Bedtime rituals: the secret to a good night’s sleep
We are what you would call a “sleepy family”… we all love our sleep. While others wake up early to go for jogs on the beach, our perfect Sunday morning consists of sleeping in for as long as possible!
My two-year-old daughter has been a great sleeper since she was born. She started sleeping through the night consistently for a solid 12 to 14-hour block since she was around one year old. When people ask what we did to encourage good sleep habits, I can honestly say that we’ve always followed a good wind down ritual before bed.
A few nights this week we deviated from our usual ritual, and left her over stimulated with too much bright light, screen time and energetic interaction before bed, and boy did we pay the price! Her massive meltdown before bed left me extremely frustrated. As soon as I started following it again, everything went back to normal.
Struggling with bedtime? Unfortunately, there is no one size fits all approach. You may need to experiment for a while to figure out what works best for your child, but here are some tips to get you started.
Tips for creating a bedtime ritual
1. Have a set bedtime
Try to keep bedtime at the same time every night. Children should spend at least thirty minutes preparing for bed, but one hour is ideal.
2. Create a calming mood
Avoid vigorous exercise and adrenaline-producing activities before bed. Turn down any loud noises and dim the lights. Lower light helps to stimulate the production of melatonin, the sleep hormone. If you need to play music stick to songs without lyrics, or soothing lullabies and make sure they are at a low volume.
3. Have a routine
Kids love a routine and knowing what to expect next! Have a set routine and follow it consistently every night. Our routine is gentle play, closing curtains, a warm bath, putting on moisturiser, putting on pyjamas, drinking milk, reading books and brushing teeth. I always kiss my daughter and say ‘good night’ and tell her how much I love her before I leave her room. You may also like to incorporate singing, a prayer, bedtime yoga, meditation or stretching.
4. Be consistent
Following the same routine, every night makes it easier for your child to fall asleep by giving his body cues to secrete hormones that induce sleep. Don’t fall victim to delaying tactics! If your child tries to stall you, don’t give in to their demands. Be consistent and persistent.
5. No electronics
In the lead up to bedtime limit iPad, TV, computer and phone usage. The lighting from screens can affect the melatonin production giving the body the impression he isn’t ready for sleep.
6. Offer a comforter
I am a big fan of comforters or a soft teddy your little one can take to bed with them to create a good sleep association.
7. Provide a good sleep environment
Ensure your child is adequately dressed for the temperature and has a suitable sleeping bag. You don’t want your child to be overheated or too cold. Having good quality bedding helps, including a mattress protector that is breathable and won’t cause your child to overheat. Look for products that are approved by the National Asthma Council Australia Sensitive Choice Program and Red Nose (Sids and Kids).
I’ve recently been using the Protect-A-Bed mattress protectors for this very reason. If you are keen to find out more about their products read my review below.
Review of the Protect-A-Bed Traditional Cotton Quilted fitted mattress protector
A true homebody, I love all things bedding. We spend one-third of our life sleeping, so that's why I'm a huge advocate for investing in good quality sleep products.
I’ve have had trouble in the past with mattress protectors which have failed me. Two years ago, I spent thousands on the perfect mattress and it already has two stains from my daughter having two little accidents on the bed.
I’ve spent hundreds on waterproof mattress protectors and was left disappointed. They felt plasticky and made a scrunch sound. When I slept on them they made me sweat and I could never get a good night’s sleep. Some didn’t wash well at all, and it wasn’t long before I had to replace them. Flushing money down the drain does not make this mama happy at all.
Allergies run in our family. My two-year-old daughter has battled with eczema since she was a newborn. I was recently diagnosed with an allergy to dust mites after suffering from chronic sinusitis for the last two years. So what attracted me to the Protect-A-Bed mattress protector was that it is naturally hypoallergenic. It has an allergen barrier to minimise exposure to dust mites, mould and bacteria.
Don't think that's a big deal? Well, it is! Dust mites lurk in an unprotected mattress and are a major cause of asthma and allergies. As much as 30% of the population is allergic to dust mite waste. This could be you and you don’t even know!
So when I was gifted with a Protect-A-Bed mattress protector I was keen to try it out. I heard great things, but did it actually live up to the hype?
The first thing I noticed when I took it out of its packaging is that it was cotton quilted with plush filling. This made it feel quite soft and luxurious. Also, it didn't have that horrible cheap smell or feel of plastic that some mattress protectors do.
After washing it, I placed it outside to dry, and then put it in the dryer for thirty minutes. I loved that it fit on my super deep mattress easily.
The first night I noticed straight away how comfortable and breathable it was. When I tossed and turned I heard no noise! Silence! I also didn’t sweat and my body remained at a comfortable temperature all night.
My overall feedback
It’s silent! That’s right it doesn’t make that scrunch sound that some of the other ones make.
I love that its cotton! This is a big bonus for me as its super breathable and also soft and comfortable to sleep on.
It’s naturally hypoallergenic. It has a dust mite and allergen barrier.
It has a large depth. I love that the depth expands from 20cm to 50cm. I have a super thick king size mattress and it fits nicely. I didn’t need to worry about measuring my mattress and stressing about finding the right size, I knew it would fit.
It was easy to fit on my mattress. I didn’t need my husband to help me, and I didn’t break a nail in the process (yes, that’s happened to me before).
It’s machine washable at 60°c and you can even throw it in the dryer. Bonus! I love things you can tumble dry, as I do this often during winter time.
It’s very affordable. I found the pricing to the quite affordable compared to many other mattress protectors I have purchased in the past which have put a huge dent in my budget.
I don’t use electric blankets personally, but it is electric blanket safe.
It has a 5-year guarantee.
It’s Australian made.
It’s approved by the National Asthma Council Australia Sensitive Choice Program and Red Nose (Sids and Kids).
Protect-A-Bed offers a mattress guarantee. At selected mattress retailers, if you purchase a Protect-A-Bed mattress protector, together with a new mattress, and both items are shown on the same sales receipt, Protect-A-Bed guarantees the mattress sleep surface against staining. Yes, really!
I found when I washed it, it took an awfully long time to dry on the clothesline, so I had to tumble dry it to ensure it was completely dry.
It moves a bit on the bed and doesn’t fit very snugly. To rectify this, I actually put another one of my snugger fitting mattress protectors (non-waterproof) on top to keep it in place. This seems to be working great for me.
So what’s the verdict?
I have only been using this product for a few weeks now. So I can’t rate the longevity of the product. However, so far, so good! I loved how breathable it is, and how comfy it is to sleep on. My allergies haven’t seemed to flare up which is a bonus. I have been very happy with this product so I am in the process of selecting additional products to purchase for our guest bedroom.
Where to buy
You can also find out where to buy the products here.
Want free shipping? Enter code SYDNEYMUMS upon checkout.
For more information on their range of products visit Protect-A-Bed.
*I was gifted with this mattress protector from Protect-A-Bed, however, views are my own. I only endorse products I genuinely believe in.