It should come as no surprise that getting kids and infants to sleep and maintain a healthy sleep routine isn’t as different as it is for adults. However, the fact is most adults do not have a healthy sleep routine and often pass their mistakes on to their children. I personally see a common trend of parents trying to deal with their tired children by using distractions rather than setting up a proper sleep environment. Here are some of my tips that are proven to work.

Be Mindful of Distractions and Stimulants

The most important stimulants that are often overlooked are toxins, as you can’t actually see them. Your child’s room should be free of stimulating toxins and VOCs (volatile organic compounds) that leach out of their furniture and mattresses. These toxins stimulate the central nervous system, which has been shown to impact sleep, sleep quality, and growth.

Many furniture manufacturers by law must use flame retardants which tend to be the biggest culprit of these growth-inhibiting stimulants. Prioritizing organic furniture and mattresses should be at the top of the list when creating a healthy sleep environment for your child.

A more obvious stimulant that should also be addressed is light. Using black-out shades to eliminate the possible outdoor lights that can stimulate a child is important, as children also go through deep sleep cycles that follow their circadian rhythm. Flickering lights or streams of light can stimulate a child through their stages of sleep, causing difficulties falling asleep or restless sleep. I would add that a mobile crib should not be used during sleep for infants. This is the perfect stimulant for them to want to play.

Start a Healthy Sleep Routine

Our bodies are designed to work best when we follow a predictable routine. A child’s central nervous system is the same. If you maintain the same routines when preparing for sleep such as a warm bath, listening to soothing music, or reading a story at consistent times every night your child will begin to associate these activities with a time to wind down. This brain shift will put their bodies into the mode to anticipate sleep, at which time it will naturally begin slowing down its central nervous system functions and lead to better sleep outcomes.

Food will Always Get a Body Active and Functioning.

This means eating too close to bedtime will interrupt your sleep cycles, as your body is still digesting. For babies, their growth relies on eating and sleeping, but as your child gets older it is important not to use food to soothe. Using food to calm a child down too close to bedtime means extending the time it will take for their bodies to have a healthy sleep cycle. This can lead to them waking before they have completed that cycle and thus a restless child all day. More importantly if your child does need a snack closer to bedtime you must be mindful of what kind of snack your are giving to them.  


Yes, this means milk and cookies before bed is a big no-no, water for hydration is all you should need right before bed. Nighttime is for sleep, recovery, and growth.

Create a Safe Space

The bedroom should be a safe space with limited screen time. The feeling of safety is comforting for children, and feeling safe in their space is important for sleep. They should feel like their bedroom is their own sanctuary, where they can go to relax and not need someone’s presence to feel comfortable. This is why it is important to limit screen time in the bedroom, you want to ensure your child is comfortable in the quiet of their room.

For older children, avoiding scary movies and video games will be important. If your child needs some sort of nightlight, ensure you are using a soft nightlight with a color temperature that will not stimulate the brain but rather help with that relaxation.

Another big plus to eliminating screens or wireless technology from a child’s bedroom is to reduce their exposure to electromagnetic frequencies (EMFs) that emit from all electronic and wireless devices. EMFs directly impact blood cell behavior and are hypothesized to impact oxygen flow through the blood. So not only are the physical toys, clocks, or devices a distraction but they also have unseen stimulants. 

As you can see, a lot of these tips can also be applied to us as adults. That means that you should also be setting an example for your children and encouraging healthy sleep routines. This is something your child will carry with them as they move through life, setting them up for success. 

Be Well,