Help! How do I get my kid to sleep better?
I get so frustrated when my kids won’t or can’t sleep at night. Not only does it mean they will be grumpy in the morning, but as a single parent, I treasure my sleep, and my evenings after bedtime. I love my kids to bits, but by the time bedtime comes around, I’m craving some silence, stillness and alone time. So how do I get my kid to sleep?
Here’s how I get my kid to sleep better
My first level of sleep aid are techniques that are natural, inexpensive and easy to use. It’s all about incorporating sleep promoting behaviours into a bedtime routine.
First, turn down the lights and turn off the electronics.
Bright lights and blue screen light both interfere with melatonin production. So if you are viewing electronics late at night, it’ll be harder for you to get to sleep.
Second, turn down the heat.
Cool rooms are best for sleeping. Our bodies naturally cool down during the night. But you can promote better sleep by turning down the heat. And if you really want better sleep, try a hot bath or shower before bed. Since a hot bath will up your body temperature, the drop into sleeping temperature will be steeper, and your sleep will be deeper and better.
Third, watch what you drink.
Limit or avoid altogether caffeinated drink and other stimulants in the afternoon and evening. Caffeine can stay in your body for a long time, and that can make it difficult to sleep at night. And it’s sneaky. It can be in tons of other products besides the obvious coffee or cola. Maybe just stick to water, to help you sleep better.
Fourth, pay attention to your eating habits.
Spicy food late at night can both stimulate your brain – and cause you heartburn, making it harder to sleep. Eating in general about 2 hours before you go to bed can make it hard for you to sleep. So limit the snacks, and drink water, for better sleep.
If behavioural changes don’t work, how do I get my kid to sleep better?
My second level of sleep aid is using natural herbal remedies. You want to be careful with ingesting anything, so check with your doctor or naturopath before using any of these.
One of the simplest ways to help your kids sleep better is to add extra magnesium and calcium. Magnesium and calcium are both sleep boosters, but they can be more effective together than apart. Magnesium helps calm tense muscles and calcium relaxes your heart and lungs, allowing for deeper breaths and not as much stimulation.
Another natural remedy is to add in extra of the hormone melatonin. Our bodies already make melatonin, and taking some extra can help your kids sleep. This isn’t a long term solution, but it can be a quick fix. Alternatively, try Valerian. It’s often used in insomnia remedies, and works best used long-term. However, in about 10 % of the population, it can be an energizer rather than a calmer, so be careful.
A third way to promote better sleep is to try aromatherapy. Lavender is well-known to help calm, soothe and relax. But there are others – which is a good thing, since I’m allergic to lavender. Try bergamot, clary sage or spruce oil in a diffuser for sleeping and calming effects.
The natural remedies aren’t working! How do I get my kid to sleep??
If you’ve tried everything else, and your child still won’t sleep, it’s time to call in the professionals. Sleep is essential to health!! So don’t wait, make an appointment with your doctor.
You’ll need to get a referral to a pediatric sleep specialist, from your family doctor. This is someone who will monitor your child’s sleeping habits, and then make recommendations based on those observations. They may have your child come in for a sleep study, to determine if your child is suffering from sleep apnea or some other sleeping disorder.
The good news is that most sleep disorders are treatable. You may need to get a prescription for chemical sleep aids, or use a machine such as a CPAP to help your child sleep. But there is help!
Get your kid to sleep with a sleep aid.
Sometimes kids (and adults) can have trouble getting to sleep, or staying asleep. So check your bedtime routines, and make adjustments. Add in some aromatherapy or supplement to help reset the body clock. And if all else fails, see a doctor. There is help available. Sleep is so important, so make sure you know how to get your kid to sleep.