Did you know one of the best gifts you could give your child is the ability to sleep?
Sleep is the only thing we do that has the biggest positive overall impact on our bodies and our brain.
It is responsible for controlling our appetite and stablising our blood sugars, supporting our immune system and preventing infection. Helping us to learn both scholarly facts and motor skills by storing and making sense of our memories. Sleep enables us to keep our emotions on an even keel and make logical and creative decisions. Sleep in effect makes us happier, healthier and brighter.
Here are Millpond’s top tips to help your child sleep well
Get your routine right
30 to 40 minutes before your child goes to bed carry out the same series of steps every night – make this routine your bedtime ritual. Having a regular routine at about the same time every night means your child’s body will start to prepare for sleep as soon as you start this process.
The lead up to bedtime
About an hour before your child goes to sleep have quiet time. Tidy away the toys and turn off the TV. Research has shown light from computers, iPads etc. can interfere with the production of the sleep hormone melatonin.
Food for sleep
If your child is hungry at this time, avoid sugary foods and drinks. Instead offer foods that contain the amino acid tryptophan that causes sleepiness. The best snacks should contain carbohydrates and protein and are found in foods such as chicken or turkey with brown bread, peanut butter on whole grain cereal or low sugar cereal and milk.
Have a warm and relaxing bath lasting no longer than 10 minutes.
Keeping the bath to a maximum of 10 minutes means bath time doesn’t become a stimulating play time. The added bonus is coming out of the warm water allows the body to cool quickly triggering the sleep hormone melatonin.
Straight to bed
Then go straight into your child’s bedroom; going back into the living area at this time will lose the focus and magic of the routine and make your child think it’s time to play again.
Pre dim the lights in the bedroom. Dim light is another trigger for melatonin production.
Dress for bed
Have their night clothes ready for your return from the bathroom so they can quickly get dressed and climb into bed.
Read a story and have a cuddle and kiss goodnight then tuck them in with their favourite soft toy so they are warm and cosy.
Now that they’re drowsy, leave the bedroom so that they learn to fall asleep independently.
RGN, RM, DIP HV.
Founder Millpond Sleep Clinic