Before you really settle in to reading this blog post, please - do me one small favour. Walk to your kids’ bedroom. Now open the door. Take a good look.
Does this room whisper to you (in a soft voice akin to that lady’s off the M&S adverts), ‘personal sleep sanctuary’? Does this room say, ‘caaalm…’, ‘sereeenity…’? Does this room say, ‘Ommm’? We’re guessing not. This room might, however, scream in your face, ‘Lego space ship about to launch!’ or it might holler, ‘Paint splatter experiment in progress!’. It might yell, ‘I like to keep my jam sandwiches under my pillow for safe keeping, OK?’. You know, that sort of thing.
In an ideal world, your kids’ bedroom would be specifically designed for and exclusively set aside for sleeping. But this is not an ideal world and it’s more likely that your kids’ bedroom doubles/triples/quadruples up as lots of different things - a play room, a study, a lounge, a snack bar, a creative studio, a building site...
If we take this as the messy-but-true starting point, how on EARTH do you make sure that, when it comes to creating the best sleep environment for your kids, that their bedroom is up to the job?
Stuff be gone!
Kids like stuff. And, if your small people are anything like our small people, quite often they like that stuff to be everywhere. All the time. Invest in some clever bedroom storage to conceal clutter and keep things organised. It needn’t be super-fancy or expensive storage but well thought out storage makes getting rid of toys, games, homework etc. before bed quick and easy. Minimise the clutter, maximise the calm and bring the function of the bedroom back to sleeping.
Did you know the colour of your kids’ bedroom decor can influence how quickly they fall asleep, how well they sleep and how rested and perky they feel when they wake up? For instance, the warmth of orange creates a stable, reassuring, calming atmosphere. That's why Suzy Snooze is that scrummy colour! Yellow can feel cosy and calm the nerves, green can be soothing and impact positively on morning mood and blue is often seen as a super-chilled out colour that helps us unwind and r-e-l-a-x. Restrict wall colours to calming nudes or pale pastels and add kid-friendly fun vibes by using bright colour accents around the room.
Down with the blue light...
Remember, exposure to blue light (from phones, laptops, iPads, tvs) hampers the production of sleepy hormone melatonin and messes with sleep cycles. Think about swapping the bulbs in bedside lamps to warm coloured/orange ones for evening use and say no to screens at least one hour before bed.
When it comes to getting ready for bed, story time and creating the perfect sleepy feelings before sleep, let Suzy Snooze help you out. Use her as a warm, orange night light or let her calming sleep sequence work its magic. Not a pesky blue light in sight - just cosy, snoozy vibes.
Up with black-out curtains!
You try and try to explain to your kids that, even though the sun is still shining through the window and it’s still light out in the garden, it really is time to put their pyjamas on and really not the time to play in the paddling pool with the dog. Hanging black-out curtains or adding a black-out lining to existing curtains could really help.
Likewise, in summer time, when the sun rises in the morning as early as 4.30am, black-out curtains help block that ‘WAKE UP!’ light out, allowing your kids an undisturbed sleep and allowing you to dodge the surprise wake-up call at the crack of dawn!
Cool down, calm down
You’d be forgiven for expecting a super-cosy, warm room to be ideal for a good night’s sleep. But research shows us that cooler temperatures (between 60-67 degrees) are best for good quality snoozing. Body temperature dips at night as we prepare to sleep so by mimicking that dip externally, we help our internal thermostats reach the optimal sleep temperature quicker. By keeping the room temperature consistent, we help keep our body temperature consistent and that makes for glorious, uninterrupted sleep.
Bed, comfy bed!
And let’s not forget the most important thing. Your kids’ bed. Pay as much attention to the quality of your kids’ mattress and bed frame as you do your own. Little bodies need to be well supported and comfortable too! You want your kids to hop out of bed refreshed and rested - not grumpy, stiff and complaining about sore bits. Plenty of time for that when they hit our age! Pick fabrics that are breathable and gentle on their skin to reduce the likelihood of sweaty nights and disturbed sleep.
What's that smell?!
Now, we know this can sometimes be easier said than done, but try your best to keep your kids’ bedroom and their bedding clean and fresh. Air out the room every day and change bed clothes regularly. Nasty niffs can make for an unpleasant environment and lead to disturbed sleep.
Keep your nose alert to that old banana peel that’s made its way down the back of the bed!