How to Maintain a Healthy Sleep Routine When Preppies Start School
Prep commencement and all the associated newness and stimulation can wreak havoc on your preppies’ sleep patterns (getting to sleep, night waking, disrupted sleep schedules, nightmares, even bed wetting).
I have definitely had to dust off my old sleep therapist strategies for my preppie, who has shown all the predictable changes – fatigue, over tiredness, nightmares, night waking, etc. So I thought to share my ‘recipe’ for sleep if any other mums and dads are experiencing this too!
How to prepare your preppie’s body for sleep
- Spike body temperature straight after school (easy to do in this heat!); but typically a run in the park, swim, walk the dog, scooter, etc. for about 20-minutes. If you can’t do this, increasing body temperature with a hot bath/shower has the same effect.
- Carb load – as much as possible. I’ve just served up dinosaur plate of pasta with garlic bread, fruit, dessert, etc. etc. Think like you’re trying to get them to hibernate for winter. If you eat early, add a slice of Vegemite toast right before bed. Foods like turkey meat and bananas also contain natural sedatives. So one son regularly has a “night ‘mnana”
- No screens for at least an hour before bed. The blue light has been research proven to stimulate the brain into thinking it’s morning.
- Drop the bedroom temperature to as low as possible. Hot bodies in the context of sleep is linked to nightmare activity and restless sleep. The current humidity is also likely to be impacting kid’s (and parents!) sleep. Make sure your Preppie has adequate pyjamas and blankets, but a cool room with a full belly is a great recipe for sleep.
- Follow your normal bedtime routine (stories, showers, free play, etc), but bring bedtime forward as early as an hour (no they won’t wake early 😉). This gives enough time for a longer wind down and wards off over tiredness that keeps accruing.
- Right now preppies are finding their new routines, settling in, learning a lot, so attendance is necessary. However, (teachers – close your ears), towards the end of each term: consider a couple of rest days (based on noticing whether they seem really tired) where you and your preppie stay in pyjamas, at home, and hang out watching movies.
I hope that helps another parent with a sleep disrupted preppie, and with that – I”m on schedule for 6pm sleepers!
“Preppies and Sleep” is a guest post from Dr Rachell Kingsbury – Guidance Counsellor (Clin. Psych & Clin. Neuropsych MAPS) and mum of two boys.