Sleep tips for your little ones during summer.
A hard thing for anyone to achieve on hot summer nights. I was fortunate enough to share my tips for sleep in summer with Nine Honey very recently. Hopefully these summer sleep tips can help you and your little one's get a decent night's sleep this summer.
Three secrets to your family's best ever sleep this summer
Summertime, when the living is easy — but bedtime routines with little ones often are not.
Longer days, hotter temperatures and airborne allergens can transform your bedtime routine into a countdown to chaos.
Babies, toddlers and primary school children can be reluctant to hit the pillow while it's still bright outside. It can also be unbearable lying in bed when the humidity is high.
Research shows that it's vital to get children's sleep patterns right by the time they turn five because they'll adjust to school more easily and have less emotional and behavioural problems.1 So, if you have a child starting school after these holidays, it's even more imperative to create a solid routine.
9Mums chatted exclusively to infant and toddler sleep consultant and paediatric nurse, Tara Mitchell and discovered her summer slumber secrets for little ones.
1. Lights off
When daylight saving kicks in and it's light outside until 8.30pm, it’s tricky getting children to bed because they often want to keep playing. In addition, light affects our sleep patterns.
"Daylight has a huge influence on our body," says Mitchell, known as The Gentle Sleep Specialist. "Especially in regards to producing hormones that allow us to either wake up or get sleepy."
To get back on track, Mitchell suggests making your child's room as dark as possible. "It's very hard to convince a child to go to bed if the sun is glaring through their window. A dark room will make bedtime easier and also can encourage a later wake up time."
2. Air quality
While many of us retreat inside during the heat of summer, indoor allergens can cause irritating symptoms — especially at sleep time.
Research shows that when bedroom air quality is improved, sleep quality gets a boost along with concentration levels the next day.2
Mitchell says there are a number of ways to reduce the amount of allergens in our homes and improve air quality, especially in little ones' bedrooms.
- Declutter your child's room: It makes it easier to keep clean and reduces the amount of surfaces for dust and allergens to collect.
- Ventilation: Opening windows is essential for air quality, but if your child's allergy trigger is from the outside environment, you may need to consider an air purifier.
- Bedding swap: The highest concentration of mite allergens is found in beds3 — and we spend about eight hours in bed every night. "Change bedding regularly, as well as any filters in your cooling or vacuuming devices."
- Look for a breathable cotton option: Mitchell is a big fan of swapping bedding to a cotton fabric in summer and points out that plastic mattress protectors can increase sweating in children.
3. Sticky nights
If you don't have the luxury of air conditioning, there are a few tricks Mitchell recommends so children don't toss and turn:
- Try running a refreshing, tepid bath before bed: "Afterwards, dress your little one appropriately for the warmer night."
- Ensure your house has enough ventilation: "Try and catch the evening breeze by leaving larger living areas open."
- Keep kids hydrated: For older children, place a cool drink of water beside their bed and if preparing a baby bottle, make the milk slightly cooler.
- Maintain air flow: Finally, never underestimate the benefit of a quality fan to create breeze and keep air moving. "The white noise can also help reduce the disturbance of external noises."
*Air pollution isn't just a problem outside. It's a problem inside too. Dyson Purifiers automatically capture gases and 99.95% of fine particles such as allergens and pollutants. To find out more, click here.
 Strøm-Tejsen, P., Zukowska, D., Wargocki, P., and Wyon, D. P., 'The eﬀects of bedroom air quality on sleep and next-day performance', Indoor Air, 2016.
 Woodcock, A. and Custovic, A., 'Avoiding exposure to indoor allergens', The BMJ, 19