Five expert tips to get your children to sleep at night

According to online blinds retailers Blinds-Hut, one in three parents struggle with the evening bedtime routine. So what can we do about it?

According to the experts, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer. As Vicki Dawson, Founder of The Children’s Sleep Charity, says:

“All children are individuals and therefore there is no one piece of advice that will resolve all families sleep issues.

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The key is to unpick why the child is having sleep issues and to use strategies consistently that are in line with your parenting style. It is important to speak with a health professional to rule out any medical issues.”

Top five sleep tips from parents

So what’s working for for most families? Blinds-Hut surveyed 2,000 UK families for their top sleep tips. And this is what they shared.

1) Bedtime stories

61% rely on bedtime stories. They’re a great way to end the day and the perfect end to a good bedtime routine. Make sure that the story isn’t scary though, before you start reading!

2) Strict routine

56% say they have a strict bedtime routine. These are really important to help to support your child’s body clock and regulate their sleep time. Doing the same thing at the same time each night is really helpful to prepare the mind and body for sleep.

3) Black out blinds

50% of parents have had black out blinds fitted. Having consistent conditions during the night help us to sleep better. Black out blinds can help to keep lighting consistent throughout the night and are particularly useful during the summer months when light mornings can wake some children in the early hours.

4) Technology blackout

Screen activities before bed can lead to difficulties falling asleep for some children. The light omitted by screens can interfere with the production of melatonin, the sleep hormone. 40% of parents say they avoid screen activities  in the hour leading up to bedtime.

5) Night light

37% of parents discovered that their children find having a night light reassuring. Children with visual and hearing impairments can also find that a night light helps them to feel more secure in the environment. If you use a night light then keep it on consistently all night.

The expert’s view

Vicki Dawson agrees with the parents’ experiences, saying:

“A consistent bedtime routine starting an hour before sleep time can help tremendously. Avoid the use of technology in the hour before bed too as it supresses the sleep hormone melatonin making it more difficult to fall asleep.

We produce the sleep hormone ‘melatonin’ when it’s dark, so blackout blinds can be helpful to aid sleep, too. In the early hours, we move into lighter REM sleep which means it is much easier to be woken up. Light creeping in, particularly during the summer months, could easily stir a sleeping child. 

Some children may find a darkened room frightening or disorientating. If you are going to use a nightlight, choose something with a dim glow that can be left on all night.”

Blinds-Hut have teamed up with 4 UK parenting bloggers and researched the best techniques to help avoid a bedtime nightmare. You can read about their stories here.