5 ways to help children sleep better

5 Sleep Tips for Children

Back to school can often be a time when children find it tricky to settle back into their usual routine. Summer holidays often mean changes in location and bedtimes. New classes and school can give many kids a little anxiety and can mean sleep is restless. Just when you want them to be at their most rested and ready for the new school year. 

  1. Keeping timings the same everyday can help children get back into a routine faster. So though weekend lie ins are tempting it is better to have bedtime and getting up around the same time through the week. Especially if you’re struggling to get back to a routine. 
  2. Screen time is best avoided for at least an hour before bedtime. The blue light from devices can disrupt the natural production of melatonin in the body and make it harder to sleep. For some children it can also cause more bedwetting. Most kids have had a bit more screen time over the holidays it is a great time to draw up and restart house rules on screen time during the term. 
  3. Exercise is usually a great way to make sure children are physically tired and so ready to sleep. Try to avoid it too close to bedtime though. Hopefully we will have some more sunny mornings, a good morning walk or cycle in the sunlight helps to regulate our body clock and melatonin levels. 
  4. Try to avoid discussing worries or plans for the next day around bedtime. It’s better to talk through things earlier in the evening. If your child is struggling with worries at bedtime or lots of thoughts a journal can help, or we’ve found worry dolls useful for younger children. Older children can try an app with meditations or breathing exercises to help sleep. 
  5. Keep your child’s bedrooms cool, quiet and calm. Don’t be temped to overheat them as we get into Autumn, around 16-20 degrees is ideal. A calming quiet environment is best, so avoid too many toys or clutter, even toys can sometimes become scary for children in night time. If your child struggles in the dark, get a low nightlight to ensure they are not overstimulated by light. 

Hopefully we will all be back in to swing of the school routine. If you or your child are struggling with sleep and things are getting better it is probably time to see your doctor and talk it through. 

Dr Lucy Coyne
Coyne Medical