9 tips to help young children and babies sleep at night
In the summer months, it’s hard for all of us to sleep. You may be struggling in your own hot room and it’s the same for the kids too. And if they’re not sleeping well, you can guarantee you won’t be either.
Here are nine tips to help young kids and babies get a decent summer sleep.
Keep it dark
It’s likely that bedtime will be way before the sun sets in summer. This can prove challenging to the sleep environment you’re trying to create in the room. Blocking the light out before bed and in the early morning with blackout blinds or curtain liners is therefore essential.
Get the temperature right
You want the temperature in the room to be around 18°C to promote decent sleep – a hot room will lead to lighter and more disturbed sleep.
The sleep hormone, melatonin, helps to regulate internal body temperature during sleep, but it’s up to you to keep the external temperature down. Cool the room temperature with a fan and opt for lighter bedding – or none at all.
Choose sleeping clothes wisely
For babies, you can purchase night-lights that will tell you the exact temperature in the room and also provide a guide on what they should be wearing to sleep. This may include just a simple baby grow if it’s over 23°C or a baby grow and a light summer sleeping bag if it’s a little cooler. Remember, the temperature will drop during the night – a baby sleeping bag that you can open and zip back up is ideal.
For older kids, make sure you have specific summer sleeping attire.
Cool with a bedtime bath
Sleep time usually follows bath-time, but where this was once designed to get them warm and snuggly before bed, make it a little colder and use it to cool then down and stop their body temperature rising.
This is ideal for older children, but for babies always ensure the bathwater is at body temperature – around 37°C – as once out their temperatures can quickly drop, even in summer.
Use a cold flannel to cool down during the night
This isn’t essential right before bed – especially if they’ve had a cooling bath – but if they wake in the night too hot, simply rinse a flannel under cool or cold water and dab down their forehead or feet. Both these body parts are body temperature regulators.
Make sure you have the most-appropriate mattress
It’s important to have a mattress that works with their body and cools them down in summer, rather than doing the opposite. For example, look for one with Coolmax technology which will reduce overheating and provide the optimum sleeping temperature for your little one.
Get them to bed at the right time
For older children, this one can be so hard as summer evenings promise so much fun and games. But they need the right amount of sleep. According to the UK Sleep Council, children need the following hours per day:
- 1 – 12 months old: 14 – 15 hours per day
- 1 – 3 years old: 12 – 14 hours per day
- 3 – 6 years old: 10 – 12 hours per day
- 7 – 12 years old: 10 – 11 hours per day
This means their bedtime and wake up times need to be set and stuck to. This can definitely be a challenge especially in the school holidays (or when you’re abroad), but it will be well worth it in the long run.
Feed them the best foods
For toddlers and slightly older children, you’ll want to encourage them to snack on foods that contain a specific amino acid called tryptophan which is thought to make them drowsy. Go for bananas, warm milk, oat biscuits or wholegrain cereal.
Stick to your bedtime routine and encourage relaxation
Encouraging relaxation is so important before bed in the exciting summer months, so build this into your bedtime routine. Once you have the room dark and at the ideal temperature, read to them, encourage them to read themselves or listen to some relaxing music or sounds together.
The summer is a time for fun, family-time, and hopefully sleep!