OMAHA, Neb. (FOX 42 KPTM) — We all know the scariest part of Halloween is getting those mini zombies to bed.
NY-based sleep researcher, Dr. Alicia Chung, has some advice to make sure the children are getting to bed at a reasonable time after trick-or-treating.
“Halloween can have some scary effects on sleep,” says Dr. Chung. “This night of fright and festivities can end up keeping your kids awake long past their normal bedtime and wreak havoc on their sleep routine. The loss of even an hour of sleep is hard on the body, and children are particularly vulnerable.”
The Halloween tips for bedtime success from Dr. Chung:
Halloween is centered around late-night activities, which means you need to plan ahead. This is especially important as Halloween falls on a school night this year. Be aware of your child’s normal pre-bed routine and the time they typically turn in and do your best to stick with that schedule as closely as possible.
Sugar and caffeine can impact the ability to get sleep. It might be tempting to allow your kids to eat the sweets, but when kids consume sugar, their blood sugar levels will increase and then drop significantly. Be sure to brush those teeth after late-night candies to help prevent cavities and keep as close as possible to bedtime routines. As their little bodies stabilize from heightened stimulation, typical bedtime cues will signal them to wind down and transition to sleep.
Although it might seem blasphemy to let Halloween night pass without watching at least one scary movie, you’ve got to keep in mind that spooky stories can bring nightmares in children. No matter the scare factor, make a deal that any screen time will be enjoyed two hours before bedtime.
Don’t rush them into their pajamas as soon as they get home. A warm bath, brushing teeth, and reading a book will help calm your child down and signal to them that it’s time for bed. Even though they may be getting to bed later than normal, it’s important to stick to the routine because their cortisol levels are sky-high requiring outside factors to help their body start the wind-down process for sleep.
After tucking them into bed, sit and talk with them for a few minutes about their favorite part of the day and send them drifting off to dreamland with bedtime stories podcasts or audiobooks for children such as Peace Out and Bedtime History.
Now that your little monsters are off to bed, turn off your porch light and put a sign on your doorbell so other trick-or-treaters will know you’re done for the night. Another great idea is to place a sign over your doorbell that lets families know you have sleeping kids in the house. Now you can have the candy all to yourself.