As a parent, it may feel like uninterrupted sleep is something that is out of reach, at least until your child goes to college. It is indeed challenging to help them develop good sleeping habits, but luckily children’s brains are adaptable and poor sleeping habits can be reversed!
Physical activity greatly improves sleeping patterns in children. According to a research in the Archives of Disease in Childhood, every hour of day children are inactive adds three minutes to the time it takes them to fall asleep, and that children who took part in exercise fell asleep faster than those who do not. It is scientifically proven that kids who are physically active during the day, fall asleep faster than their sedentary peers.
Exercise is the solution!!
At least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity every day is recommended. It doesn’t have to be all at once though! These 60 minutes of activity can be accumulated throughout the day.
Here’s a list of activities that get the heart pumping and also strengthen the bones and muscles – basketball, soccer, swimming laps, hopping, running, climbing trees, bike riding, and yoga.
All parents want the best for their child so don’t forget, 60 minutes of daily physical activity is the goal and not the limit. Any moderate to vigorous physical activity longer than 60 accumulated minutes will have additional benefits for your child’s health and fitness as long as it is balanced with sufficient rest, nutrition, and a good night’s sleep.
Screen Time = Sedentary Behaviour
While it may be convenient for you to hand over the iPad to your child in exchange for a good 30 minutes of peace, it is a key factor that makes it difficult for children to fall asleep. The blue light that electronics emit affects our normal body clock and prolonged sitting down or lying down during the day will keep the kids up at night.
Limit screen time to two hours per day set boundaries and encourage social interactions. It is also essential to avoid screen time at least 1 hour before bedtime.
How much sleep is enough?
Children should have at least 9 to 11 hours of uninterrupted sleep. It is an essential part of everyone’s routine and an indispensable part of a healthy lifestyle. Studies have shown that kids who regularly get an adequate amount of sleep have improved attention, behavior, learning, memory, and overall mental and physical health. Not getting enough sleep can lead to high blood pressure, obesity, and even depression.
Striking the right balance between physical activity, screen time, and sleep may become challenging especially during the school break where children are not required to follow any routines. But keeping to a regular bedtime routine is well worth the effort and will help make the holidays an enjoyable experience for the whole family.
At ProActiv Sports, we understand how vital exercise is for children’s development, hence our programmes are tailored to serve as solutions to parents and promote an active lifestyle for children all-year-round. Check out our programmes here and sign up for a free trial.
Will is one of the founders of Sport4Kids (now ProActiv Sports) in Hong Kong and was the driving force behind bringing it to Singapore in 2014. Will obtained a degree in Sports Science and Health, from Dublin City University and has vast experience coaching children and adults of all level and abilities. Will is experienced at coaching in a wide variety of sports with a particular interest in Soccer, Basketball and Gaelic Football. He is also a very keen sportsman having represented Ireland in underage basketball and Gaelic Football.