Keeping Sleep on Track During the Holidays

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As we approach the holiday season, schedules can be a little hectic, especially for sleep schedules, which can often get derailed. Consistent bedtimes will help to keep your child’s circadian rhythm on track so that they get enough sleep overnight, but over the winter break, schedules can change. Here are a few tips on helping your child (and yourself) stay on track:

Tip #1
Try to keep holiday bedtimes as close to regular bedtimes, but if you can’t, don’t cut out the bedtime routine. Even when bedtime is delayed, a bedtime routine acts as a signal to your brain that it’s time to go to sleep. If you’re running short on time, come up with an abbreviated schedule that still allows your child some time to settle down and relax before lights out.

Tip #2
Anchor wake times. After a late-night, some children (and adults) tend to sleep in, but sleeping too late will delay your circadian rhythm, which can then make it more difficult to fall asleep the following night. So make sure to stay on track by waking up close to your usual wake-up times.

Tip #3
Try and avoid naps, but if you can’t, take a power nap. A power nap is a short 15- to 20-minute nap that will help catch up on sleep, but won’t delay bedtimes. If you know you’re going to have a long evening, try putting your child down for a power nap in the early afternoon to prep, or plan time for a power nap the day after to help catch up. A long nap in the late afternoon can make it harder for your child to get to sleep on time at night.

Make sure you’re still following good sleep hygiene habits, such as avoiding electronic devices at least an hour before bedtime, making sure the sleeping environment is cool and dark, and avoiding caffeine.

Here’s to a restful holiday season!

As the only American Academy of Sleep Medicine accredited sleep center in Northern Virginia, the specialists at Fairfax Neonatal Associates’ Pediatric & Adolescent Sleep Center evaluate and treat sleep-related problems specific to pediatrics and adolescents. Patients, ages 20 and younger, are seen by board-certified Pediatric Pulmonologists who are dedicated to fully treating a wide range of sleep disorders, including restless leg syndrome, narcolepsy, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, and more.

Learn more about Fairfax Neonatal Associates’ providers here. Connect with their Pediatric & Adolescent Sleep Center online or by calling (703) 226-2290.


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