Monday, 11 November 2019

Using Six Senses to Help your Child Sleep

Getting children to want to go to sleep is always tricky and then sometimes getting them to stay asleep is just as hard. There are so many things that you have probably tried and a lot of them may fail, but have you ever thought about how all the senses could come into play when it comes to sleep?

Research has shown that there are ways that you can use sense to help your child settle, and that having the right environment and routine for the senses can really help. So how do we use all these senses to help our child sleep? 

1. Taste

Did you know that whilst your little one is sleeping their brain uses a lot of energy, and the brain needs a constant supply of sugar to help it function?

Whilst too much sugar before bed is never a good idea…without a certain type of sugar their brain will not be able to recharge as it is meant to. It will then crave fuel in the form of food and sugar and may well wake your child so it can be provided with that fuel.
The sugar that is needed is stored in your liver and called liver glycogen. It is said that giving a little extra of this type of sugar before bed could help the brain function better while your sleeping resulting in less wake ups. One way of getting this extra sugar is by using raw honey. The honey when taken without protein and in the raw form can help better brain function and would also maintain the correct level of blood glucose throughout the night.
So you could give your child 1-2 teaspoons before bed (though watch out for sticky mess) and you could even put some if the raw honey in some warm milk to make a sweet hot drink which will also help relax your child before bed. 


2. Smell

If you are reading this, then you are probably finding that bedtimes can be hard work. For some reason your little one is acting up, not wanting to sleep and is just not settled. Bedtime for a child can be stressful for many reasons. I'm not sure about you but I know that when I go to bed, I often feel stressed, replaying the day over, or thinking about the next day ahead. So as adults we try to do things that will relax us before sleep. There are plenty of things you can do for a child but have you ever thought about how you could use the sense of smell to help relax them? 


You may already know that the scent of Lavender is often advertised as a “calming and relaxing smell”, and one commonly seen with products as a bedtime or sleepy smell. Thats because the scent of Lavender calms nerves and lowers blood pressure. A child can really gain a deeper sleep if they are able to smell this in their bedroom. However, you can’t really start rubbing Lavender oils on a child or lighting lavender smelling candles. So what about getting your child their very own Lavender plant? This is a lovely way to have the scent of Lavender in your child’s room while still keeping it natural. Plus your child will love getting to nurture and water their very own plant...in itself a nice addition to the bedtime routine. 


3. Sight

Almost all experts agree that light at night time is close to the top of the list of things that really has a negative affect on our sleep. Whilst a lot of children like the comfort of a night light, or maybe the landing light coming through, even these small amounts of light can cause problems. Apparently even when your eyes are closed some light will still get through the thin eyelid skin. So why is darkness so important? When your brain senses pure darkness, it stimulates the production of Melatonin (which is the key sleep hormone that regulates the sleep-wake cycle). The more Melatonin the better the night’s sleep your child will have. You have a few options to try and get rid of all the light. Black out blinds are great for keeping out the majority of summer sunlight and keeping that landing light off if possible will help, but you may also consider a child sleep mask. There are proven benefits of wearing a sleeping mask and the main one is that it eliminates all light meaning that more melatonin is produced for a better nights sleep. 
(Warning - while there are no reported dangers on sleep masks, please make sure it is age appropriate for your child) 


4. Hearing

Have you ever noticed that, when you are trying to get to sleep, noises that you don’t normally hear in the daytime suddenly become a lot louder? For example Ticking of the clock, Traffic noise outside. This will be exactly the same for your children. Most parents are up watching TV while their little one is in bed, and I know that Lily somehow manages to hear every little bump or noise that comes from outside. This in turn really doesn’t help her get to sleep and often contributes to her getting out of bed several times.

But would you believe that some noise is said to help enhance your sleep by simply diffusing those intrusive noises. That noise is called white noise and is a constant sound that is soothing and that you can zone out on and fall asleep to. 
For adults white noises like an electric fan and radio static can work well. But I think for our children something more natural and familiar like the sound of water, or wind chimes could be more effective. This could be played on a CD player, Alexa, or any one of the free sleep apps available for soft atmospheric soothing sounds. After you have found the one your child likes, this will be the perfect way to distract them from all those sounds that interfere with their sleep.



