Today's modern families are constantly on the go, with busy schedules that affect everything from healthy eating to the amount of time they spend together. When you throw in all the demands of parenthood, one area that really suffers is the amount of sleep that both the children and the parents are getting. Sleep deprivation can lead to heart disease, diabetes, obesity, anxiety, and depression. Sleep is a time for our bodies and minds to recover and reset, and that is especially true for young children who are learning new things everyday. May is Better Sleep Month and a good time for families to make getting enough sleep a priority in their lives.

1. Establish a Routine

Kids need some structure, especially when it comes to sleep. Set a regular time for your kids to go to bed every night so that they come to expect it.

2. Start When They're Young

Establishing good habits early on makes it that much easier to get compliance from your kids as they get older.

3. Stand Your Ground

Being gentle but firm is the key to any parent's survival, especially when it involves healthy lifestyle choices. Don't succumb to their resistance.

4. Reduce Screen Time

This is especially true right before bedtime. Too much time in front of the TV or computer can affect young brains and make sleep difficult.

5. Make Time to Wind Down

Set limits on evening activities, and allow for time to wind down and relax before bedtime. Being active at night will make sleep difficult.

6. Don't Stress Them Out

Over-scheduling and stress about school or extra-curricular activities is a huge burden and will keep kids awake at night, so try to avoid stressing them out.

7. Eat Supper at a Reasonable Time

Plan meals so that they are not too close to bedtime because children can get energized by food. Give them at least an hour to digest before going to bed.

8. Avoid Late-Night Snacking

Digestion can interfere with sleep, so avoid snacking, especially when it involves sugary or high-salt snack foods.

9. Eat a Healthy Diet

Processed junk foods are filled with sugar, salt, and fat, which are not only unhealthy, but will charge kids up. Avoid caffeine, and give them water at meals.

10. Set a Good Example

It's hard to sell good sleeping habits when mom and dad don't walk the walk, and adults need sleep just as much as kids do, as every parent will attest to.

If you have questions or concerns about your child's sleep habits, talk to you pediatrician. For more information, visit the website for the National Sleep Foundation and Kid's Health.