Your child’s bedroom is playroom, castle, and a safe place to sleep at night. Many kids spend a lot of time in their rooms, so it’s important to make sure those rooms are healthful places to sleep, rest and play, especially if your child has asthma. A few things can help make your child’s bedroom a welcoming, healthy haven:
Limit Electronics Before Bedtime
Quality sleep is vital to health, especially for the youngest members of our families. Many experts recommend curtailing the use of iPads, smartphones and other electronics in the bedroom before sleep. These devices emit white light that is akin to daylight. As diurnal creatures, our bodies take this white light as a signal that it is time to be alert and awake. In one study, participants who read an iPad for four hours before bedtime had lower melatonin levels overnight and reported feeling more tired during the daytime. However, when participants read a book in dim light, they were more able to fall asleep and reported feeling more refreshed. By eliminating this bright white light at bedtime, it is easier to fall into the deep sleep needed to function.
Minimize Allergens in the Room
When it comes to preventing allergy attacks, asthma attacks or other breathing problems, removing the triggers is one of the most important steps you can take. In the bedroom, this means taking out sources of allergens like dust, animal dander, and dust mites.
It’s estimated that dust mites are involved in 50 to 80 percent of asthma cases. Mites can also cause rashes and skin irritation in many people. To block them, use dust mite resistant mattress covers and pillow cases. Wash bedding often in hot water.
Stuffed animals give many kids comfort, but they can harbor dust that exacerbates allergies and other respiratory conditions. You can balance comfort and health by limiting each child to two or three favorites that are washed regularly.
Pets in the bedroom can be another thorny issue. For kids who are allergic, cuddling with Fido can mean higher levels of irritants and lower quality sleep. Have your child tested to find out exactly what he or she is allergic to. If it turns out your little one is allergic to the household pet, you will need to limit or restrict exposure of your household pet to your child’s bedroom.
Carpets are another area that can harbor dust, mold and other allergens. Consider eliminating them from the bedroom to make it easier to keep floors clean. Alternately, vacuum regularly using a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter.
Pick Bedding That Is Just Right
Bedding that is not quite right can make sleep elusive. Synthetics tend to trap heat, making cotton a better bet for good sleep. If your child has sensitive skin, pick a mild, scent-free detergent for their bedding. Wash every week to eliminate dust, mold and other toxins that can inhibit good health. If you live in an area with large seasonal changes in temperature, pick bedding to fit both so that your child is comfortable year round.
Bring in Fresh Air
In newer houses, drafts are rarely a problem. In fact, many houses can be too airtight, leading to lower indoor air quality. As long as the air quality outside is high, open windows to get some air circulation and to help remove indoor air toxins. Be careful with open windows and small children; about 5000 are seen in emergency rooms each year because of falls out open windows. If your children are young, open windows should have safety devices or only be opened with adult supervision.
House plants can also help improve air quality. Good options for removal of indoor pollutants include aloe, spider plant, and snake plant. These plants also make the room more restful and appealing. Older children can develop responsibility by caring for plants in their room.
Use an Air Purifier at Night
Studies have shown that using an air purifier at bedtime, close to the headboard end of the bed, increases overall device performance and reduces asthma symptoms. It’s best to use an air purifier that removes the full spectrum of allergens in the air, from large particles like pet dander to small ones like mold or volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Currently, only the Molekule air purifier is designed with the technology to address the full spectrum of asthma triggers. Also, there are a few air purifiers that you should avoid if your child has asthma, such as ozone generators or ionic air purifiers. Learn more about air purifiers and asthma, along with what to look for if your child suffers from asthma.
Each of these elements can make your child’s bedroom a sanctuary that supports health and wellness, which is especially important if he or she suffers from asthma. By adjusting a few habits and switching to the most healthful options, you can significantly improve the air your child breathes and the quality of his or her sleep.