Guest blog post: Written by Joanna; a certified holistic paediatric sleep consultant and founder of Sleep Superstars.  Her own experience of expensive sleep consultants made her realise that there was a better way to give parents personalised sleep advice for their children that was affordable, detailed and instantly available.  Sleep Superstars’ vision is to make a real difference to exhausted parents who need affordable sleep advice tailored to their child.

Joanna shares her top tips on how to get your child’s bedroom environment just right for a good night’s sleep.

Why is the bedroom environment important?

It’s easy to forget how important your child’s sleep environment is to ensure a good night’s sleep.  Where your child sleeps can play a big role in their ability to both fall asleep at bedtime and stay asleep during the night.  So, take a look at your child’s bedroom (or your bedroom if they share it with you) and see if you can make these changes to improve the sleep environment.

Keep it cool

The perfect temperature for sleep is actually considerably cooler than you might think.  The ideal bedroom temperature is around 18°C.  Aiming for this temperature will help your child fall asleep more easily.  This is because our core body temperature is at its highest in the early evening so having a cooler bedroom will help with the onset of sleep.

In the summer months this might be difficult to achieve so you may want to consider how you dress your child for bed and what bedding you use.  See my blog on how to dress your baby whatever the weather.  Pure Earth Collection also have a fabulous range of bamboo sleeping bags which help with temperature regulation as well as blankets for older children, ideal for layering up.

It is also worth noting that in the early hours of the morning, your child’s core body temperature will drop to its lowest level and this can, in some cases, lead to early morning rising – something that every parent wants to avoid!  In the winter months you may want to time your heating to come on in the early hours of the morning (around 2-4am) to prevent your child from getting too cold.

Keep it dark

We all associate darkness with sleep, but what is it about darkness that actually helps us fall asleep?  The answer is a rather helpful hormone called melatonin.  Melatonin is known as the “sleep hormone” but it doesn’t actually make you fall asleep.  Instead, it helps with the timing of sleep.  So, when melatonin is released, your child starts to feel sleepy.  Which is exactly what you want at bedtime!

However, bright lights and especially blue lights emitted by screens can prevent the release of this hormone, which means your child won’t get that natural sleepy feeling at bedtime.  This is why I recommend that you keep the bedroom environment dimly lit during the bedtime routine and avoid screens for at least one-two hours before bedtime.

Remember that investing in some good blackout blinds is very helpful to prevent your child from waking when the sun streams into their bedroom…all too important in the summer months.  Younger children are particularly sensitive to morning sunlight and this can lead to a habit of early rising.

Keep toys at bay

Ideally, you will want your child’s bedroom to be associated with sleep.  That’s why I advise keeping most of your child’s toys elsewhere (if possible) and keeping your child’s bedroom calm – perhaps with some cuddly toys, books and maybe a couple of puzzles.  This helps your child understand that bedtime is sleep time and not play time.  It will also help make your bedtime routine calmer and more soothing.

Create a calm bedtime routine

Don’t forget to create a relaxing bedtime routine for your child to help them unwind before bed.  Sleep is not instant like the flick of a switch.  Instead, the body needs time to prepare.  You can create a bedtime routine for even the youngest of babies.  The key is to make it predictable and consistent every night – so you that your child knows what to expect.

Sleep Superstars is offering 15% off personalised sleep plans

Do you have a child aged 6-36 months who is in need of some sleep help?  Sleep Superstars provides personalised sleep plans that are instantly available and affordable – starting from just £49.  Each sleep plan is tailored to your child and your parental preferences.  You will also get access to the Sleep Support Hub – a unique resource full of tools, FAQs and problem-solvers to help guide and support you.  Find out how it works and view our packages here.  Please use the coupon code PUREEARTH15 to get a 15% discount when you purchase a Sleep Plan from Sleep Superstars this month.