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Recording of Mother’s Voice More Effective Than Smoke Alarm, Study Finds

Analysis by Dr. Joseph Mercola

If your child is a sound sleeper who doesn’t stir even with a loud alarm clock ringing, then it’s possible they won’t wake up if the fire alarm happens to go off, either. To circumvent this before a horror like this occurs, researchers in the U.S. have studying different methods of waking children — and much to their delight, found that a recording of their own mother’s voice was three times more likely to wake children than the alarm.

The researchers now want to take the next step to see if it’s only their mother’s voice they wake to, or if they could “package” any mom’s — or dad’s — voice as a new type of alarm, The Guardian reports.

While we wait to see whether smoke alarms could soon come in a variety of voices, one important step to help children wake when it’s time in the morning is to address proper sleeping habits. Unfortunately, like way too many adults, children today have disrupted sleep patterns, so much so that they’re basically sleep-deprived. This is one reason so many parents are giving their kids melatonin in an attempt to help them sleep.

We do know that if your child has a unique medical need that makes nighttime sleep difficult — autism is an example — melatonin can help is likely safer than prescription sleep aids. Among children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and chronic sleep onset insomnia, melatonin was also found to be an effective therapy in 88 percent of cases even when used long-term, with no serious adverse events reported.

But that said, most children should be able to get a sound night’s sleep without a sleep aid of any kind. This is where proper sleep hygiene comes in. You can “prep” your child for a good night’s sleep by limiting screen time, especially at night, and discontinuing it completely at least one hour before bedtime.

Attention to light and darkness, at the appropriate times of day, is also important. Your body requires exposure to bright daylight, especially in the early morning, to produce healthy amounts of melatonin each night. Getting sunlight in the morning is one way to help reset your circadian clock daily.

Ten to 15 minutes of morning sunlight sends a strong message that it's time to rise and shine. In this way, your body is less likely to be confused by weaker light signals later in the day. My rule of thumb is, if there is enough light in your bedroom at night to see your hand in front of your face, then there is too much light.

It's important to remember, too, that children sleep better when parents take an active role in creating a positive sleep environment. According to NSF, "When parents set and enforce sleep rules, children sleep longer. This includes setting and enforcing an every-night bedtime.

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