Sleep Awareness Month and Beyond: The Importance of Sleep
No matter our age, a good night’s rest is critical to our mental and physical health. March is Sleep Awareness Month. Even though it is nearly over, it is always a good time to talk about rest and health.
Understanding Sleep Awareness Month
Sleep Awareness Month is a time dedicated to recognizing the importance of sleep. Researchers have found that, during sleep, people tend to strengthen the emotional components of a memory. This may even help to stimulate the creative process.
On the flip side of these benefits, sleeping less than seven or eight hours a night is linked to an increased risk of heart attack and strokes. Believe it or not, not getting a proper night’s rest can be detrimental to anyone’s health. That includes children.
Sleep and Children
For new parents, the sleep patterns of toddlers and babies may be concerning. It can be difficult to wrangle these little ones into the bed or crib. In the past, we wrote a full article about tips for safer infant sleep. We recommend a full read and further research to truly stay in the spirit of Sleep Awareness Month. For those short on time, the American Academy of Pediatrics has some specific guidelines that will help to ensure your baby’s safety. These tips are important to take note of because, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), many parents never learn about proper sleep safety.
Babies Should Always Sleep on Their Backs
Placing babies on their side means that they may roll over, increasing the chance for suffocation. Instead, keep them on their backs. It is the safest plan for Sleep Awareness Month and beyond.
A Firm Mattress is Better for the Baby
A firm mattress may seem uncomfortable, but it is safest for the baby. Additionally, soft or memory foam surfaces have a tendency to form to our bodies, leaving an indentation in which the baby can suffocate should they roll over. Remember, the key is to keep little ones on their backs.
Keep the Sleep Environment Clear
Another important tip includes keeping various objects out of their sleep environment. For very young children, don’t put stuffed animals or extra blankets in their bassinet or crib. The sleep surface should be completely bare. No padding, pillows, toys or blankets should be near the baby when they sleep.
Share the Room, Not the Bed
It is a good idea to keep your newborn in the room with you. However, it is equally smart to not share a bed with them. Sadly, sharing a bed increases the likelihood of suffocation, strangulation, and entrapment.
What About Inclined Sleepers?
As many of our readers know by now, inclined sleepers are not safe. Recently, we reported product recall news of an inclined sleeper by Fisher-Price. This may just be one brand, but parents and caregivers are shifting away from these products altogether.
Put simply, they are a bit too risky. There is a far-too-common strangulation hazard if the child is not properly strapped into the device. Beyond that, it might not be worth the worry for tired caregivers who just need a break. As part of Sleep Awareness Month, it is time to decide that inclined sleepers are simply not a good idea.
The point of this month is to raise awareness of the value of sleep. Take some time to adjust your schedule and get some much needed shut-eye.