Keeping Sleep on Track After the Holidays

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Fairfax Neonatal Associates

Sleep schedules — often derailed because of the holidays — are important to get back on track. Consistent bedtimes help your child’s circadian rhythm so that they get enough sleep overnight. But, because of winter break, schedules were probably chaotic, throwing many sleep patterns off.

Here are a few tips on helping your child (and yourself) get back on track:

TIP #1
While you tried to keep holiday bedtimes close to regular bedtimes, like many, you sometimes had to take shortcuts. To get back on track, don’t cut out the bedtime routine. Even if 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 holiday late nights, some children (and adults) tend to sleep in. But, sleeping too much can delay your circadian rhythm, making it more difficult to fall asleep the following night. So, no matter how hard, try to get back on track by waking up as close to your usual wake-up times as possible.

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 you or your child 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 (a long nap in the late afternoon can make it harder for your child to get to sleep on time at night), or plan time for a power nap the day after

After the holidays, make sure you’re still following good sleep hygiene habits, such as avoiding electronic devices at least an hour before bedtime, making sure your sleeping environment is cool and dark, and avoiding caffeine. Here’s to a restful post-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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