We don't know about you but we can't sleep at the moment. It's the change of routine and that back-to-school routine we're grappling with. And if we adults can't sleep – how are the kids going to get to grips with it after so long off school?
Having a good bedtime routine – and sleep routine – is essential for growth, learning and development of children (and adults). Yet, with children returning to school, experts have warned that the time spent at home during lockdown may have had a negative impact on sleep routines.
- Best mattress: see our top picks of tried, tested and reviewed mattresses
A recent sleep survey carried out by three sleep organisations – The Sleep Charity (opens in new tab), The Sleep Council (opens in new tab) and Sleepstation (opens in new tab) – has revealed that COVID-19 has had a detrimental impact on children’s sleep routines, with 57 per cent of children waking up later than usual.
As parents across the UK prepare their kids for what could be a challenging first term, bed specialist Time4Sleep (opens in new tab) has been working with sleep expert Vicki Dawson, CEO of The Sleep Charity, to put together four top tips on how to get kids into a good bedtime routine. Keep scrolling to find out more.
1. Bring bedtime forward gradually
If the current sleep routine involves a very late night then it is crucial to start by slowly pulling bedtime forward to create a suitable routine. By pulling this forward gradually, there is a better chance that your child will stick to it and be prepared for the new school term.
Vicki suggests: 'If bedtime has got later and later, you need to start to gradually move your child’s bedtime forward by 15 minutes every three nights.'
2. Create a soothing sleep environment
It is important that children associate their room with comfort, safety and relaxation in order to get a good night’s sleep. Getting the right temperature settings are one important factor which should be considered, and memory foam mattress which reacts and adjusts to your body temperature could work wonders for keeping your children comfortable during the night.
Jonathan Warren, director at Time4Sleep advises: 'By allowing your child to have a say when it comes to various aspects of their bedroom decor you can ensure that they enjoy being in their room and find it to be a comforting space. Encourage them to choose their own bed that they’ll look forward to climbing into at the end of the day.'
Aside from decor, it is also important to regulate the room temperature to maintain comfort whilst sleeping. Vicki adds: 'Keep the bedroom at a comfortable temperature - around 18ºC.'
- Best memory foam mattress: our top 7 mattresses for support
3. Introduce a 'no screen' rule before bedtime
Staring at screens before bedtime can trick your body into thinking that it is daytime, causing you to stay awake due to the artificial blue light.
To avoid blue light playing havoc with their body clock, Vicki warns: 'Have them avoid screen activities an hour before bedtime as this can suppress the sleep hormone melatonin from being created.'
4. Consistency is key
By keeping a consistent wake up time you can regulate your child’s body clock to make sure they’re ready to be productive when they return to school. When it comes to keeping a consistent wake up time, Vicki suggests: 'Open the curtains straight away, and if possible go outside for half an hour to help to reset your child’s body clock.'
You can make the morning routine exciting with fun and playful decor, so that the wake up call isn’t so daunting! Jason Peterkin, director at 247 Blinds (opens in new tab) comments: 'Adding an element of fun and colour to a child’s room can be really impactful and will make the routine of waking up and going to sleep more interactive. For younger children, try educational prints such as world maps, safari animals seaside themes.'
More sleep advice:
- How to fall asleep fast: 6 tricks to try before bed to nod of quickly
- Want to refresh rather than replace your mattress? View our best mattress topper guide
- Or, if it's time for a new duvet, our best duvet guide looks at all the options available
- Check out our cheap mattress deals page for our top sleeping mattresses, at bargain prices