A good night’s sleep is one of the most important things for a growing child. Yet, at an age where they are packed with energy and learning every minute, it can also be one of the hardest things for them to get! Coupled with the stressful lives of many parents, it’s a recipe for miserable, tired kids and panicked parents. Today, Team Snorble has rounded up five top tips to help your child sleep better at night, banishing those bad nights for good.
Many children fall asleep within 20 minutes of going to bed, but it heavily depends on how sleepy they are and what they did that day. Establishing set bedtime routines can help ensure they ‘get into the mood’ to sleep a lot more easily.
It’s normal for children to wake a little at night, but typically they won’t remember it. Unless, of course, they get into the habit of waking up fully to read, play, or come to you. This is partially what drives the Snorble® concept, as they will help your child learn to soothe themselves back to sleep quickly without encouraging them to wakefulness.
Snorble will also keep you up-to-date with your child’s needs and sleep patterns, helping you guide them into happier, healthier bedtimes for life. What else can you do to help them sleep? Let’s take a look!
Tip #1 - Routine
With many adults having disordered sleep themselves, nighttime routine is often something we struggle with. Did you know that lack of structure can impact your child’s sleep pattern too? It’s not just about keeping a consistent bedtime, either, although that does help. Consistent sleep and wake times are critical to good sleep. But so is a broader structure.
Create a ‘wind down’ routine that’s the same every night. Possibly bath time, a nice warm cup of milk, a story (or twenty minutes of reading time, depending on age), and then lights out. This will help keep your child’s circadian rhythm in a pattern and encourage healthy sleep.
Tip #2 - Wind-Down
Your new bedtime routine will be part of this, but it’s also important to encourage winding down in the evening on a broader scale. This means no last-minute homework or frantic scramble to pack for school. For older children, you may also need to enforce a ‘gadgets off’ policy an hour before bed.
Encourage your child to listen to gentle music, set aside some time for mindful breathing, or just dim the lights and read a little, so their body can start to develop their own sleep cues. Their Snorble will be a key part of these activities, too!
Tip #3 - Create a Calm Bedroom
Children’s bedrooms can be very hectic spaces, packed with bright lights and loud sounds. It’s the last thing to encourage sleep! Screens of all sorts, from phones to TVs, emit blue light, which interferes with our production of the sleep hormone, melatonin. Bright overhead bulbs have a similar effect. Noise doesn’t actively disrupt the sleep cycle, but will keep your child focused and awake instead of sleepy. Nightlights are fine, but make sure they are dim and gentle.
Tip #4 - Be Careful with Food
No one sleeps well on a full tummy, but going to bed hungry keeps you awake, too. Remember that children, especially younger children, grow in their sleep and have different energy needs to you. Making certain that they eat dinner with enough time for digestion before bed is important. If they get a little hungry, a protein snack like a glass of milk and banana can help settle them.
Tip #5 - Watch Out for Sugar and Caffeine
While urban legend heavily ties sugar to overstimulated kids, the problem is more subtle. Sugar itself doesn’t ‘hype’ children, but the spikes and dips to their blood sugar creates a very unhealthy roller coaster that can throw off their sleep cycle. While your child probably isn’t mainlining espressos, hidden caffeine in colas, ‘kiddie teas,’ and chocolate can be a problem for kids too. It’s important that both be limited or avoided in the late afternoon and early evening.
And there you have it! Introduce these 5 tips into your child's bedtime routine to improve their sleep and reap the benefits with a happier, healthier, and well-rested child. Don’t forget to bring Snorble along on the journey, so you can stay informed about your child’s individual sleep needs and patterns too!