The days are getting longer, the sun is getting stronger and flowers are in bloom. The beautiful signs of summer time are upon us. Unfortunately while summer is a wonderful time of year, it can create issues for proper sleeping schedules. In addition, the weeks leading up to summer bring with them a high pollen count that can cause irritation for those who suffer from allergies.
Fortunately there are tips to help baby and parent ensure a good sleep during the warm summer months.
Do your best to keep the house cool during the night. An ideal temperature for sleeping is between 68 and 72 degrees. Try not to crank the AC too high to avoid creating an unnatural coolness. Many children enjoy the comfort of being able to sleep underneath a blanket, so the idea is to make the house cool enough to allow them to do so comfortably.
For those who do not have air conditioning, keep the blinds closed during the day to help keep the temperature of the room cool. Fans can be helpful to keep the air circulating. Face the fan away from the child’s face to avoid irritation.
Keep an Eye Out For Days With High Pollen Count:
Pollen travels more during warm, windy and dry weather. This can cause allergy symptoms to heighten. The irritating and sometimes painful symptoms of allergies, such as runny nose, itchy eyes and congestion, can make sleeping even more difficult during the spring and summer months. The Weather Network provides an allergy tracking tool on their website that can help parents keep an eye out for days with high pollen counts http://www.weather.com/health/allergy .
Limit Sun Exposure Around Bedtime:
We love any opportunity to get the kids outdoors and being active. Without sounding too contradictory, try to limit the amount of sun exposure your little one gets around bedtime.
Light is an important external factor that can affect sleep, and during the summer it can cause issues in two ways. The longer days we experience in the summer can affect our internal clock and sunlight can prohibit the production of melatonin, the sleep hormone.
According to the National Sleep Foundation “exposure to light stimulates a nerve pathway from the retina in the eye to an area in the brain called the hypothalamus. There, a special center called the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) initiates signals to other parts of the brain that control hormones, body temperature and other functions that play a role in making us feel sleepy or wide awake. The SCN also delays the release of other hormones like melatonin, which is associated with sleep onset, until many hours later when darkness arrives.” http://sleepfoundation.org/sleep-topics/melatonin-and-sleep/page/0/1
Less is More:
As the temperature climbs be sure to remove any heavy winter bedding from your little ones crib or bed. Light weight cotton and other breathable fabrics are better options.
Children who still have difficulty wetting the bed may sleep with a waterproof barrier between their bottom sheet and mattress. Many of these barriers do not breathe and can cause your little one to get warm during the night. There are many breathable, hypoallergenic mattress protectors available on the market that can be a positive alternative.
Since we all love summer and love to be up longer and enjoy the long days, keep in mind that your child still needs to be on a good sleep schedule. The occasional later bedtime here or there because of traveling or family and friends visiting, is ok. But don’t make it a habit. Children can become overtired very quickly and this will lead to problems going to bed at night, waking in the night and waking too early in the morning. If your child still naps, these too can be affected. If you would like information on how much sleep your child should be getting a day, as well as some important sleep tips, please click on this link http://babesinsleepland.com/sleep-science-101-registration/, and then follow the prompts.
Please let me know if you found this information helpful!
Angela Walsh is a Family Sleep Institute, Certified Infant and Child Sleep Consultant and the founder of Babes in Sleepland. She helps sleep deprived babies, children and families, get back on track and get the sleep To learn more about Angela and how she can help you, visit her website they need and desire. : babesinsleepland.com. Also get sleep tips, the latest research on baby and child products, and be part of her weekly Q and A at her Facebook page: Babes in Sleepland.