May is the unofficial start of summer with longer days of sunshine. It sounds perfect except that our kids still need their sleep. Are you finding it difficult to get children to sleep when it is still light outside? It is hard to bring them inside to get ready for bed when we would all rather play outside another hour or two! Here are a few expert tips from Dr. Oexman of the Sleep to Live Institute on how to get children to sleep in summer.
5 Tips on How to Get Children to Sleep in Summer
- Soak Before Sleep – Nighttime baths: A wind down routine is crucial to get children to sleep. A great option is warm baths or showers before bedtime, which help increase the quality of sleep. The warm water helps decrease our core body temperature, which is necessary for good sleep.
- No Electronics Before Bed: This means no gadgets in the bedroom at bedtime (phones, videogames, etc…) The blue light from those devices inhibits melatonin production, which we all need to fall asleep. Gadgets also offer an excuse for kids to stay up after mom and dad say goodnight.
- Snacks Before Bedtime: Dr. Oexman suggested carb rich foods rather than fat-rich foods before bed to get children to sleep. Carb rich foods help produce melatonin, which we need to fall asleep and stay asleep.
- A half of a bagel
- Seeds/Nuts: Like sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds & peanuts help to produce melatonin
- Yogurt: A cup of yogurt is a healthy idea and helps to product melatonin
- Cherry Juice: For a drink before bed avoid caffeine – instead opt for cherry juice helps to produce melatonin
- Prep for Bed: have your children spend at least 30 minutes preparing for bed, but one hour is optimal. Make sure all electronics are off and dim the lights. Your child can read books or you can read to them. One of my favorite things to do is spend time talking with my kids. Talk about the day, what you and your children need to do tomorrow, and make plans for the future.
- Ready the Bedroom – Environment Counts: The bedroom should be designed for sleep!
- If you and your children have different bedtimes, have your children sleep with a “white noise” machine to drown-out sound from those that are still awake. Check out Graco Sweet Slumber White Noise and Sound Machine or Pure White Noise CD: White Noise Machine Alternative
- Keep the room temperature cool, around 68 degrees.
- Make sure the room is dark. If your child needs a night light, a blue light night light is best.
- Make sure that your child is sleeping on a mattress that is supportive for their body type to get children to sleep. Most parents spend very little money on mattresses for their kids, thinking that they can sleep on “anything and anywhere.” Kids actually do sleep very well which puts them at more risk for developing orthopedic problems due to poor support for their back, hips and shoulders
I know that there are several tips that I will be implementing this week to get my children to sleep. I plan to add a white noise machine, a blue light night light, and cherry juice! My kids sometimes listen to music or books on CD at night time but I think a white noise machine would be better. Plus, they still like to keep a hall light on but I think a blue light night light would be much better. Good luck getting your children to sleep this summer. If you have additional tips, please share with comments below.