tucked up into bed. Children around this age get constant stimulation from what’s happening around them. Whether it’s homework from school, friends wanting to play games, watching their favourite TV show or browsing the web - all of these factors can have a negative effect on sleep. It’s screen time in particular that has been associated with difficulty falling asleep, our children having nightmares, bedtime resistance and poor quality sleep.
Installing block out curtains or blinds can help you to create a bedroom conducive to sleep in a number of ways:
- Light Reduction - Blockout curtains will stop unwanted light entering the room, making it dark, cozy and comfortable. They will also reduce sunlight leaking through your children's bedroom window early in the mornings which may mean your children wake up later.
- Noise Reduction - Surprisingly, blockout curtains and blinds can also greatly reduce noise pollution from entering a room. The thicker material or backing that is used for blockout curtains and blinds which gives them their light blocking qualities can also help to dampen noise. Although they won’t completely block out noise from outside such as traffic or passers by, they could make such noise harder to hear and therefore take away this outdoor distraction come bedtime.
- Regulate Heat - Blockout curtains and blinds can also help keep your children’s bedrooms cooler during the summer months and stop heat from escaping throughout the winter. Drawing your curtains or blinds earlier in the day during the warmer months will stop this sunlight heating up your windows and therefore making the room feel hot and uncomfortable during the evenings. Maintaining a comfortable temperature throughout the night should help children fall to sleep much easier and also reduce the risk of them waking up throughout the night because they are too hot or cold.
As well as installing suitable curtains or blinds to control light, noise and temperature there are a number of other tips that could help older children get adequate sleep:
- Be consistent and stick to a bedtime routine.
- Try to limit screen time as much as possible an hour or so before bedtime.
- Make your children’s bedroom a TV and computer-free zone.
- A hot bath or shower will help your children relax before going to bed.
- Avoid food and drinks that contain sugar or caffeine.
- Talk to your children about the benefits of healthy sleep habits.
Although many parents may have overlooked how creating a better environment for sleep could aid their children's sleeping habits, it is certainly not something we do purposefully. With parents working long hours, planning after school activities, preparing home-cooked meals and doing everything possible to keep their children happy, sleep can often be a factor that comes last on the list from time to time. Hopefully, the above points will help you to be more mindful when it comes to making your children's bedrooms more suitable for bedtime as well as reminding us all on just how important sleep is for our children's development.