Sleeping Time

I am a naturally early riser. You might even find me up and about, doing work (fuelled by copious amounts of double strength coffee) or housework as early as 5am. You would assume on hearing this that I would be one of those people who thrive on a couple of hours of quality sleep a night. You’d assume wrong. I need six full uninterrupted hours of quality sleep. If I don’t get it I am no use to anyone and have even been described as narky (amongst other things).

In a sleep study carried out by Silentnight, researchers found out that a third of us can feel anxious if we don’t get quality sleep. Anxious? I’m climbing the walls! It appears that my children also need decent amounts of quality sleep as without it they turn into monsters. They cry, whinge, cry some more and are thoroughly unhappy with themselves. Clearly for everyone’s sake a good night sleep is essential in our house. Thankfully the kids rarely wake in the night unless they are unsettled before bed for whatever reason therefore we make sure that we stick as close as we can to a bedroom routine that works for us.


Bedtime is bedtime. Both boys (at 6yr old and 2yr old) know that when the bedtime routine starts that bedtime is imminent. There is no staying up later because they have begged or screamed or cried; up the wooden hill means sleep time! The actual times that they go to bed vary as they are different ages. Taylor (2yrs) goes up around 7pm and Kieran (6yrs) at 7.30pm. We are a bit more flexible with Kieran now he is older and on a weekend he is allowed up later provided that when the bedtime routine kicks in…. he goes with it.

Bedtime Story

Nothing settles our boys better than a story before bed. Apart from anything else this gives us a chance for some last minute cuddled up 1-1 time. A story, a quick chat about the day and a cuddle before sleep works wonders and is a cherished part of the day.


Both boys have something they like to take to bed with them or have running before they go to sleep (as well as teddy bears obviously!). Kieran has a quite dim globe lamp over his desk that he likes on as he drifts off. He isn’t scared of the dark but he likes it, it comforts him, and he knows we turn it off later. He also chooses a Lego “creation” or something that has meaning to him that week to put on his bedside. Taylor’s must have bedtime items at the moment are a Mr Tumble playing card (the one with Mr Tumble falling asleep on it), his teddy and if he isn’t absolutely shattered he likes a short CD audio book on (Usborne Books – Farmyard Tales) while he drifts off.

Pulling it Together

The comfort items or sounds, the story, the calm time, the cuddle time and the predictable bed times are all part of an overall routine. Not only do they enjoy the way that the night winds down, as do we, they also sleep so much better for it and wake refreshed and cheerful…..And so do we! I’m curious, do you have a set routine or does flexibility work better? I’d love to know what cute or funny comforters your kids have at bedtime too – my friend’s son MUST have a certain blanket which is much loved at bedtime. Provided they never lose it (the horror!) it seems a lovely way to help him settle down to sleep.

These things work for us (thankfully!) but perhaps aren’t for everyone? If you and yours struggle to get a good night’s sleep it may be worth getting some advice from sleep expert Dr Nerina.

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  1. My biggest and best innovation has been to recently start the whole bedtime routine ridiculously early. Before I was underestimating how long it all takes and DD wasn’t getting to sleep until 9pm. Now we get into bed at 6.30 and read loads of stories. Lights out at 7.30 and she’s usually asleep by 8. The added bonus is that we are up much earlier int he morning and get to nurery an hour earlier – an hour that is paid for and until now has been wasted.

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