healthy sleep

by Megan Mora Fuentes

World Sleep Day, an annual celebration of sleep and a call to action on sleep-related issues, is March 18 this year. But it may be hard to “celebrate” sleep when it feels like we never get enough. Browse this week’s Homeschool Living for some great ways to teach the health benefits of sleep to your kids, encourage healthy sleep habits, and assess and plan for your family’s sleep needs.

Risks to Healthy Sleep

There is no debate about the harmful effects of sleep deprivation. This infographic lists the many ways sleep deprivation is damaging to your cognitive function, the regions of the brain affected by sleep deprivation, the risks associated with sleep deprivation, and the myriad other dangers of sleep deprivation.

The Sleep for Kids website has materials that teach students the importance of giving their bodies rest through sleep. The information included is broken down into these subsections to help teach healthy sleep habits: Why We Sleep, How Sleep Works, Sleep and You, Can’t Sleep?, Dreams, Bring out the Stars, as well as Games and Puzzles.

Healthy Sleep Protection

Despite the mass of research touting the benefits of device-free sleep, about 72% of children ages 6 to 17 sleep with an electronic device in their room. As our social, school, and work lives become increasingly digital, it becomes even more important to limit our exposure to electronic devices and set healthy sleep boundaries. Try these tips for device-free sleep from The Sleep Foundation.

Some of the most difficult hands to wrangle cell phones out of may be your teen’s! Try designating a space in a common area of your home as a cell phone/device charging station and implement a rule that requires all devices be put up for the night. Set a “bedtime” for your family’s electronic devices and spend the last hour or two of the evening device free. A fun way to help involve the kids in this rule could be to construct a charging/docking station together, using simple ideas like these from Driven by Decor and One Good Thing.

This article from Sonlight highlights the unique opportunity homeschoolers have to meet their children’s need for adequate and restorative sleep.

A final thought: we will be turning our clocks forward at the beginning of Daylight Saving Time on March 13. Check out this article for some information on the effects it will have on your sleep and for some tips to help you and the kids cope with the Daylight Saving Time change. And then go enjoy the extra sunshine!

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