How to Help Your Kids Sleep Better During Summer

Father helping his child relax to sleep
Side view portrait of loving African-American dad embracing baby son while playing at home, copy space

Article at a Glance: 

  • During summer months, we have longer days of sunshine and fun times to look forward to. But, with the longer days of sunlight, keeping a consistent sleep schedule for your kids may pose a challenge.
  • The key factors associated with helping kids sleep better during the summer are: sticking to a routine, as well as managing light exposure and temperature during the evenings. 
  • UV protection and hydration are also important safety measures that can help provide comfort and uninterrupted sleep at night. 
  • Of course, kids of different ages may require different amounts of sleep. Just remember that consistency is vital, and that includes nap time.
  • TrueDark® Kids Eyewear are available for daytime and nighttime use. Together, these glasses help your kids get their light right for better energy, mood, and sleep.
  • TrueDark® Kids’ Sleep-Hacking glasses are especially effective on long summer nights.

The Summer months offer longer days and warmer weather — and kids do not want to go to bed because it’s still light outside!   So, what do you do? Try these simple tips for getting children to bed, and to sleep, even on the brightest of Summer evenings.

Stick to a Regular Bedtime Routine

Children like routines because they feel familiar. Use this to your advantage and follow the same bedtime routine every single night, all year round. Bathe, put on light-weight natural fiber sleepwear, brush teeth, and have them read with a parent. Your kids will naturally become tired around bedtime. By the way, if you’re planning on taking your kids camping, being out in nature without excess junk light is a great way to hit the reset button on their circadian rhythms. They will also really enjoy being able to see the stars clearly at night!

Black It Out at Night

Certain parts of the world stay much lighter than normal during the summer (such as the northern countries, provinces, and states). It is extremely difficult to fall asleep when the sky is still light out. This is because our brains use changes in light to signal melatonin release, and persistent light skies at bedtime can slow that process.  One way to alleviate this issue is to install room darkening shades or other window treatments that block light. Sleep inducing eyewear for kids (that use red lenses) are extremely effective in blocking out junk light, even if they are using digital devices with screens, before bed. In the event that your kids are scared of the dark, use a circadian-friendly nightlight that only emits warm red wavelengths (and no blue light).

Keep Your Kids Bedrooms Cool

Temperature is just as important as light when it comes to regulating your kids’ circadian rhythms. A cool bedroom allows the body’s core temperature to drop, which promotes better sleep.  The recommended temperature, according to most doctors and A/C companies for summer sleep, is 68-72 degrees for optimal comfort level. You might have to use black out curtains and air conditioning to achieve this, but it will make a huge difference.

Keep Your Kids Active to Tire Them Out

Summertime means around the clock stimuli for kids!  From the running, jumping, swimming, the glare of the sun, and the endless pool time fun, those little minds and bodies will be worn out, which makes for the perfect storm at bedtime. The more tired they are, the easier it will be for them to fall and stay asleep at night. With that said, since summer nights are longer, the lights in your home may stay on later. Use TrueDark® Kids Eyewear later in the evenings to help calm your children even after full days of summer activities. 

Be Mindful of Naps, But Don’t Cut Them Out Altogether

We know that it can be very difficult to tear kids away from fun in the sun, but it is still important that kids of napping age continue to nap consistently even in the summer.  Your kids may be getting even more physical activity during these summer months, so their bodies need time to recover and nap time is when some of that critical restoration happens. Also keep in mind that it is important for kids to nap earlier rather than later in the afternoon.  The longer you delay nap time, the more likely they are to push back bedtime.

Encourage Safety in the Sun During the Day for Better Sleep at Night

On the one hand, sun exposure can help regulate sleep; but on the other hand, overexposure to sunlight can have negative impacts on sleep. One way to protect your kids from harmful UV rays is to have them use sunblock with at least 50 SPF. Wearing hats or other clothing that’s rated with at least a UPF 30 rating may also help.  However, be sure to avoid wearing cotton tee shirt while swimming because a wet tee shirt actually decreases UPF and can make sunburns worse.

In addition to sun protection, it’s important that your kids stay hydrated. If you don’t get enough water, this could have adverse impacts on sleep quality, such as muscle cramps.  A glass of water at bedtime is a must after a long day in the sun, but make sure you and your kids are drinking water all day long, too!

Remember: children are not robots, and they are not going to fall asleep on command!  Give them the best possible tools and sleep environment so that they are empowered put themselves to sleep. As long as they are in their rooms, are quiet and can get up in the morning without upset, they will be fine.  Make sleep a priority for everyone in your family and enjoy a wonderful summer!

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