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An attendee participates in one of the Health Fair’s brain activities. (Photo by Shantella Y. Sherman)

Pediatric neurologist Raquel Bernier offered AFRO readers a number of ways to improve sleep hygiene in children that transition well into adulthood and ward off chronic illness.  Good sleep hygiene requires a commitment to getting both a consistent number of hours’ rest and maintaining a regular sleep schedule.

“Routines are necessary for young people and anything that is mentally stimulating should be shut off an hour or two before bedtime to allow your child’s mind and body a chance to relax.  We should think of the bedroom as a space for quiet and sleep, only,” Bernier said.

Bernier recommends regulating room temperature and in cases where a bedroom is shared by more than one child who have different bedtimes, consider staggering bedtimes to ensure that one person does not keep the other from falling asleep.

Additionally, the Mayo Clinic offers the following:

*Cut out the caffeine at least six hours before bedtime

*Be easy on the liquor before bed – it will wake you up in the morning

*Rest before bedtime in to attempt to reduce your stress level

*Keep your bedroom dark and comfortable

*Try not to go to bed hungry, but avoid heavy meals before bedtime.

*Don’t let pets sleep in the bed with you –they may be the reason behind why you keep waking up.

*No television-watching, eating or talking about major issues – the bed is for sleep and sex only.

*Limit daytime naps to between 10 and 30 minutes

*Include exercise in daily activities.