10 top tips to help your child sleep in the heatwave

Image of boy with thumbs up hanging from a bar, with the caption 10 Top Tips To Help Your Child Sleep In The Heatwave
10 Top Tips To Help Your Child Sleep In The Heatwave

In the UK we are experiencing an ongoing heatwave, with no signs of stopping. For many people, the sunshine and heat during the daytime is a very welcome change. However, when night-time comes this can lead to a very bad night’s sleep. In an ideal world, a nursery should be kept at between 16 and 20 degrees Celsius, but without an aircon unit, here are some other ways to try and get the temperature down to near that recommended range.

Tips to help your child sleep:

  • Keep windows shut. During the daytime keep windows shut so that the very hot outside air does not come into the house. The temptation is to open the windows, but during a heatwave the air outside is likely to be much warmer than the air inside.
  • Keep curtains shut, especially in sun facing rooms. When direct sunlight gets into a bedroom it will heat up the room. Keep curtains shut to minimise the bedroom heating up.
  • Give children a cool bath before bed. Usually a warm bath is a good plan before bed to help promote sleep, but during hot weather a cooler bath will help to reduce their body temperature before bed.
  • Use a fan. A fan can help move air around the room to help keep the child cool. A frozen water bottle could also be placed in front of the fan to help blow even cooler air around. Don’t point the fan directly at the child’s face, and make sure that the fan and electric cable are out of reach of the child. Some people worry about the noise of the fan keeping the child awake, but don’t worry. The child will get used to the noise of the fan quickly.
  • Wear less clothes at night. Get the child to sleep in as few clothes as possible to help them to feel cool. A baby can sleep in a nappy alone.
  • Use a cool wet flannel on the forehead. If your child or baby is very upset by the heat, try placing a cool wet flannel on their forehead for a short while. This is especially helpful if the child or baby is very upset, as they are likely to make themselves even hotter when they are distressed.
  • Keep the child hydrated. During hot weather it is easy to get dehydrated. Let the child have a glass or bottle of cold water to drink during the night. This will help them to both cool down and also keep them hydrated. Bottlefed babies can be given cool boiled water.
  • Waterproof mattress covers should be removed. The waterproof sheets that can be placed on beds to help prevent bedwetting accidents getting into the mattress, often encourage sweating. So, for extremely hot weather look into other options for bedwetting – such as nighttime pull-up nappies, using a towel on top of the mattress or use a disposable absorbent mat such as the Huggies DryNites bed mat.
  • Fill a hot water bottle with crushed ice and cold water. This can be really helpful to place in the bad to help keep the temperature down. Make sure that the hot water bottle has a cover so that the ice cold bottle does not come into direct contact with the child.
  • Reassure your child. Sometimes a little reassurance is all that is needed. Reassure your child that the weather is unseasonably hot and that it is perfectly normal for them to feel hot in bed, but that you want to help them feel better by suggesting some of the tips above.

I hope that these tips help you. If you need to talk through any sleep issues with sleep expert Dr Lindsay Browning, contact Trouble Sleeping where we would be delighted to help.

www.troublesleeping.co.uk

Children’s insomnia linked to obesity

Recent research published in the April journal of Sleep (https://doi.org/10.1093/sleep/zsy018) from the University of Warwick has show that children who do not get enough sleep are twice as likely to be overweight than children who do get enough sleep.

They looked at different age groups (infants (0 to <3 years); early childhood (3 to <9 years); middle childhood (9 to <12 years), and adolescents (12 to 18 years). The results showed that “short sleep duration is a risk factor or marker of the development of obesity in infants, children, and adolescents“. Specifically they found that:

  • In babies less than 1 year old who got less than 12 hours sleep, there was a 40% increased risk of weight gain.
  • For children between 3-9 who got less than 9-10 hours sleep, there was a 57% increased risk of weight gain.
  • For children between 9-13 who slept less than 9 hours per night, there was double the risk of increased weight.

The National Sleep Foundation (NSF) in America recommends different sleep durations for different age groups. The recommendations, as stated on their website, are as follows:

  • newborn (0–3 months), 14–17 hours sleep per night
  • infant (4–11 months) 12–15 hours sleep per night
  • toddler (1–2 years), 11–14 hours sleep per night
  • preschool-age (3–5 years), 10–13 hours sleep per night
  • school-age (6–13 years), 9–11 hours sleep per night
  • teenage (14–17 years), 8–10 hours sleep per night

The study also reported the results of brain imaging studies of people with poor sleep compared to those who sleep well. The study showed that sleep loss increased brain activity in areas of the brain which make you want to eat:

When you do not get enough sleep, your brain makes you feel more hungry than you would have been if you had slept well.

This Morning’s Dr Chris explained the results:

https://twitter.com/thismorning/status/986292455086571520?s=21

If you are worried that your child is not getting enough sleep, contact us today to see if we can help you with our children’s sleep services.