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Sleep Stoppers and Sleep Inducers

on Mon, 02/24/2014 - 05:00

What’s stimulating your child and making it difficult for him to nod off? With technology and the amount of activities our children have, there are plenty of distractions that ward off sweet slumber. Here are four sleep stoppers that may be getting your child more riled up than sleepy at bedtime. I also list four sleep inducers that can promote more drowsiness, leading to restful sleep.
Sleep Stoppers:
 
 1. Over-stimulating Rooms
Noisy mobiles, gadgets on the crib, and too many stuffed animals in the bed can lead to an over-stimulating room. It is recommended that infants should not have items in the crib as it poses a risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Older children can become distracted with too many items in their crib or bed, promoting too much play and less sleep. Once your baby is old enough (some pediatricians recommend close to a year old), keep one safe “lovey” or stuffed animal in the bed or crib. Some parents have even noticed a reduction in night-time congestion with less stuffed animals in the bed.
2. Caffeine
Caffeine is not just found in coffee. Although there are smaller amounts in children’s beverages, pay attention to how much caffeine your child consumes during the day. A little can add up. Limit your child’s intake of foods with caffeine, and avoid it at least 3 hours before bedtime to promote a healthy sleep schedule.

Here is a list of foods that contain caffeine:

· Chocolate (dark chocolate being higher in caffeine than milk chocolate)
· Soda (even some orange soda and root beer)
· Coffee flavored ice cream or frozen yogurt
· Some chewing gums
· Hot chocolate
· Chocolate milk
· Energy water.
3. Screen Time
Children of the modern age are exposed to electronic screens much of the day. Television, iPads, iPhones, and video game systems all play a daily part in many children’s lives. The light from these devices can suppress melatonin (our body’s natural sleepy hormone). Avoid screen time 2-3 hours before bedtime.
4. Too Many Activities
Many of our kids are over -booked with activities. Sports, music lessons, homework, and special classes are just a few of the activities children encounter on a regular basis.  Many of these activities can run too close to bedtime. Sometimes children feel over-whelmed with the amount of activities they have to keep up with. This can play a role in feeling stressed and alert at bedtime. Parents need to really consider how many activities their individual child can handle. Don’t ditch the bedtime routine in favor of speeding up bedtime. Bedtime routines act as a soothing mechanism after a busy day. If needed, it can be abbreviated but should not be eliminated.

Sleep Inducers:
1. White noise: The steady sound playing at a low volume has been very helpful for soothing babies and blocking out household noises.

2. Massage: A gentle massage before bed can really relax tired muscles.

3. Yoga: Children can benefit from bedtime yoga routines that promote sleep.

4. Warm bath: A soothing bath as part of a bedtime routine can really set the stage for relaxation and sleep.

 

For more information please contact me.