Blocking out the light
If sleep (or lack of) is an issue in your family, the good news is you can do something about it. Disturbed sleep isn’t something you just have to ‘put up with’. A little knowledge goes a long way.
How light affects our sleep
The long, bright days of summer can have a big impact on how we sleep. The more light there is, the less easy it can be to drift off. But why is that?
Every night, our body goes through changes that help us sleep. One of these changes is the production of Melatonin, a natural hormone made in the brain. Melatonin helps our body know that it’s night time and gets us ready for sleep.
But melatonin is light sensitive – it only comes out when it’s dark. If the brain thinks it’s still bright outside, it will affect the production of melatonin and it becomes harder to fall asleep. That’s why finding ways to block out the light at bedtime is really important.
Blocking out the light
Here’s Sleep Tight Trafford’s expert sleep practitioner with some helpful tips for building better sleep patterns.
Use blackout blinds or curtains
Settling down in a dark bedroom is an important step to getting a good night’s sleep. Blackout blinds or curtains are a great way to keep the evening light at bay during summer. Already have curtains? You can get special blackout linings to put behind them.
Close the door
Sounds simple, doesn’t it? But even light creeping in from the rest of the house can disturb sleep. If your child sleeps with the bedroom door open, try gradually pulling it closed over a number of weeks.
Choose low watt bulbs
If your child sleeps with the light on, choose lightbulbs with low wattage or use a night light. Or, if you leave the door open and the hall light on – why not try using a night light on the landing?
Use play to overcome fear of the dark
Some children are frightened of the dark. If that’s the case, you can help them overcome this fear by doing some nighttime-themed activities during the day. Here are a few ideas to get you going.
Use projector torches
Projector torches are great fun and you can get them in lots of different themes. Try them out during the day, then slowly transition to using them just before bedtime, leaving the lights off.
Glow in the dark skittles
Use six empty water bottles of the same size for a fun game of glow-in-the-dark skittles. Half fill each bottle with water, then add an activated glow stick and screw on the bottle top. Set up the skittles in a dark room and take turns to knock them over with a ball.
Read a story
There are lots of children’s books about the dark that you could read to your child. You could try ‘The Owl who was afraid of the Dark’ by Jill Tomlinson or ‘Can’t you sleep Little Bear’ by Martin Waddell.