Tips For Helping Children Fall Asleep and Stay Asleep
A good starting point is to establish a relaxing nighttime routine for your child. This is especially important for helping very young children fall asleep. The nightly routine might include taking a bath, putting on a favorite pair of pajamas, brushing teeth and possibly reading them a bedtime story after they’re under the covers and snugly tucked in. Most children find a regular routine calming and comforting, since they’re aware of what’s about to happen. It probably won’t take long before the child automatically starts to become sleepy as the nightly routine begins. Below are more tips for helping your child fall asleep.
- Turn Off Electronic Devices at Least an Hour Before Bedtime. The blue light emitted by a TV, tablet, smartphone and similar devices interfere with the body’s production of melatonin, which is a naturally occurring substance that helps regulate the human body’s sleeping and waking cycles. Most people become naturally sleepy when their melatonin levels are highest. As little as half an hour’s TV or other screen time close to bedtime, however, can be enough to keep your child awake for an extra 2 hours or more. Phones, tablets and video game consoles should be kept out of the child’s bedroom during the night.
- Create an Environment Conducive to Sleep. Cortisol, like melatonin, is another naturally occurring hormone, but has the opposite effect. Called the “stress hormone”, cortisol helps the body respond to danger or stressful situations. When cortisol levels are high, the body becomes alert, so it’s likely that your child will experience difficulty falling asleep. Be sure their activities before bedtime are calm, the bedroom lights are dim and noise levels are low to help avoid excess cortisol production than can keep your child – and you – awake.
- Keep the Room Comfortable but Cool. Just as a bedroom where the light is too bright or the noise level is too high affects a child’s ability to fall asleep, so does a room that’s overly warm. Avoid using too many blankets and covers when you tuck him or her in and lower the thermostat setting slightly shortly before bedtime.
- Be Sure Your Child Eats Properly. Children need to be fed a nutritious and satisfying evening meal, but it needs to be at the right time. Eating too early will leave the child hungry and overly alert when it’s time to go to bed. Eating a meal late in the evening can make the child uncomfortable and unable to fall sleep. Coffee, tea, colas and chocolate all contain caffeine, and should be avoided in late afternoon and evening hours. A good breakfast in the morning will help reset a young body’s clock to the awake cycle for the day.
- Alleviate Nighttime Fears. Some younger children have a fear of the dark or being alone that makes them reluctant to go to bed or fall asleep.. Praise them for being brave while assuring them that their bedroom is a safe and secure place. Avoid computer games, TV shows and movies that are violent or scary. A favorite stuffed animal may comfort and reassure a child, although too many toys can be a distraction that can keep them from falling asleep. A low level nightlight in the room helps to make some kids fell safer.
- Be Aware of Possible Sleep Disorders. If your child continues to have problems falling or staying asleep or regularly experiences nightmares, it may be a sleep disorder keeping them awake that needs professional treatment. Consult with the child’s pediatrician if the problem persists for more than a few weeks or if interferes with his or her daily life, including school and social interactions.
Choose the Right Sleep System.
Sleeping alone in a large bed can be lonely and intimidating for some young children. A twin mattress and bedframe, however, might give the child a cozy, more secure “tucked in” feeling that could help them sleep comfortably through the night. Measuring 35” wide x 75” long, a standard twin mattress is a good choice for youngsters who have outgrown a crib, and should accommodate them comfortably into their teenage years.
Choosing the right bedding and accessories, including sheets that are soft and colorful and a pillow that’s comfortable will also make it easier for your child to fall asleep and stay asleep. Just as the right mattress should support the shoulders, back and hips, the right pillow is needed to properly support the child’s head, neck and spine.
A good pillow choice for youngsters 3 to 12 years old is the Pure Care Rise & Shine Memory Foam Kid’s Pillow, which comes with two 1” removable memory foam inserts. Each insert hugs the head and neck while providing spinal support. Adding or removing the memory foam inserts will adjust the levels of height, comfort and support until it feels just right to child. The PureCare Rise & Shine Pillow’s designer cover is washable and has a zippered opening that makes it easy to add or remove the foam layers. The antimicrobial cover has been treated with silver chloride, which helps prevent mold, bacteria and mildew, and will resist allergens, bed bugs and dust mites.
Another great pillow for kids is the PharMeDoc Toddler Pillow. Offering an ideal balance of softness and firmness, the Toddler Pillow is a perfect choice for a crib or a little one’s first bed. Measuring approximately 14” x 19”, the hypoallergenic Toddler Pillow is filled with 100% hollow fiber polyester, and has a pure cotton cover. It’s machine washable, so there’s no need for a pillow case that could potentially be a suffocation hazard. The small size, light weight and portability make it perfect adult travel pillow.
The PharMeDoc Toddler Pillow is only available online.
Sit ‘n Sleep For All Your Sleeping and Bedroom Needs
Whether your pillow shopping for a small child, teenager or yourself, check our selection of pillows online. Better yet, stop by one of Sit ‘n Sleep’s Mattress Superstores conveniently located throughout Southern California. Speak with one of our knowledgeable sleep consultants, who will be pleased to answer your questions and help you choose the right pillow for your child.
From mattresses and support systems to linens and accessories, you’ll find everything you need at your nearby Sit ‘n Sleep outlet.