A key part of sleep, is the environment in which it happens. We all know that a quiet calm environment can help sleep but what else should we be doing?
Our blog this week includes lots of hints and tips that you can use to help them to have a restful and long sleep.
1. Embrace the dark
And by dark, we mean 10/10 darkness.
Fear of the dark is not something that little ones have, this is a learned fear that doesn’t happen until they are well into their toddler years. By keeping the room pitch black, they will not be stimulated by anything that is going on around them for example a toy or wall sticker.
Although many bedrooms have blackout curtains, often this isn’t enough as light comes in around the edges. A Gro-blind, or even card over the window will make a huge difference to those daytime naps and as the days get longer.
2. Cool but not cold
We all want to be cosy in bed, however by making sure bedrooms are not too hot, we can help everyone get a better nights sleep.
Babies and children’s room should be around 16 to 20 degrees. Make sure they are not overdressed for bed and babies should never wear hats whilst sleeping at home as they are unable to self-regulate their body temperature.
If they are in a sleeping bag, consider what tog is relevant for different times of the year.
Naturally our bodies are at their coolest around 4am, so if you keep having wakeups around that time, it may be that your little one is getting a bit cold.
3. Cots are for sleeping
Obvious right? However, how many times have you popped them in the cot with a couple of toys, whilst you put clothes away, had a shower, or tidied their room.
It is really important that cots are associated with sleep and not play. There should be no toys in the cot, and the Lullaby Trust recommend the cot should be empty apart from one comforter or soft toy for those aged 12 months and over.
By removing all distractions from the cot (including mobiles), little ones can be given the best chances of going to sleep.
4. Noise for night-time
None of us can sleep with a lot of noise around us, and little ones are the same, so avoid too much noise in the lead up to bedtime. Keep it calm and relaxed and it will help everyone start to wind down.
However, some noise can be beneficial. White noise can be great at helping little ones sleep. It can also mask busy roads, siblings, or creaky floorboards. It is important that it is true white noise (and not a hairdryer) and that it is on all night, and for every sleeping occasion. For families who use white noise, it can also help when you are staying somewhere different as the sleep environment has elements that they recognise.
5. Keep it calm
In the lead up to bedtime, we want little ones to start winding down, realising it is close to bedtime and their bedtime routine. It is important that whilst they may play in their bedroom during the day, they don’t have noisy, or stimulating play in their room before bed.
Before their bath, it is helpful to have a quiet game, with the light dimmed. It will help them start to get relaxed, and also enjoy some 1:1 time with a parent before they say goodnight.
Try not to leave toys out in their bedroom, if it isn’t possible to put them into a toybox or cupboard, cover them with a blanket so they aren’t stimulated by all the fun that their bedroom contains.
By combining all of these hints and tips, it will help little ones (as well as older children and adults) to get a restful nights sleep.