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Staying On Track With Sleep This Summer

Staying On Track With Sleep This Summer

Summer is coming before we know it and I have a real mix of emotions heading into it.  I’m looking forward to more relaxed days and unplanned time for impromptu fun. I’m also well aware that by the end of summer, I will be craving the structure and routine that the school year provides.  I’m also wondering what my kids will think when the days are longer and the sun is brighter.  Will they push me in the morning to get up early? Will they want to stay up super late? Is naptime going to be impossible? What about traveling? Will they ever sleep when we return from such a huge time change? As a sleep specialist in Tulsa, I have a few recommendations to keep you on track this summer with sleep!

1. Use blackout curtains.

This right here will trick your kiddos bodies into thinking that it is nighttime. The sun is brighter and works extra hard to shine through those windows this time of year.  Unfortunately, the light can cause a rise in our wake (or stress) hormone, called cortisol.  This is the last thing we need fighting that bedtime melatonin so let’s shut the curtains!  You don’t have blackout curtains? That is okay, you can tape aluminum foil or black garbage bags to your child’s windows. Whichever method you use, try to have the darkness a 8 or 9 on a scale of 1-10.

2. Keep the bedroom cool.

Summer can get hot, and we know each year seems to get that much hotter! This can make it more challenging to sleep if our bedrooms get too warm. Turn on the air conditioning or get those fans dusted off so you’re ready.  An ideal temperature for the bedroom should be between 68-72F.

3. Honor the same bedtime.

Changing our bedtime constantly can really mess with our circadian rhythm and therefore cause early wakeups, restless sleep, and overall, more exhaustion. Keeping a normal bedtime will help to prevent this from happening.  We all know, however, that life happens, and you’ll have some fun things planned for those beautiful summer evenings.  Give yourself grace and allow an occasional change in routine.  Just make it the exception, rather than the rule!

4. Don’t change your routine.

I know. I know.  These words either bring you comfort or send you into a spiral, especially during the summer months. Try to plan your activities around nap time for the little ones or offer a car or stroller nap at the appropriate nap time.  The other routine I’m referring to is the bedtime routine.  This can be adapted to different places if you’re traveling but try to make it look the same as usual even as you move into this season of unscheduled time. 

5. Get outside for some exercise and vitamin D.

We build what I like to call sleep pressure throughout our day.  One way we ensure we build enough is by getting our bodies moving.  Send your kids out the door to the backyard, go to the beach, playground, or on walks! The more they move their bodies, the better they will sleep.  If it is too hot where you live, hit up the trampoline parks, splash pads, or indoor playgrounds!

6. Limit the sugar.

Summertime is HARD for this! All those popsicles, BBQs with family and friends, and ice cream cones are already screaming our kids’ names! Let them enjoy them but not all day long.  I like to suggest the sweet treat be enjoyed in the early to midafternoon. This is after nap time but early enough that it won’t interfere with dinner or bedtime. You might also consider popsicles with no added sugars or serving frozen blueberries as a post-dinner treat!


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If you need more information, have questions, or would like to offer a suggestion, please get in touch. You can contact me via phone, email or by filling out the form.

feather
Sleep Coach for Families