GETTING your little one to sleep can be hard work.
You might think that getting a proper routine is all it takes to get them to the land of nod.
But one sleep expert has revealed that this might not be the case and said there is one mistake parents' might be making as they prepare their kids for bed.
Psychologist and sleep guru Lucy Wolfe said that getting off to sleep is something toddlers in particular struggle with.
She explained: "Developmentally, toddlers start to see the world in a new light and added external elements can feel like your bedtime routine will go out the window.
“From two plus, toddlers are met with huge transitions.
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"They are dropping naps, moving away from dummies and transitioning into a big bed – there are huge changes going on with sleep maturation."
However, she said that how you sell the routine is key and added that you might be making one key mistake when it comes to what you include each night.
"Bath time isn’t always a relaxing experience, it can often be entertaining and not something we need to do every night, so we don’t need to commit it to the routine," she said.
The guru said that when we look at bedtime routines we should try to create a bedtime zone.
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"A bedtime zone is where we create familiarity and a good environment for a sleep experience in the bedroom," she said.
Lucy, who is currently working with family podcast Motherkind and doll brand Baby Annabell added that how well our babies and toddlers sleep has a huge impact on parents’ wellbeing.
She said this can make a huge different to everyone's mood the day after – especially if they have had bad or broken sleep.
The expert said that as part of the bedtime zone, you can introduce play with a favoured doll or toy – which she added can help stimulate the bedtime process.
Lucy's advice on sleep comes after medics warned that older kids who get less than nine hours snooze a night may experience issues with their brain.
The NHS states that most two-year-olds will sleep for 11 to 12 hours at night, with 1 or 2 naps in the daytime.
Children aged 3-5 years should get 11-13 hours sleep a night, with 5-9 year-olds needing 10-11 hours.
Kids aged 10-14 will need between 9 and 9.75 hours kip.
Experts at the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM) said those not getting enough sleep were likely to experience issues such as anxiety, impulsive behaviours and depression.
In those who lacked snooze, there was also a link to cognitive difficulties with memory, problem solving and decision making.
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Prof Wang said: "We found that children who had insufficient sleep, less than nine hours per night, at the beginning of the study had less grey matter or smaller volume in certain areas of the brain responsible for attention, memory and inhibition control compared to those with healthy sleep habits.
“These differences persisted after two years, a concerning finding that suggests long term harm for those who do not get enough sleep.”
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