Ahead of World Sleep Day and with kids finally back to school, sleep expert, Mandy Gurney, shares some advice on keeping bedtime fuss-free.
While schools have been closed over the past few months, children have become used to staying up later and sleeping in a little more in the mornings. Now that schools and nurseries have restarted, the big change in routine may be resulting in your child finding it more difficult to fall asleep.
This may just be a matter of pressing the ‘reset button’ on their sleep routine. If they are now taking an excruciating hour or more to fall asleep, it is important to teach them how to nod off in 10-15 minutes again. The aim of this technique is to gradually shift children’s body clock earlier in small increments until they are able to fall asleep at a more suitable time.
Mandy recommends keeping a sleep diary, recording what time your child naturally falls asleep.
For three nights afterwards, put your child to bed at the latest time you’ve recorded in the sleep diary. Explain to your child that they will be staying up a little later for a few days, keeping specifics about timings to a minimum.
When it comes to bedtime, start their bedtime routine about 30 minutes before putting them to bed, keeping activities calm, relaxing and quiet. Say goodnight 15 minutes before your child usually falls asleep. They should be asleep 15 minutes later.
In the morning, wake them 15 minutes earlier than you usually would and get them into the daylight as soon as possible, to help suppress melatonin and reset their circadian rhythm. Repeat this pattern, moving bedtime and wakeup time earlier by 15 minutes at a time, until you reach the time that is right for your child’s school schedule.