As fun as the summer holidays are, they aren’t always good for our sleep habits. From late nights to lie-ins, too much screen time and lots of sugary foods, this can all contribute to a disrupted bedtime routine.
Come September, however, it’s important we re-establish a healthy sleep routine. This is especially true for children, who will be returning back to school.
September also welcomes The Sleep Charity’s annual event, Sleeptember, which raises awareness of the importance of sleep. This includes what you can do to achieve a better night's rest and what benefits sleep can bring.
So, what better opportunity than to look at some top sleep tips for children and adults alike? Alison Jones, Sleep Expert at leading bed brand, Sealy UK, shares her wisdom.
1. Re-establish a bedtime routine
It’s all too easy to let your normal routine slip during the summer nights. However, now is the time to re-establish a calming, healthy sleep routine, in three easy steps.
- Enjoy a relaxing bath
- Create a calm sleeping environment
- Try some relaxation techniques
Step 1 - Enjoy a relaxing bath
A bath before bed can promote sleep. After a bath, the drop in body temperature mimics the body’s natural decrease in temperature as it prepares itself for sleep. This makes you feel sleepy.
Step 2 - Create a calm sleeping environment
Avoid bright lights in the run-up to bedtime. This communicates to your brain that it is time to sleep. Dim light naturally increases your melatonin levels (the sleep hormone), which can make you feel tired.
Here are some things that can help avoid putting strain on your eyes:
- Close your bedroom curtains
- Disconnect from tablets, phones and other screens
- Turn off all main room lights and use night lights
- Try to only use lights with warmer tones
Step 3 - Try some relaxation techniques
For adults, relaxation techniques can help the body prepare for sleep, while also helping the mind to unwind.
The following activities can really help pave the way for a better night’s sleep:
- Low impact stretching
Following a bedtime routine will alert your brain and body that it is nearing bedtime and help to induce tiredness. Once you’ve established a routine that works for you, we have plenty more tips and tricks on how to get a good night's sleep all year round.
2. Limit screen time
Though it may be tempting to give your child some down-time by playing a video game or watching a film before bed, the blue light emitted from the screens can negatively impact their sleep. The same is true if you can’t seem to stop scrolling through your phone before going to sleep.
Blue light impacts the melatonin levels in the body (the sleep-inducing hormone), which can make it more difficult for you to fall asleep. As technology is becoming more popular among children, this is our main back to school sleep tip.
This doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy watching a family film or playing video games in the evening. As long as you create a technology-free environment at least 30 minutes before bedtime in your sleep routine, you’ll have enough time to relax your eyes and wind down for sleeping.
Here are some relaxing alternatives to technology you could add to your bedtime routine:
|Bedtime routine for adults||Bedtime routine for children|
|Reading a book||Reading bedtime stories|
|Listening to calming music||Singing lullabies|
|Listening to a podcast||Listening to relaxing music|
3. Avoid sugary foods too close to bedtime
Children who go to bed hungry risk missing out on a great night's sleep, and this applies to adults too.
Planning a snack about 45 minutes to one hour before bed is good for a healthy sleep routine because you won’t feel tempted to reach for a midnight feast. That being said, you should avoid sweet treats as they have a high sugar content and will increase your energy levels.
Instead, try to opt for something healthier and ideally savoury. This is because the energy in these foods is released over a longer period of time, meaning you won’t feel so awake when it comes to falling asleep.
Below are a few examples of foods to avoid before bedtime and some better alternatives:
|Bad foods to have before bed||Good foods to have before bed|
|Chocolate||Whole grain toast|
If you find yourself craving something sweet, try to eat something natural like fruit or yoghurt. This way you still get a sweet treat, without the burst of energy that follows.
4. Make sure you have the right mattress
Sleeptember is the perfect time to create a cosy sleep environment. What better way to achieve this than by investing in a new mattress?
A comfy bed is also inviting - you’ll naturally want to start your bedtime routine earlier! This helps increase both the quantity and quality of your sleep.
A comfortable and supportive mattress can really make the difference between waking up refreshed and revived, and feeling exhausted. Here are our top picks, specifically chosen with parents in mind.
Best for firm, orthopaedic support
Are you looking for a firmer mattress with plenty of support? Sealy’s Steeple Ortho Plus Mattress features exclusive PostureTech Core Support springs for deep-down support.
This best-selling mattress features PostureTech Core Support Springs for a remarkably firm feel. We rate it orthopaedic.
It comes complete with temperature-regulating Adaptive technology for a cooler night’s sleep. Plus, it’s covered with temperature-regulating Tencel fabric for freshness as you sleep.
Best-rated memory foam mattress
Do you prefer cushioned, cosy comfort after a long day? Try Sealy Alston Gel Pillowtop Advantage Mattress.
This gel foam mattress is loved by customers and highly rated. Featuring a responsive layer of memory foam, you’ll enjoy sumptuous, pressure-relieving comfort, exceptional comfort and high levels of support.
It includes Purotex technology for a clean, fresh sleep and it’s hypoallergenic too. This mattress certainly has everything you need for the perfect night's sleep.
For little ones
Children will be excited to get into bed if they enjoy their surroundings, and have a comfy mattress. This can really help encourage a good bedtime routine, in the run-up to going back to school.
To support this, you could involve them in the décor and lighting of their room. This could include asking them to help choose lights, colour schemes and bedding.
Support for growing bodies
For little ones, the Sealy Waltham Latex Advantage Mattress provides the perfect balance of comfort and support for their growing bodies. Combining PostureTech Core Support with a deep quilted cover, this mattress provides added cushioning where they need it the most.
Ideal for healthy spinal alignment
The Sealy Alston Gel Pillowtop Advantage Mattress helps to correctly support and align the spine in its natural shape for a restful night's sleep. Featuring a plush pillow top, it will feel snuggly and extra comfy too.
5. Increase physical exercise
During the holidays, you may be less likely to exercise regularly. This can impact both the quality and regularity of your sleep.
However, exercise can improve your sleep. Here are some key benefits exercise can have on your sleep:
- Exercise helps you fall asleep faster
- You may sleep more deeply
- It can support a healthy sleep routine
When going back to school or work, try to increase movement. If possible, you could establish an exercise routine for the whole family.
You should exercise no later than three hours before going to bed. This will give your body a chance to regulate endorphin levels and give your brain time to wind down, before going to sleep.
Depending on individual fitness levels, exercise can be as strenuous or gentle as you wish. To encourage children to move more, parents can initiate a family activity such as outdoor games, swimming or a simple afternoon walk.
Just like adults, children thrive on routine, so it’s important to regain an element of structure after returning from a holiday. Eating too late, lack of exercise and exposure to blue light can all impact both the quality and quantity of sleep for both adults and children alike.
Sleeptember focuses on children’s bedtime routines as they go back to school. It’s a great time to make little ones aware of the importance of having a healthy and consistent routine. To discover how you and your family can get better sleep, you’ll find further tips and support in the Mattress Online blog.
Mattress Online has teamed up with Sealy this Sleeptember to bring you the best products for a quality night’s sleep. If you want to refresh your bedroom, take a look at the fantastic Sealy mattresses and beds we have available!