What Can Work For Bub:
Same Time, Same Thing
Try and establish a bedtime routine for your little one and stick to it. Babies and toddlers thrive on a routine – just the security of knowing what is going to happen and when can really help them settle. Use a routine that works for you and your family, ie. bath after dinner, PJs on, brush teeth, read a story in bed, sing a lullaby/favourite song then lights out. Try to stick to your routine each night and turn the light off at the same time every night. You’ll be surprised how quickly their body clock will adjust to the routine and they’ll settle down.
Dark & Calm
Try to make sure your little one’s bedroom or sleeping environment is a dark and quiet place, free from distractions like squeaky toys, gadgets with lights and music or any other toys they might play with when you leave the room. Studies have shown that people, including little ones, sleep better in a darkened room, so invest in some block-out blinds and keep the noise level to a minimum at bedtime.
Fill ‘Em Up
Depending on their age, it’s important to ensure your little one has a full tummy before they go to sleep at night. Protein-rich meals help you to feel fuller for longer and therefore encourage longer, more restful sleeps. Include plenty of protein, such as lentils in a soup or casserole, chicken, fish or meat in a pasta bolognese or hot pot dish as well as low GI foods such as sweet potato in their evening meal to fill them up.
Warm ‘N’ Cosy
Did you know babies and toddlers cannot regulate their own body temperature until they’re around 18 months of age, which means we must do it for them. Keep them warm enough in their bed with 100% cotton or organic bamboo bedding and plenty of blankets to keep them warm enough to sleep all night. The coldest part of the night is between 4-6am, so if your little one is waking up during this time it might be they’re just not warm enough.
There’s nothing better than snuggling up into bed with a cuddly plush toy. Give your little one a sleep comforter or a ‘blankie’ toy that they know is only for bedtime. Let them name it and keep it just for bedtime. At bedtime, tell them it’s their toy’s bedtime too, and foster a special relationship between your little one and their toy.
What Can Work For Parents:
Ah sleep. The holy grail of parenthood. If you’re not getting around eight hours of sleep you'll feel tired and run down during the day, which catches up with you, makes you run down and can lead to health issues.
Go To Bed Earlier
Often the only time we get to ourselves is when the house is quiet and everyone’s asleep. It can be tempting to stay up later to do the things we want to do, but try to get to bed early so you get enough sleep. If you need to go to bed earlier than you currently do, go to bed 20 mins earlier every night until you reach the ideal time, ie. 10pm to reset your body clock gradually.
Avoid The Caffeine
Can be easier said than done but try to avoid caffeine afternoon, and if you want a warm drink before bed try a drink herbal tea or ginger and lemon in hot water. During the day, aim to do some exercise to keep active; even if it's just 20 mins a day of brisk walking or some activity to get your blood pumping. You’ll feel better, and the movement can help you sleep better, and longer, at night.
They’re called essential for a reason! When I find it hard to go to sleep I put a few drops of lavender essential oils onto my pillow or rub it into the soles of my feet. The scent helps you relax and feel calmer.
Sorry, but that means screens as well. When the house is quiet and everyone’s asleep the first thing we do is grab our phones and have some time alone catching up on the day’s emails, social media or newsfeed. But studies have shown the blue light on mobile devices can actually impede sleep by telling your brain it’s daytime. Limit your screen time before bed; instead, try reading a book, relaxing with some music or have a warm shower.
It may sound silly, but it can help to stick to a routine yourself. While you might be tempted to watch Netflix or catch up on housework, your body clock is just as important as your little ones. If you’re having trouble sleeping, make an effort to get to bed at the same time each night.