New uniforms and school shoes are often on the agenda as the summer holidays come to an end – but having the right bedroom for a child is just as important.

Good quality sleep is needed to help with concentration and performance during the school day. Plus, studies have shown that children who sleep less tend to eat more which increases the risk of obesity and related health problems later in life.

The right bedroom environment is key to achieving a good night’s sleep and it should be a welcoming space for children.

Here are five top tips on designing the perfect bedroom for your children

Dark is best

A dark bedroom is better for sleep but also to stop early risers! Use black out blinds and curtains to block out any external light. If a child is frightened of complete darkness, use a nightlight designed for bedrooms. Try to avoid using brighter lights such as bedside lamps or landing lights as it can impact on the body’s natural rhythms that trigger sleep. Melatonin (the sleep hormone) is increased when it’s dark.

Zoning – keep sleep and play separate

Try to keep sleep separate from play and study by zoning the various areas of the bedroom. It gives each area a focus and allows for the bed to become an area designated for just bedtime rather than an area where they can play.

Remove toys/gadgets or store away

Children who are overstimulated in the hours before bed (ie active play, use of technology) struggle to settle down and sleep. Try to avoid having too many toys in the bedroom or conceal with clever storage solutions as a messy, cluttered room can impact on sleep. Encourage children as part of the end of play time to put toys away and this will help to signal the start of a wind down bedtime routine. Ideally computers, gaming machines and TVs should be banned from the bedroom but if that’s unlikely keep them away from the bed and try to limit the use of these devices in the hour just before bedtime!

Calm Colours

Get your child involved with the decoration of their bedroom – especially as you want it to be a place they’re happy to be in! However if they’re looking at bright red paint or black wallpaper, it might be better to steer them to more muted shades which create a more relaxing environment. Blues and greens make great bedroom colours.

What they sleep on

While many parents are happy to fork out for fashionable new footwear, they’re not always as willing to pay out for a good bed to ensure their children get a good night’s sleep. A child’s bed must provide the adequate support for growing bones and muscles by holding the spine in correct alignment, with sufficient comfort layers to cradle the body’s contours. Don’t buy second and or use hand me down mattresses either!

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