Sleep Vs Winter Bugs
How cold has the last few weeks been? There are many children who I am working with suffering with coughs, snotty noses and upset tummies, including my own – I actually found out the other day that when a child is ill with a cold, glands in their tummy can swell causing tummy pain!
Many families I support with their child(ren) sleeping habits always ask how to deal with illness – will it affect their progress? What happens if…? Can I offer a drink? Into our bed?
So here are a few tips I would recommend to battle the winter bugs…
BEST SLEEP in their cot/bed
When your child is ill sleep is the best thing for them. When your child sleeps the body gets a chance to recharge it’s immune system ensuring they have a better chance to beat the bugs sooner. Although it might be easier to bring them into your bed, remember they will get the best sleep in their cot/bed.
SOOTHING your child
If your child is coughing with a snotty nose & wakes although it’s tempting to rush in always give them a chance to re-settle. Families who have worked with me know that giving time avoids stimulation & gives the child a chance to settle down and go back to sleep. If they haven’t re-settled then go into their room & offer comfort (strokes, patting etc) in their cot/bed until they are drowsy/settled rather than pick them up.
MEDICATION/offering a drink
With coughs/snotty noses/ache & pains/high temp we obviously don’t wish for our children to be in pain so if you find that your child is not settling then yes offer medication, a drink however to avoid stimulation keep lights dim, keep voice low & if possible offer medication/drink in their cot/bed. It just helps with them getting back to sleep which is the best thing for them.
PREPARATION before bed & nap
If you think your child is unwell/not feeling great making them comfortable when getting ready for sleep works best…I recommend vapour rub (age relevant) on chest & feet, medication (if use) 20 mins before nap & bedtime, dress appropriately if feeling hot – I would advise light pj’s with no feet & sleeping bag tog 1.5 (keeps them warm and not overheat).
I also love the Calpol Vapour Plug (except the blue light – please tape over) if my two children have the snuffles I put the plug in 10 mins before bedtime so when they go to bed they have the lovely vapours of lavender and chamomile to help them sleep and breathe.
Obviously if your child is really unwell – high temp, croup, sickness then yes out of the cot/bed and as much comfort as they need to ensure they can rest, are safe and looked after. I always say go with your gut, you know when they need that bit extra. You may decide they need a few days in your bed, extra comfort but once their better then go back to your usual routine with your child falling asleep independently. Yes it may take a few nights & they may protest a little more than usual but you have the sleep tools to get back on track.
Also a note to the parents – look after yourselves too. I recommend taking 10mg of zinc, it’s a vitamin to boost your immune system.