25/08/2015

Getting ready for Back to School

In conjunction with Silentnight Beds.

WOW, how quickly have to school holidays flown? Just a week or so left and big monkey goes into year 3 and little monkey starts foundation stage! My babies are growing too fast! 
I was very good (and organised) and got their uniforms sorted before the end of the summer term. Only now am I thinking about 'back to schoo'l and 'back to sleep' and getting their school shoes, labelling their clothes and of course getting them back into some sort of normal bedtime routine! 
Silentnight Beds have been working with a sleep expert about the importance of getting children back into a routine after the holidays. Luckily the monkeys have always slept well and lack of sleep (on their part) has never been an issue! However they have been going to bed later and we are keen to get them back into bed at a good time so they are rested and ready to learn learn learn! It's a huge thing for little monkey starting school and we know once he goes full time, he is going to be very tired!

Dr Nerina, a physiologist, sleep therapist, author and consultant for more than 20 years, has listed her top sleep tips to help your child ease back into their school-time sleep routines.

1. Start to introduce technology-free time in the evenings

Research has shown that by having a constant stream of light enter our eyes before we go to sleep, we are actually telling our brains that we want to be awake. An hour or so before children go to bed, rule out any blue light. This means no TV, tablets or mobile phones. The bedroom should be a technology free environment.

2. Gradually reintroduce earlier bedtimes

An ideal bedtime for pre-teens would be no later than 8.30pm, gradually shift bedtime earlier over the course of a few days to allow children to adjust.

3. A calming pre-sleep routine
The few hours before bed can be just as important as actual bedtime. Relaxing baths with lavender, a milky drink or reading are great ways to help children wind down and feel ready for bed.

4. Have a chat

Heading back to school or starting a new one, can be worrying for some children, and leave them feeling anxious. Talk to your child about any concerns they may have before bedtime, and encourage simple yoga or meditation by repeating a calming word or by helping them with their breathing techniques, including breathing deeply from the stomach.

5. Create a sleep friendly bedroom
Bedrooms need to be sleep friendly and this means a cool environment. Freshly laundered bedding, possibly lavender fragranced, can make the room feel very calming and relaxing. Again, technology free bedrooms are a must!

6. Exercise is key

It is scientifically proven that exercise can help you get a better night’s sleep. Regular exercise is one of the most effective ways of reducing stress hormone levels (mainly adrenaline) thus enabling you to sleep more deeply. A short walk with children after the evening meal would be the perfect exercise to help them wind down.

7. Good nutritional habits 

To help us sleep we need a good balance of the hormones serotonin and melatonin in our system. Sending children off to school with a balanced lunchbox will help to promote a healthy hormone balance. Things such as chicken, cheese, tuna, eggs, nuts and milk are all high in serotonin and are lunchbox friendly.
I'm pleased to say the monkeys are already never allowed iPads after teatime (usually around 5pm). They do watch a bit of TV but this is restricted before bedtime too. Their usual bedtimes are 7pm and 8pm, as they wake early regardless of what time they go to bed and they are both very active! So active, we cannot keep up with them! We always try to read with and to them and talk about their day! This is done here via a 'one day' type of discussion. Reflecting on what we did that day. I'd say they both monkeys have lovely sleep friendly rooms and really our only failing where sleep is concerned is their diet! Both could do with eating more fruit and veg! Especially little monkey but they do eat some serotonin inducing foods.
I'm pleased to say I'm happy with the number of hours sleep they both get each night (about 11) and am pleased we are on the right track. I just wish as parents we got 11hrs a night!

Thanks to Silentnight Beds and Dr Nerina for the great tips. We hope they help you too. For more information and sleep tips visit Silentnight.

Silentnight is the UK’s number one bed brand, producing a wide range of beds and mattresses for people of all shapes and sizes, manufactured in Britain.



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