10 ways to help kids enjoy a better night's sleep
Feel like you’ve tried everything to help your kids nod off?
When counting sheep just doesn’t work for your little one, you might need to get creative and try something new. And whether it’s making changes around their bedroom or setting up new pre-bed routines, there are plenty of ideas you can try.
So if your little one is struggling to get to the land of nod, here are ten ideas to help them enjoy a better night’s sleep…
1. Try a weighted blanket
If your little one can’t switch off at night, you could try a weighted blanket. The heavy sensation of a weighted blanket can ease any physical symptoms of anxiety and help kids feel calm and ready for sleep.
As a weighted blanket mimics the feeling of being held or hugged, your little one can drift off feeling extra safe and secure. You’ll end up wanting one for yourself, too!
2. Stick to soothing lighting
Overly bright or artificial blue lighting isn’t ideal for a great night’s sleep. It can throw off our biological clock, as bright lighting tricks our brains into thinking it’s still daytime. And that means it takes much longer for kids to wind down and switch off before bed.
So if your youngster is struggling to sleep, it could be time to switch up their bedroom lighting. Make sure any bright or LED lights are switched off before bed and stick to warm and yellowish hues to create a calming atmosphere.
The Taillet table lamp (below) creates a warm and cosy glow – perfect for popping on the bedside table to light up those pre-bed stories.
3. Make bedtime cosy with a mattress protector
If it’s a not-so comfy mattress that’s keeping your youngster up at night, you’ll need to make their bed a cosier place to sleep. And if buying a brand new mattress is off the cards, a cosy mattress protector does just the job – for a fraction of the cost.
Not only does a mattress protector add a layer of comfort, but it also keeps the bed bugs away and protects the mattress against accidental spills.
The mattress protector by Panda London (below) is naturally hypoallergenic too, so it’s ideal for kids who struggle with sensitive skin. And it means there’ll be no more pesky allergies keeping your little one awake at night…
4. Make sure bedding is breathable and light
Is your little one too hot to sleep comfortably? If your child is tossing and turning during the summer, consider whether you could change their bedding.
First, make sure your child’s duvet has a light tog. During the summer months, it’s good to stick to a duvet tog of 4.5 to prevent overheating at night. Then, consider whether their duvet is light and breathable. Bamboo duvets are designed to feel lightweight and are naturally thermo-regulating. In other words, they help your kids stick to a comfortable body temperature!
And for the duvet cover, bamboo or cotton fabric is best for keeping cool.
5. Clear the bedroom from clutter
A cluttered bedroom is bad for sleep.
Don’t believe me? A study by New York’s St. Lawrence University found that people who have a messy bedroom take longer to sleep than those with tidy rooms. So, there it is – a cluttered bedroom could be the reason behind your youngster’s poor sleep!
Since keeping kids’ rooms tidy is easier said than done, make life simple with a storage bench. With roomy compartments, you can easily stash away any sleep-ruining clutter in minutes.
6. Mindful relaxation before bed
If it’s a busy mind that’s keeping your little one up, try adding a bit of mindfulness to their bedtime routine.
Some pre-bed meditation can help kids get any worries out of their system that might keep them awake at night. With soothing ‘sleep stories’ on wellbeing apps like Calm, you can pop on a calming tale to help kids imagine a different world and drift off to dreamland.
And when all else fails, make sure your kiddo gives their favourite teddy bear a cuddle. Studies have shown that cuddling a soft toy can help soothe anxiety and release some happy hormones – helping kids to chill out and relax before bed.
7. Banish screens before bedtime
Looking at screens before bed is a big no-no. Thanks to the overstimulating blue light, it can keep kids up way past their bedtime – long after they put their phone down.
So, make sure kids hand over those devices at least an hour before bed. And if your child is old enough to have their own TV in their room, make sure you remove their remote each night.
Or, a high sleeper bed means you can position your child’s TV underneath their bed. So no matter how much kids want to watch their favourite shows, they won’t be able to so much peek at the TV once they’re tucked up in bed.
8. Reduce noise and light levels
Whether it’s car headlights or those lighter summer evenings, kids can find it tricky to sleep when their bedroom isn’t totally dark. Plus, distracting street noises can easily wake up kids during the night – especially if your youngster is a light sleeper.
Heavy blackout blinds are ideal for reducing distracting light and noise. Failing that, a sleep mask and earplugs will also do just the job!
9. Make sure their bed is for sleep only
If kids play games or do their homework in bed, they might struggle to switch off when it’s bedtime. That’s because their brain won’t automatically associate their bed with sleep – because they’re used to getting up to all kinds of other activities in bed!
To help your kids get a good night’s sleep, make sure they use their bed for one thing only – and that’s sleep. If kids head to bed before they’re ready to sleep, they can spend too much time lying awake. And that can harm their mental association with sleeping in bed.
So instead of letting your kids play in bed, why not create a designated play corner? Simply pop a bean bag, teepee, and a heap of toys in a corner of the room to create a spot where kids can relax or let off steam. This should help tire them out before heading to bed.
10. Read a story together before bed
Reading a book before bed is a timeless way to get sleepy. Not only does it tire out the eyes, but it also creates a comforting bedtime routine. When kids get into the swing of reading every night, they instinctively know it’s time to switch off and relax when it comes to storytime.