The summer holidays can throw out the whole family's sleep pattern, but don't worry Silentnight's sleep expert can get you back on track with a few simple steps.

Earlier bedtimes

Earlier bedtimes

Dr Nerina Ramlakhan, says: "The school holidays are an exciting time for children, but lie-ins, afternoon naps, and late nights, hugely affect both parents' and children's' body clocks.

"Routine is key to children waking up refreshed and feeling ready for bed at a suitable time. My advice to parents is to start getting back into a routine now - and soon the family will be back into a healthy sleeping pattern."

Dr Nerina, a physiologist, sleep therapist, author and consultant for more than 20 years, has listed her top sleep tips to help your child ease back into their school-time sleep schedules:

1. Start to introduce technology-free time in the evenings

An hour or so before children go to bed, rule out any blue light. This means no TV, tablets or mobile phones, which have the adverse effect of telling our brains that we want to be awake. The bedroom should be a technology free environment.

2. Gradually reintroduce earlier bedtimes

Over the next few days gradually shift bedtime earlier to allow children to adjust.

3. A calming pre-sleep routine

Relaxing baths with lavender, a milky drink or reading are great ways to help children wind down and feel ready for bed.

4. Have a chat

Heading back to school or starting a new one, can be worrying for some children, and leave them feeling anxious. Talk to your child about any concerns they may have before bedtime and reassure them.

5. Create a sleep friendly bedroom

Keep bedrooms cool with freshly laundered bedding, possibly lavender fragranced, to make the room feel very calming and relaxing.

6. Exercise is key

Regular exercise is one of the most effective ways of reducing stress hormone levels (mainly adrenaline) thus enabling you to sleep more deeply. A short walk with children after the evening meal would be the perfect exercise to help them wind down.

7. Good nutritional habits

To help us sleep we need a good balance of the hormones serotonin and melatonin in our system. Preparing balanced meals will help to promote a healthy hormone balance - food such as chicken, cheese, tuna, eggs, nuts and milk are all high in serotonin.

For more information and sleep tips visit www.silentnight.co.uk/sleep-matters


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