Sleep well in the summer
We love the warm sunny days with the chance to get outside with our children and enjoy time together. But at the end of a long day playing how can you ensure your child has a good nights sleep in the heat of a sticky bedroom?
Cooling the bedroom
- Lighter or no bedding
- Light cotton sleep wear
- During the day time to help build-up of heat, shut the curtains or blinds and keep the windows closed if the temperature outside is hotter outside than inside. During the night, open the windows if the temperature outside becomes cooler.
- Place a fan at a low level near a window to circulate the cooler air at night.
- A cool flannel or towel on a fore head or feet. Cool feet help to keep the rest of the body cooler.
- A cool shower then rest on top of the bed to dry off – this will help to reduce the body and induce sleepiness
- A spray of cool water from a clean plant spray bottle- keep by the bedside to use at bedtime and over night.
Darken the bedroom
Our biological clocks are regulated by light. Getting the balance of enough dark time in the summer months can be difficult. Make sure your child has plenty of exposure to light during the day (not direct sun) and ensure their bedroom is as dark as you possibly make it at night. Darkness triggers the production of the “sleep hormone” melatonin.
Black out blinds are invaluable for blocking out bright morning light and long summer evenings. Try to make sure your child is away from bright light an hour before sleep. This includes all screens and bright bathroom lights too.
Wind down for sleep
Have a wind down time prior to sleep. You should encourage your child to change their activities to something relaxing in the hour or so before bedtime e.g. read to your child or listen to a story tape together.
Have clear and consistent boundaries at bedtime, when you say two stories mean two stories, if your child knows what to expect they are less likely to argue.
Aim to carry out the same series of steps every night, about 30 minutes before your child goes to bed:
- Have a warm relaxing bath lasting about 10 minutes, a pre-bed bath should not be a play time.
- Go straight from the bathroom into the bedroom – do not go back into the living area.
- Dim the lights: this will help with the production of the sleep hormone melatonin.
- Read one to two stories.
- Say good night and leave the bedroom.
Your child should be asleep about 15 minutes later.
If your child wants a bedtime snack encourage a snack of foods that contain tryptophan. This amino acid is thought to make some people drowsy such as a banana, warm milk, an oat biscuit, whole grain cereal ,chicken and turkey all contain good levels.
Regular outside exercise
If possible encourage regular periods of outdoor play 20 – 30 minutes three or four times a week. Research has shown increased physical exercise promotes sleep; however aim not to exercise within 3 hours of bedtime.
Reward children with praise every morning when they have kept to the “rules”. A special trip out or small reward will do wonders do encourage them to keep going.
If you would like help with your child’s sleep please call us 0208 444 0040 or email us for a free assessment.