5. Touch

When it comes to sleeping, your child is generally sleeping alone, closing their eyes and drifting off to a unknown place which is separated from the waking world. The idea of this could seem quite daunting to a child making them not want to go to sleep or even wake up in the middle of the night calling out for your comfort.
So the ideal thing that is needed here is comfort and reassurance and this can be done through touch


There are plenty of things you can provide for your child to create this comfort. One of the best is a soft and fluffy character which your child can not only get comfort from but also a security feeling (like someone else is sleeping with them). You could get your child a snuggly dream pillow, which is a super cute character that they can not only rest their head on but cuddle up to and put their hands inside. The two pleasing outside and inside textures on their face and hands should help them feel safe and warm, as well as cosy and comfortable. Which should help them feel happier to want to fall asleep. 


6. The Common Sense 

Be honest, you all thought that the 6th sense I was going to be speaking about was something ghosty? No, I am though going to talk about adding another dimension to something we all know about and want to do for our children and that is spend quality time with them before bed. Calming all their senses may not be enough if your child hasn’t felt they get that 'good night' time before bed. I am sure there are lots of ways that you already do this, which is one reason I have called it “The Common Sense”. There is however one more thing you 

could introduce which can be a game changer before bedtime - The Dream PillowThe idea behind it is that the child can sit with you, snuggle up, and discuss what they would like to dream about then write it or draw it on a cloud shaped 'dream wish note'. They then pop it into their pillow to help them dream good dreams.

The science behind it is known as "Image Rehearsal Technique" which is if where someone writes/talks or draws about something for two weeks or more, it is likely to become part of their dreams.
This can really help a child feel more in control when it comes to both their dreams, and bedtime itself, which encourages a child to want to sleep. It also provides the perfect opportunity for a child to open up about anything that is troubling them. A child getting their problems off their chest before they sleep can ensure your child is more ready to sleep and also less likely to wake up during the night with nightmares or night terrors. Night terrors are simular to nightmares but the child cannot remember them.


This simple ritual need not take long but whether your child comes up with wonderful things or confide their worries it can only enhance the parent child bond.

As a new night time routine, the things above could really help change your child’s sleep for the better. They are all simple solutions, that in my opinion are well worth the try. So what are you waiting for? Lets gets rid of these "bed time battles".

Watch our short video on how to use your child's 5 senses and "The Common Sense Solution" 



Would you try these methods to help your child sleep? 

Dream Pillow are offering 25% off to anyone who wishes to purchase a Dream Pillow from the website. Click Here! and enter the code Lily25 at the checkout.

Or you may be interested in our Sensory Promotional Pack which as well as a Dream Pillow you receive some Honey, A child's sleep mask, A Relaxing sounds CD, and a small bag of Lavender. Click here, choose your Dream Pillow then Enter 5Senses5% at the checkout. 


Both offers expire on Cyber Monday the 2nd December 


*Disclaimer - this is paid collaboration* 

55 comments:

  1. Such a good idea to get them using their senses and feeling good before bed

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  2. What a brilliant idea.....love the Lamby character.

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  3. fascinating about the sugar before bed, going to try this in my daughter's milk

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  4. having a regular bedtime routine as well, and stick to it religiously!

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  5. Yes - routine is essential
    Good technique learnt while young can only benefit all

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  6. I am going to share this with a friend of my mine who is having lots of trouble with her child sleeping atm, thank you.

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  7. Good article with some great ideas

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  8. My daughter is 9 and has sensory processing disorder. For the most part, we cope well with it, but sleep is the one thing we haven't cracked yet! We have a compression sheet and weighted blanket but neither have helped. I'd be interested to see if something as simple as this would! :D

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  9. Thanks for some an excellent tips to solve the problem of getting the children off to sleep.

