Let’s Talk: Why today’s children sleep worse! – Mamas & Papas IE

€25 off your next order over €250 | Sign up now

Let’s Talk: Why today’s children sleep worse!

Let’s Talk: Why today’s children sleep worse!

More and more scientists are finding links between a human’s sensory needs and their functioning, attention and sleep.

Sensory information is combined in the brain and elicits a response from us.

Nowadays, children experience lower levels of physical activity and, therefore, less sensory stimulation from naturally occurring activities. Using our bodies and having multisensory experiences gives our system a workout, which in turn helps sleep.

Modern children are exercising far less than at any time throughout history. With only 36% meeting the recommendation of 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity per day (NIHR, 2022).

so what has happened that means children aren’t getting active enough?

Ways is a child’s day set up to hinder

Sensory Activity:

  • Having a sedentary school day with limited physical activity and movement can mean children have less opportunity to expend energy and creativity or meet sensory needs. Children tend to be driven between activities, which means they have less opportunity for sensory input and to burn off surplus energy before getting home.

  • Parents are ever more likely to have to work from home and commit to many responsibilities. This can mean that parents are more stretched and less able to provide as much activity as they would like

  • More access to screens and TV can make it harder to drag children away from their dopamine-charged environment and get them actually involved in play and creativity to support their sensory development.

Lack of physical exertion and the associated sensory stimuli is resulting in a possible peak of children sleeping less in our generation. Although so much has changed in the last 50 years, Is it possible that children sleep more poorly due to lack of exertion? In short; yeah!

So what can we do to support children to be more active and therefore expand their sensory experiences each day, to hopefully result in better sleep?

My Practical Sleep Tips:

  • Give lots of opportunities for high-intensity activities after school, such as clubs, playing at the park or walking or cycling home.
  • Consider having places in the home for your child to have sensory experiences, including handing upside down, play fighting, bouncing , and rolling. There are a number
  • of sensory toys, like a bilbo rock/spin chair, that can be used for balancing or spinning to stimulate the proprioceptive system.
  • Consider setting up sensory play baskets to give to children at least once per day. These don’t have to be overly complex, just some simple household items; let their creativity flourish.
  • Get children involved with as many household tasks as possible. They love to be helpful, and this builds their self-efficacy and also burns energy while carrying weighted objects around the house, hanging laundry or loading and unloading shopping. They are capable of helping in a developmentally appropriate way with almost all household tasks. Gardening, vacuuming, recycling are all great ways to use large muscles and expend energy.
  • Walk and cycle as much as possible, it’s good to assume children cannot be given enough exercise.
  • Involve your child with family exercise and have ample opportunity to get in fresh air together.
  • Allow your child access to things like resistance bands to build their strength. You can play with these together or place them on an anchored household object to pull and stretch against. Higher-effort play like this is great for little ones.
  • Consider your use of screens and tablets in the home. Where might you be able to cut down? It is common for parents to be shocked by how well their children adapt and fill their time very quickly after limiting device usage!

Take a look at our blog on sensory needs and sleep to explore more activities across the ages!

For advice and support head to The Little Sleep Company website

Sleep Accessories

Baby Monitors

Night Lights

Baby Bedding

Dreampods & Sleepbags

Let's Talk Sleep

With Imogen

We’ve teamed up with Imogen from The Little Sleep Company to offer expert baby sleep support for parents, allowing families to truly flourish.

Hurry! Our SALE ends in: