Set Your Child’s Biological Clock

Posted by in No-Cry Sleep

Consistency is important for your little one’s sleep routine. Setting a specific bed time and sticking to it can end many bedtime struggles. Even better, you can take advantage of your children’s natural biology so that they are actually tired when the predetermined bedtime arrives.
 
You can’t make children sleep, but you can build a soothing routine and get them into bed on time!

This is a true enough statement, but the theory creates all kinds of chaos in the house when said children are jumping on the bed, playing in the bed, popping out of the bed and generally doing everything in the bed . . . but sleeping. The missing link here is actually having your kids be tired enough to lie down on the bed and go to sleep.

 

Elizabeth, 2

Elizabeth, 2


 

Dim the lights.

Darkness is the biological “stop” button. Darkness causes an increase in the release of melatonin, the body’s natural sleep hormone. You can help align your children’s sleepiness with their bedtime by dimming the lights in your home during the hour or two before bedtime.
 

Use night-lights judiciously.

Choose those that are small and dim. If your child wakes in the night for a diaper change, a bottle, or a trip to the potty, things like turning lights on or opening the refrigerator and flooding the room with light can accidentally signal morning’s arrival. Yikes!

Studies have shown that even the light of a 100-watt bulb held 10 feet away is powerful enough to reset your biological clock! Keeping this in mind, use the least amount of light you can in your middle-of-the-night duties.

Kaylee, 2 and Bella, 4

Kaylee, 2 and Bella, 4


 

Reduce incidental lights.

A streetlight outside his window, car lights flickering past, morning sunlight, or the neighbor’s kitchen lights coming through the window can call out to sleeping children, waking them in the night or earlier in the morning than you’d like. Do what you can to prevent light from entering your child’s room. Use light-blocking curtains or shades, or cut cardboard boxes to fit inside windows.

Sam, 3 and Olive, 18 months

Sam, 3 and Olive, 18 months

 

Share: How do you keep the lights low?

 

2 Comments

  1. Elizabeth, I love your advice. You saved us from going completely crazy when our children were every little and we thought there was something wrong because they wouldn’t go straight to sleep. We are in Norway some of the year and so have very, very long hours of daylight in the summer (just 3 hours of darkness), but we have always followed your rule of keeping strictly to bedtime routines and times, and we have no problems! So thank you, thank you x

    • Hi Fiona ~ I am so happy to hear that my ideas have been helpful to you. There’s nothing like a good night’s sleep for everyone!

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