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  10. great tips, I will certainly be following them

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  11. Really good reading, as a mum to four little people, certainly ideas I will take on board with them.

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  12. Great tips..I'm currently trying to get my toddler to sleep in her own room in a big bed

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  13. great ideas never really thought about their senses and sleeping

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  14. It's a really interesting post. Senses are so important!

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  15. These are brilliant idea . A bedtime routine is so important for kids

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  16. these pillows are amazing, love to win

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  17. I will definitely be trying some of these. Olivia is awful to get to sleep although she is fine when she finally goes to sleep

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  18. Id never even considerewd some of these before now to help my little man. hes 11 and has adhd and queried asd. So when he really goes int a meltdown mode he can go for a couple of weeks with no sleep which then leads to fatigue and then pain in his joints resulting in injuries because of his Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome where his body is too tired and this connective tissue disorder means his connective tissue struggles to work as it should protecting the joints and supporting them. HE inherited this last one from me and for that reason alone I know all too well what it feels like.

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  19. Extremely helpful, lots of great advice and lots of things I'd never considered before as affecting sleep

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  20. I love using lavender essential oil on the pillow, it works a treat. Having a lavender plant is a lovely idea. I need to see if I can find one.

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  21. great ideas and well worth emulating, this may help with my daughter's stubborn bedtime streak xx

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  22. Awesome ideas, keeping to a routine seems to work well for us

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  23. We have always tried to follow the same sleep routine with each of the children, there is the odd day when it doesn't go to plan but that's life

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  24. I use a sleep mask. I sleep longer than I would on lighter mornings

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  25. Oh wow how interesting is this. Some really good ideas here. Establishing routine is super important xx

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  26. Some really great tips here . Can definitely agree with lavender. I’ve used it with all three girls and myself and it works an absolute treat

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  27. I have read many different posts and articles about getting children to sleep but yours is the most unusual - and most helpful! Thank you.

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  28. Wow,very simple and clever techniques that I will be certainly trying over the next couple of days. Thank you!!

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  29. I will try these techniques, I'm trying to get my daughter back in her own bed, as she has been sleeping in my room since my partner passed away this year. Fingers crossed these tips will help.

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  30. These are very good techniques. I really think children should be taught sign language in school even just some basic ones

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  31. THANK YOU FOR HOSTING THE BLOG AND FOR THE ARTICLE - GREAT IDEAS AND TIPS xx

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  32. What a cool post, this is do helpful to parents of young ones who are struggling with good sleep. Mich X

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  33. This is such a lovely idea using all senses to help the child sleep, lavender bath often works for our bubba

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  34. Really enjoyed reading this post, hadn't thought of breaking it down through the senses! Lots of helpful advice.

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  35. A milky drink before bed contains enough sugar and the tryptophan in milk sends you to sleep. Interesting post

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  36. Some great tips here. We used to use some sleep spray and sleep balm of the wrists. I can still smell it now when I think of it.

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  37. Great tips that I will be trying on myself!

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  38. This is a great informative post! I will be trying some of these with my daughter for sure!

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  39. An amazing idea, your review is extremely informative, and I'd really love to get my granddaughter one now!

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  40. fab tips. id love one for my niece

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  41. Great reading. I seem to have passed on the trouble sleeping gene so some great ideas to try

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  42. Some useful suggestions to help. My son likes it pitch black in his room and cuddles his jellycat bunnies and goes to sleep straight away thankfully

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  43. Great tips! My daughter's generally okay once she's in bed - it's just getting her into it...

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  44. Great ideas, thankyou for the competition x

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  45. Very interesting, especially the honey before bed, will be trying this out for sure

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  46. This is a good excuse to give my children hot chocolate before bed. I didn't realise the sugar could help calm them.

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  47. Lots of great tips

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  48. Aww lamby! Great ideas, especially the honey before bed. Something I'm going to have to try!

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  49. Some great ideas I'll forward to my daughter to see if it will help with my grandson

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  50. Definitely, some fantastic ideas for getting them ready for bed and off to sleep easier!

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