Some children love sleep while for others their Pirate Cabin bed is the scene of regular battles at bedtime. March marks National Bed Month here in the UK, so we thought we'd take the opportunity to share some information about child’s sleep. Who knows, you may be able to use these facts to get the sleep averse youngsters to sleep longer…
Sleep fact 1
As adults, we have two alertness peaks during a day – one in the morning and one in early evening. Children have the same peaks as we adults, so it is essential to establish a bedtime that happens before the second peak. Going to bedtime after this natural alert time may mean your little one struggles to nod ofd because they're overtired and tetchy, which can lead to tantrums.
Sleep fact 2
Having a bedtime routine is a great way to promote a good night’s sleep, whatever your age. Following the same sequence of events cane make it easier for your children to recognise its bed time and drift off more easily. As a family you will find a groove that works for you, this might involve bath time, pyjamas on, teeth brushed, story read and lullaby sang and so on.
Sleep fact 3
Changing a bedtime is not as hard as you might think. If your child has gotten into a routine of going to bed later than you might like, it is relatively simple to change this pattern by doing it in stages. Choose an ideal time for bedtime to be and then bring forward the time for bed by 10-15 minutes each night, until you reach the ideal time.
It also helps to properly wind down in the run up to bedtime – the bedtime routine should help with this so make sure that you stay consistent with your timings each night.
Sleep fact 4
Children do not see sleep as the wonderful luxury that it is. This is why the fights to stay up late come into play as they feel as though by going to bed, they are missing out on fun things. The fear of missing out (FOMO) is almost too much to bear for them, acting as though bedtime is a boresome chore they have to do. If only they grasped from birth how heavenly a lie in is!
Sleep fact 5
Night terrors are a very normal thing commonly experienced by children aged between three and eight years old. Although they can be upsetting to watch, there is usually nothing to worry about. If you can see your little one is unsettled, it's often better not to wake them but to be on hand to try and settle them back to sleep if they rouse themselves. If your child is waking up at around the same time each night, you could try waking them up 15 minutes earlier, keep them awake for a couple of minutes and then ease them back into sleep.