It's been so hot of late that the kids have really been struggling to get to sleep. Ieuan can't quite believe how hot it is and keeps demanding that I turn the heating off!
It's not so bad at the weekend because the kids can sleep in. I say can but obviously they're still up early and then dissolve into a major grump around lunchtime. But on school nights, I really want to help them to get some sleep so that they can cope with their busy day.
I don't think altering their sleep schedule is a good idea, tempting though it is to let them stay up a bit longer to make the most of the lighter evenings.
Having worked so hard to get our kids into a regular sleep schedule, I would rather try to make their sleeping environment more comfortable.
Here are some tips you might find useful.
- let your kids sleep in the coolest room in the house and make sure that air can circulate around them - for example by removing any padding around a cot
- don't leave babies to sleep in a pram - they can be hot and airless.
- don't use a pillow or mattress that your baby sinks down into and put them to bed in just a nappy.
- keep curtains closed during the day and, if at home, keep the windows ajar.
- cover mattresses and waterproof sheets with thick layers of cotton sheets to absorb perspiration and prevent prickly heat rash.
- take duvets out of duvet covers and let kids sleep under these or just use a plan cotton flat sheet. If you still use a duvet make sure it is a low tog.
- or you could try letting them sleep under a very thin sleeping bag liner or under a damp towel while keeping the mattress protected with a washable mattress protection pad.
- close windows and stick blackout material on them during the hottest hours; you can open them again when it's cooler.
- consider investing in a small portable air conditioner unit
- some mums recommend letting their kids sleep with a wet tea towel on their chest or you could try a cool flannel on their feet if they won't kick it off!
- give kids a cool bath before bed.
- some advise spraying with a plant mister
- place a fan at a low level near a window to circulate the cooler air at night but keep it well away from little fingers.
- swop to light cotton nightwear which is excellent absorbing sweat and may actually keep you cooler than sleeping naked.
- hang wet towels over chairs or windows to cool the air.
- put your child’s pillowcase or favourite toy in a plastic bag and place it in the fridge for a few hours before bed. When you take it out and put it in their bed, they’ll have a nice cool pillow to help them drift off with, or a cool toy to hug themselves to sleep with.
- you could also try wrapping the ice packs used for picnics in tea towels or filling a hot water bottle from the cold tap and placing it in the fridge.
It 's important to remember that sweating makes you lose both water with the risk of dehydration. This can be compounded if you have excessive and unprotected sun exposure.
Make sure you keep your water levels topped up and are using a suitable sunscreen for both you and the kids.
Have you any 'keep cool' tips to share?