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Light the Way

Posted on 08-18-2016

We are all greatly affected by the light surrounding us. In Europe, there’s even a project called Human Centric Lighting, where scientists are discovering the uses of various light wavelengths. Blue light, for example, makes people very alert, reacting faster than they would if they were in red light while also suppressing the melatonin in your body. You might have guessed that this makes it difficult to sleep after being exposed to blue light, but, as many are finding out, this is the very light emitted from our computer and phone screens.

In her bestselling book, The Sleep Revolution, Ariana Huffington talks about her bedtime routine, which includes taking all of her electronic devices out of her room, charging them in the foyer, and dimming all the lights. It isn’t all about the lighting, however. She also writes down everything she is grateful for, takes a candlelit bath, and changes into pajamas to “greet the night with respect.”

Of course, you might be thinking, “I can’t even remember the last time I took a candlelit bath.” The point is that it’s about a mindset of embracing sleep as a trusted friend, and your child needs this too.

A Child’s Bedtime Routine

A few things from the American Academy of Pediatrics might be particularly helpful. They say the key to starting a bedtime routine is in the three Bs: brush, book, bed.

First, establish a healthy teeth-brushing schedule. Help your child understand why we brush our teeth.

Second, read to your child for a little while before bed. The benefits of reading, and reading aloud to your children, could never be overstated.

Third, getting to bed at a decent hour and on a consistent schedule helps your child establish healthy routines and will serve him or her later in life, though it’s not as easy as flipping a switch.

Let There Be Dim Light

In the beginning of this routine, however, try adjusting some of the light around your home before your child gets ready for bed. We all like to watch TV and play on our phones and iPads before sleep, but we’re discovering that this might inhibit restful sleep and provoke bad dreams.

In a world filled with enough darkness, why not dim the lights and write something you’re thankful for?

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