How to help your kids to get better sleep
Sleep does many things. Mainly, it replenishes glycogen levels in the brain, so that when we wake up, we have the energy to power the thoughts that get us through another day (sort of like putting fuel in a car). Some animals, like dolphins, have evolved a way to send half of the brain to sleep at a time – this means that they never fully lose consciousness, which is perhaps the only superpower left unclaimed by the writers of the big screen superhero movies. Humans, however, are not so lucky. We need sleep.
Despite the overwhelming benefits of putting your brain on charge overnight (which include keeping a healthy heart, regulating weight and emotion, reducing stress, and improving memory), children tend to have other ideas about 40 winks – namely, they hate sleep. Perhaps try printing a list of the benefits for their bedroom wall – and encourage your child to type up and print out their dreams, teaching them how to use technology as well as helping them to look forward to sleep (see here for ink that’s probably cheaper than most ink cartridges). Let’s take a look at some other ways to help your child to get better sleep.
Switch off devices one hour before bedtime
You’ve probably read all about the negative effects of the dreaded ‘blue light’ emitted by devices. But being bored of the facts doesn’t stop the facts being true. You see, to our brains, the blue light bears an uncanny resemblance to daylight. Strange, I know, but there we have it. Why should this matter? Because the signal from our eyes to our brains is that despite our internal clock telling us it must be getting close to bedtime soon, it is in fact midday, so, wake up. And your brain responds by suppressing the production of melatonin – the sleep hormone. If you want your children to sleep well, the no devices for one hour before bed rule is advice that you can take to the bank.
Go to bed laughing
Contrary to the belief that mental overstimulation before bed might result in your child being unable to sleep, going to bed with worries or fears is much worse. So, no scary films. Think more along the lines of Disney films or TV shows that kids can’t get enough of. Remove stress and send them to bed happy to help their eyes to close.
Make a list
Nobody on the face of this earth has a to-do list longer than a child who knows bedtime is minutes away. All of a sudden, they have a million things they have to do. Ask them to make a list – this way they won’t be kept awake thinking about all the things they have to try to remember in the morning.
Carla is the founder of MyBump2Baby. Carla has a huge passion for linking together small businesses and growing families. Carla’s humorous, non-filtered honesty has won the hearts of thousands of parents throughout the UK.
She has previously written for the Metro and made appearances on BBC News, BBC 5 live, LBC etc. Carla is a finalist for Blogger of the Year award with Simply Ladies inc. Carla is also the host of the popular Fifty Shades of Motherhood podcast and The MyBump2Baby Expert podcast.