Getting a child to sleep can be a very stressful and testing time, here is some advice that may help make it easier for you.

Setting the scene – A Calm Bedroom


  • Pale neutral colours on the walls
  • Black out Blinds/Black out curtains
  • Comfortable bed – no lumps /right size
  • Night light – soft glow safe to leave all night if needed
  • Cool room – 16 – 18 degrees
  • No TV/iPad/X Box/Mobile Phone
  • No Toys/Hide them away
  • Never use the Bedroom as a ‘Naughty Place’

Not calming

  • Bright colours/posters
  • Bright character curtains
  • Old bed/old mattress /too small/ too lumpy
  • Bright lighting /Street light outside window/busy road outside
  • Too hot́
  • Gadgets can interfere with bodies natural Melatonin
  • Toys are tempting things to play with during the night

Supper Time – Sleepy Foods

Good Sleepy Foods

  • A light snack before bed can be helpful
  • Tryptophan – an essential amino acid helps us sleep – naturally present in dairy products
  • Cheese – (an old wives tale!)
  • Milk – cold or warm. With or without cereal.
  • Water/Diluted juice/ Cherry Juice is very good – contains Melatonin
  • Turkey
  • Potatoes
  • Oats /Oatmeal biscuits
  • Bananas – contain Melatonin and Magnesium (which also helps to relax muscles)
  • Peanut Butter/Almonds/
  • Honey
  • Wholemeal Bread/Toast
  • Pasta

Not Sleepy Foods

  • A big meal before bedtime makes it difficult to get comfortable
  • Caffeine – a stimulant . Coffee/Tea/Hot Chocolate/Fizzy Pop
  • Fruit/natural fruit juice – contains sugar – gives a rush before bedtime
  • Blackcurrant Juice – A diuretic – makes you wee!
  • Chips/Hot dogs/Burgers Sugary Cereal
  • Chocolate – caffeine in it!
  • Sugary Biscuits
  • Ice Cream

Bedtime Routines really work….

Some things you could try

  • Switch off computers and TVS/Gadgets at least an hour before the Bedtime routine starts. Screen activity promotes Blue Light – which interferes with the body’s production of the sleep hormone Melatonin.
  • Try table top activities – colouring in, jigsaws, threading activities – all encourage relaxation before bedtime. Massage can help some children to unwind.
  • Usual visual timers/timetables to help your child know what is to happen next.
  • Have bath time 30 minutes before bed – as long as this does not cause stimulation – otherwise try bath time in the morning instead.
  • Toothbrushing, curtains closed, Pyjamas on – in to bed. Teach bedtime associations as part of the routine. Use calming music/bedtime story.
  • Teach relaxation techniques/concentrating on breathing/counting sheep to relax whole body.
  • Say goodnight and leave your child to fall asleep alone.
  • Become a ‘Robotic Parent’ – ‘it’s night time – go to sleep’

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