As the summer holidays become a distant memory and the new school year promptly slots itself back into our daily lives, we encourage you not to forget about your child’s bedroom and how it can affect the quality of their sleep and wellbeing.
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 crucial to achieving good quality sleep and should be a welcoming space for children.
Here are five top tips on creating the perfect bedroom for your children:
1. A dark bedroom 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. Avoid using brighter lights such as bedside lamps or landing lights which can impact our natural rhythms that trigger sleep. Melatonin (the sleep hormone) increases when it is dark.
2. Ensure your child’s bed still provides the comfort and support they need
Buying a new bed for your child is probably one of the pricier purchases you will make as a parent, but good sleep (for the whole family!) will benefit their physical and mental wellbeing.
A child’s bed must provide adequate support for growing bones and muscles by holding the spine in correct alignment, with sufficient comfort layers to cradle the body’s contours. Do not buy second and or use hand-me-down mattresses either!
Once you have checked to see if your child need’s a new bed, it is important you buy from a bed brand that is a member of the National Bed Federation. These bed and mattress manufacturers have undergone rigorous independent auditing to certify that they have robust procedures to ensure they comply with UK regulations on safety, cleanliness of fillings and trade descriptions. Read more about NBF-approved brands and find your nearest retailer.
3. Bedroom zoning – keep sleep and play separate
Try to separate sleep from play and study by zoning the various areas of the bedroom. It gives each zone a focus and allows the bed to become an area designated for just bedtime rather than where they can play.
4. Remove toys and gadgets or store them away
Overstimulated children in the hours before bed (i.e., active play, use of technology) will struggle to settle down and sleep. Avoid having too many toys in the bedroom or conceal them with clever storage solutions, as a messy, cluttered room can impact sleep.
Encourage children to incorporate putting toys away at the end of playtime, which will help to signal the start of a wind-down bedtime routine. Ideally, computers, games consoles and TVs should be banned from the bedroom, but if that is not possible, try to limit the use of these devices in the hour just before bedtime! Why not encourage reading a bedtime story instead?
5. Calm colours = calm mind
Get your child involved with decorating their bedroom – especially as you want it to be a place they are happy to be in! Avoid bright red paint or black wallpaper, and steer them to more muted shades that create a more relaxing environment. Blues, greens and blush pinks make great bedroom colours.
Read more information on how to create the perfect bedroom environment for your child.