It's Christmas! The most exciting time for children, however, now the festivities are in full swing, the sleep routine you've worked so hard on all year, is likely to suffer.
Our sleep expert, Dr Nerina Ramlakhan, has some essential advice for how to improve your little one's sleep this Christmas.
Dr Nerina says: "If the kids aren't getting enough sleep this Christmas, it's likely that you aren't either. It's important, even at Christmas, to set and keep good routines. This means following a good diet and having good tech habits at night.
Nerina added: "We must remember that, even at Christmas, three to five year olds need 11 to 13 hours sleep a day and may need a nap as well. Six to nine year olds need 10 to 11 hours, while 10 year olds need around 9 hours.
"If we ensure our children are getting the correct amount of sleep at night then we should have very happy kids on Christmas Day!"
Some of Dr Nerina's top tips for restless kids at Christmas include:
- Children thrive on routine. Work out exactly what routine works for your child and stick to it regardless of the time of year
- Ensure that your child eats breakfast every day and ideally within about 30 minutes of getting out of bed. Your child's nutrition plays a vital role in helping them to get good sleep as it makes them produce the sleep hormone, Melatonin. It stabilises their blood sugar levels which is vital for peaceful sleep and creates the right brain chemistry for the sleep hormones to work effectively.
- Try to ensure that they are drinking at least 1 litre of fluid a day as dehydration can cause more frequent waking during the night
- Give them a small protein-based snack before bedtime - for example a cup of milk, small bowl of cereal or toast with a small amount of peanut butter. The protein helps to make melatonin and stabilise blood sugar levels throughout the night
-Minimise sugary snacks and drinks for 2 to 3 hours before bedtime (an obvious one, but one of the most important
- Stimulation is a particularly important if your child is a very sensitive sleeper and tends to engage with information very readily. Minimise time spent at the computer or TV - ideally allowing at least 60- 90 minutes of technology-free time before bed. Reading in bed can be a great way of winding down but encourage them to read books which aren't too over-stimulating and page-turners that have to be finished before they can sleep
Nerina added: "One of my favourite techniques for helping children to get to sleep is to get them comfy in bed and then ask them to think of all the nice things that have happened in their day. In my experience, this helps them to sleep better."
Will it be an early morning for you this year? What time do your kids get up on Christmas Day? Let us know on our Facebook page!