When sleep comes (too late)
Getting a good night's sleep isn't just important for adults. Sleep quality matters for children as well. In this health tip we explain how much sleep children need and what you can do to help them at bedtime.
Many children and young people use their smartphones or tablets right up until they fall asleep. They want to squeeze in one last reply to their best friend or finish watching an episode of their favourite television programme. What many people don't know is that these types of habits can detract from the quality and duration of sleep.
Sleep requirements are specific to the individualSleep is vital for human beings. While we lie in bed and dream, our bodies are recovering from the exertions of the past day and preparing for the next day's tasks. If children don't get enough sleep, they can become ill faster because resting in bed is how the immune system readies itself for the day ahead. You may now be wondering how much sleep is enough. And when should you put your child to bed? "There is no set answer to these questions," says Silke Schmitt Oggier, paediatrician and Medical Director at santé24. "Sleep requirements are very individual and also depend on the age of the child," she explains. An infant (four to eleven months of age), for example, requires between 12 and 15 hours of sleep, while young people can get by on around eight hours per night.
Sleep requirements are very individual and also depend on the age of the child. Dr Silke Schmitt Oggier, paediatrician and Medical Director at santé24
What can help children fall asleepThe biggest challenge for many parents is getting their children to bed at the right time in order to allow for a certain "sleep hygiene" and bedtime routine. A couple of tips may help here:
- Make a point of stopping the use of electronic devices (smartphone, tablet or television) at least one hour before bedtime.
- If children already have their own smartphone, it shouldn't stay in their bedroom overnight. Incoming messages could disturb their sleep.
- Don't use a smartphone as an alarm clock.
- The bedroom should be darkened for sleeping. You can also dim the lights before bedtime. Using a night light is of course fine.
- The ideal room temperature is around 18 degrees Celsius.
- Parents can introduce rituals that signal bedtime, such as singing songs together or reading a story.
- It's also important that bedtime doesn't become associated with playing or punishment.
- A set evening routine that is calm and always follows the same procedure is a good way for many children to end their day and "programme" their bodies to go to sleep.
santé24 – your Swiss telemedicine serviceMedical help around the clock: The doctors and medical specialists at santé24 are there to offer you expert advice on all questions concerning prevention, illness, accidents and maternity – 365 days a year. Advice is free of charge to SWICA customers.
In the event of further health-related questions, SWICA customers can contact the santé24 telemedicine service free of charge on +41 44 404 86 86. A telemedicine practice licence allows santé24 physicians to provide additional medical services in cases that are suited to a telemedicine approach. SWICA customers can also use the BENECURA medical app to carry out a digital SymptomCheck and receive recommendations about what to do next. During a subsequent phone call with santé24, customers can decide for themselves whether to release their information from SymptomCheck to santé24.