7 tips for helping kids to sleep better in the summer

Dr Adrian Williams, expert in Sleep Medicine at The London Sleep Centre, has outlined his seven top tips for helping children (and adults) sleep better when the weather is humid.

Research from Mira Showers suggests that over a quarter of children struggle to nod off, and experience a worse night’s sleep in the humid weather.

This leads to them waking up overtired, cranky and upset.

The seven simple tips are:

  1. Maintain a sleep conducive environment that is dark, quiet, comfortable and above all cool: A child’s bedroom should remind you of a bat’s cave – bats are champion sleepers, managing around 16 hours a day.
  2. Mimic air conditioning in your own home using a fan and ice cubes: Point the fan at the bed or cot with the ice cubes in front and ensure the whole bed gets a turn. Or put the sheets and pillow cases in the fridge for a while so they are chilled.
  3. Shower before bed: Give your child a cool shower before bed and don’t dry off fully. Leaving their hair wet will also keep your child’s body temperature lower.
  4. Change where you sleep: Sleeping in hammock is cooler, as is a water bed set to 85°F. But if as these aren’t exactly kid friendly, you could set up a bed on or low to the floor, or at least tell them to poke their feet outside the bed.
  5. Dress for success: Resist the urge to strip your little ones off to sleep nude in hot weather. Wearing loose fitting cotton shorts and shirt will actually be cooler.
  6. Train your body to keep cooler: Air-con stops your body from learning to cope with warm weather, so avoid it during the day and it will help your kids to take the heat in their stride come night-time.
  7. Master the basics: Whatever the weather, getting up at the same time, avoiding caffeinated drinks, and not napping too late in the day will help children to sleep better.