BBC Panorama’s episode, Sleepless Britain, aired on 6 March 2017, was an interesting watch attracting varying opinions and reactions on social media.
All children from babies to teenagers (and even most adults!) thrive on having a routine and predictability around their sleeping patterns, but that routine isn’t the same for every family. Routines can differ greatly and, ultimately, any routine you choose has to be based on whether it works for your family. Sadly, the addition of a bath, story and warm drink isn’t going to be the answer to most sleep issues!
For example, tablets and technology are stimulating for children and it’s easy as a busy parent to use a tablet to buy you a few minutes to perhaps settle your other child or to eat a meal in peace. However, electronic distractions such as tablets, smart phones and even television disrupt our production on melatonin – a natural hormone which aids sleep – due to the blue light which emitted from these devices. Having at least one hour of no screen time prior to bed will aid the production of melatonin therefore helping to settle for sleep. Plus, whilst we might not find children’s programme a gripping drama like our viewing choices, children often do and can have “busy brains” stimulated just before they go to bed. It would be far better to develop engaging activities that are not going to jeopardise sleep.
People need support and advice rather than being lectured or encouraged to follow a set of rigid rules to follow in order to work towards a positive sleep solution.
Crucially, the whole day of any routine needs looking at, not just that hour before bedtime.
At Baby Sound Asleep I pride myself on recognising every family is different. I don’t lecture – I offer advice to help get parents to where they want to be as a whole family unit. By helping parents recognise areas that may be inhibiting good quality sleep, offering solutions and alternatives rather than just telling them not to do it, I am able to help parents meet their own goals whilst encouraging good quality sleep for healthy development of the whole family.
Get in touch if you need some advice on how you can manage your family sleep more effectively.