As any parent knows, lack of sleep has a severe negative impact on a child’s mood and behaviour. If your child hasn’t had enough sleep, this can result in mood swings, irritability and counter-intuitively; hyperactivity.
Sleep directly impacts on children’s mental and physical development. It's essential for memory consolidation, learning and internalising the day’s activities. A lack of sleep, or poor-quality sleep, interrupts this process and has a negative impact on a child’s development.
Additionally, sleep helps our bodies to repair and regenerate, preparing it for the next day. Without this time to repair, physical development can be stunted.
Try these six tips to create a relaxed bedtime and help your child achieve quality, natural sleep.
Supper is a great way to ensure your child isn’t hungry through the night and can actually aid the sleep process, as long as it’s low in sugar.
Try giving them a combination of protein and carbs as these form amino acids that act like tryptophan, a chemical that makes you feel sleepy. Oatmeal with milk, or wholemeal toast with natural peanut butter are great supper to give your child.
Ditch the blue light devices
As you get closer to bed time, ideally an hour before, ditch smartphones, tablets and TVs as they not only stimulate the brain and make children more awake, but the blue light from these devices suppresses the production of melatonin, a hormone which is responsible for feeling sleepy and acts a prompt that we’re ready to sleep.
Wind down time
Before bedtime, start a ‘quiet time’ to allow your child to unwind. Introduce less physically stimulating activities such as colouring, doing a jigsaw or reading, which will keep them entertained but let their minds start to relax.
Create a bedtime routine
Children thrive on routine, doing the same thing every night acts as a prompt to the body and the mind that it’s time to sleep soon and begin to wind down.
Multiple sensory cues will signal to the body to let it know that it’s time for bed.
Shortly before bed, a warm relaxing bath can signal that it’s time to start winding down. The drop in body temperature after getting out of the bath is a prompt for the body to start producing Melatonin, the hormone that regulates sleep-wake cycles.
Magnesium is known to help relax muscles and so is perfect for preparing the body for sleep. Try massaging Magnesium Sleep Lotion Junior in to your child’s skin as part of your routine. The Sleep Lotion is suitable for 1 years + and contains chamomile and lavender to help relax the mind. Or why not combine Magnesium Flakes with their nightly bath.