Sometimes our sleeping habits happen within us. Some kids like to arise with the sun while others just want to dance in the moonlight. So how do you help your child who just can’t sleep at night and then is sleepy at school? Here are some tips to help your little night owl get the Zzzz he or she needs. One helpful tool can be melatonin supplements. Pediatricians advise to only use this supplement short-term. Use this as a re-setter to help a child get back on a sleep schedule after a stressful time, new school, family vacation etc.
Daily Parent’s Dear Addie Section had these other tips to offer
- Move the bedtime up by about 30 minutes so that the wind-down period starts earlier
- No sugar or caffeine within six hours of bedtime
- No screen-time (TV, electronics, etc.) for an hour before bedtime
- No sports/active play for an hour before bedtime
Change Bedtime- Creating an earlier bedtime by about thirty minutes can help a child relax their mind earlier so they will be more ready for bed when the clock hits the special hour. Also creating a quiet routine might be helpful. For example reading a fun book after homework is complete.
No Sugar or Caffeine- Within 6 hours of bedtime close the doors on candy or caffeine. These are stimulants and can cause minds to race. These treats or drinks full of sugar can sometimes turn a calm child into a hyper night owl that refuses to go to bed.
Create Quiet Time An hour before bedtime turn off all devices and spend an hour as a family. Read a book, listen to music, have a healthy bedtime snack etc. For bedtime snack ideas read our previous articles 5 Bedtime Snacks or 6 More Bedtime Snacks.
Create Relaxing Activities-To help night owls feel sleepy when the stars are shining. Avoid active play or sports an hour before bedtime. Switch with relaxing activities like talking about the day, coloring or reading together.
If these night owl tips do not help and your child is still restless it might be time to visit with his or her pediatrician.
The holidays are full of excitement, stress, sugar and squished homes. These can all put a damper on sleep schedules. So how can you and your children recover from the holidays and get ready to return to the school and work schedule?
The following are some tips on how to “Return to Reality”
Decrease The Snacks
During the holiday season a lot of neighbors drop of treats as gifts. This can be a nice gesture but make sure you or your children decrease the holiday sweet intake when it is time to return to school and work. Avoid these treats at least an hour before bedtime. For some kids and adults sugar can act like a stimulant and lead to racing minds, which can disrupt sleep.
Turn of The Screens
With family over and “no school” many families watch a lot of movies during the holiday break. Screen time with family is fine just make sure to click “off” all the devices at least an hour before bedtime. Blue light emitted by most devices confuses the melatonin development in the mind. This decrease in melatonin can make it harder for a child or adult to feel sleepy enough to get to bed.
Get Back to a Routine
During the season the bedtime schedule is sometimes thrown out the window because of all the events happening. With returning to school and work, start getting back into a routine at least three days before school or work starts. Maybe even add fun new items to the bedtime schedule. For example reading a chapter a night from a book that the child received as a Christmas present, taking a bubble bath, or getting into the cool new pajamas Grandma gave etc. Make getting ready for bed a fun checklist instead of a nightly battle.
With all the excitement from the holidays and from receiving gifts kids might have a hard time getting to bed. Even adults might be over zealous about the cool new items they received. Set boundaries for yourself and your children. Put all “toys” away at a certain time each night preferably at least an hour before bedtime. Have a time to clean up and then have a quiet hour before bed. This will help all minds relax and produce enough melatonin to get some much needed beauty sleep.
Hopefully these tips can help you adjust back to the reality of school and work after a fun break. If you try these tips please share in the comments. If you or your child suffers with extreme sleeping problems remember to talk to your doctor. If the doctor suggests melatonin supplements check out World Wide Labs for an all natural option.
In this digital world many families spend too much time watching T.V or playing on tablets and smartphones. These are not evil devices though they can cause damage to health.
“A child needs eight hours of peaceful sleep daily to remain fit and active. Excessive addiction to mobile phones distracts the mind and disturbs his or her sleep-wake cycle.” (DailyMail) With this distraction causes a decrease in melatonin, this is the natural chemical in the brain that is released to tell the mind and body to relax and go to sleep.The blue light from devices makes the mind believe it is daytime, so it does not release the needed amount of melatonin to sleep even though it is late at night.
Parents with young children should take note that screen time late at night can change sleeping patterns. This can cause problems in focusing at school. Parents should encourage kids to play outside during the day and to turn off all devices at least one hour before bedtime. By doing this a child can create better sleeping habits. By receiving the eight to ten hours of sleep needed a child’s performance in school and their daily attitude can improve greatly.
This benefit was stated by Dr Geetha Srinivasan, (senior consultant, pediatric ophthalmology, ICARE Hospital) who said, “…cutting back on tech use at night means getting better sleep, making people more productive at both work and school.”
For parents with children with insomnia, ADHD or Autism should look into creating new habits as well. Though if bedtime routines and cutting back screen time does not improve the quality of sleep of their child parents can consult doctors about melatonin supplements.
Melatonin supplements simply increase the natural chemical melatonin to help children, teens and adults naturally fall asleep. To learn more about melatonin and children click this link. http://bit.ly/MelatoninAndChildren
(Natural Health 365)
Travelling can be exciting and fun. Flying long distances gives you opportunities to see and experience exciting new things. If you’re travelling for business, you can make professional connections with colleagues who work in a different location. But if you’re enduring jet lag you’re too tired to go see the sights or make new friends.
Melatonin is a natural alternative to sleeping medication. Melatonin is commonly used to reduce jet lag. “As a jet lag remedy and sleep aid, melatonin has been widely studied, and it’s now a commonly accepted part of effective jet lag treatment.” Taking melatonin 30 minutes before you go to sleep can “help ‘reset’ your sleep and wake cycle.” Your body reacts to melatonin as if it were a light-dark signal which is why it helps reset your circadian clock and helps reduce jet lag.
Kimberly Boyd (MD) gives three suggestions for taking melatonin: 1) Give it enough time to work, 2) Take only the dose you need, and 3) Don’t combine melatonin with other sedatives or alcohol.
When you take melatonin influences its effectiveness. Unless your doctor tells you otherwise you should take melatonin 30 minutes before you plant to sleep. This allows the melatonin enough time to take effect before you try to sleep but not enough time to make you drowsy when you want to be awake. As with any other supplement or medication it is important to take only the dose you need or the dose suggested by your doctor.
Next time you have a long flight you’ll be able to explore your new surroundings without the weight of jet lag.
,  Mayo Clinic Staff (2016). Jet lag disorder. Mayo Clinic. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/jet-lag/basics/alternative-medicine/con-20032662
 Unknown (2014). Jet lag and melatonin, topic overview. WebMD http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/jet-lag-and-melatonin-topic-overview
 Boyd, K. (2011). Tips to prevent and reduce jet lag. One life, make it count http://www.onemedical.com/blog/live-well/prevent-jet-lag/