Back to school: quality sleep for my child

Have you always dreamed of being able to put your child to bed at 8:30 p.m., read him a story and give him a big cuddle before he's whisked off to Morpheus' arms? Unfortunately, bedtime is often much more complicated. As a result, it's not easy to get back into the swing of things when the new school year starts, and waking up can be difficult too.


What's the point of a good night's sleep?

As we all know, sleep allows us to recuperate, while many mental and physical functions are set in motion. While we know that there are different stages of sleep: slow, light, deep and REM, we don't necessarily know what they correspond to. For example, growth hormone is produced during deep sleep. It is therefore vital to respect sleep rhythms so that this growth hormone is secreted. It also promotes the repair of worn tissues and cells. REM sleep, during which we dream, is characterized by high brain activity and enables us to memorize and organize information acquired during the day.

For adults, and especially for children, it's important to respect these sleep phases and to wake up during an intermediate phase, when sleep is light.

TIP: A sleep cycle lasts 1h30 on average, and a little less for children. So, depending on when they wake up, you can program their bedtime! And since children are reassured by routine, all we have to do is apply it every night.


My child has trouble going to bed

Leaving mom and dad to be alone in the dark is an unpleasant prospect for many children. As a result, bedtime is often a painful experience. But even if your child cries, you mustn't give in or be alarmed. You need to surround them with kindness, setting up little rituals such as reading a story, leaving a nightlight on... And if the separation anxiety is still too strong, you can come back to see them, spacing out the visits so that they come to understand that you're not far away.

TO AVOID: sugary milk or water bottles, as well as tablets that are bad for teeth or promote excitement.


In practice...

We set up a ritual to make the children feel safe. We take a little time to chat with them. If they've had an upset during the day, it could well resurface at this point! Some evenings, we don't hesitate to play a game to relieve the tension. Then it's time for a quiet story.

AVOID: Don't approach bedtime as a punishment: "If you don't behave, you're going to bed! On the contrary, show them that bedtime is a time to let go and regenerate. And just like superheroes, they too need to regain their strength.

TIPS: certain foods stimulate the secretion of sedative hormones and are therefore best served with dinner: bananas, nuts, milk, pineapple, eggs, dates, almonds, lettuce, seafood, fish and turkey. Vegetables, quinoa, brown rice and legumes are also recommended.

Finally, just like adults, some children suffer from sleep disorders. If your child wakes up at night, and night-time anxieties become a daily occurrence, don't hesitate to consult a professional.



The NSF (National Sleep Foundation) has stated in its studies that sleep duration is :

> 11 to 2 p.m. for children aged 1 to 2

> 10 to 13 hours for children under 5 years of age

> 9 to 11 a.m. for children aged 6 to 13

> 8 to 10 hours for teenagers aged 14 to 17.