Here’s Hope for a Better Bedtime
Does bedtime have to be a nightmare? How can I help my kid fall asleep faster? Is a bedtime routine important?
These are all questions you’ve likely asked yourself as a parent or caregiver.
We know what it’s like. It’s getting late. You’re tired. Your kid is tired. Everybody needs to get to bed. But somehow, nobody is.
Maybe your child is bouncing off the walls. Or begging for another story. Or tearfully telling you they are afraid of the dark and you can’t possibly leave. You know they need rest, and you still have 20 things to do before you can go to sleep. You’ve tried so many things. What do you do now?
For kids (and adults) who are neurodivergent, getting to sleep can be much more difficult. Anxiety makes their heart and mind race as it ponders all the terrible things that could go wrong. ADHD often comes with delayed sleep phase syndrome (DSPS), a circadian rhythm abnormality. Autistics can have an inverse melatonin production. Or if your kid is going through a major transition such as a move or start of a new school year, their sleep is likely to be temporarily disrupted.
Finding the right set of tools to ease these symptoms and integrating them into a regular bedtime routine helps tremendously.
Start by asking yourself, what is it my child needs to settle down, and what is missing from our current routine? For example, if your child doesn’t produce enough melatonin, or produces enough but at the wrong time of day, giving a melatonin supplement can make a huge difference. (Talk to your doctor before trying any new supplements.)
If your child gets hyper before bed, try grounding their bodies with deep pressure stimulation from a weighted blanket or weighted stuffed animal. If they are really wiggly, try a compression sheet to help them feel contained and more still.
If they are anxious, try a breathing and meditation app like Wondergrade to help regulate and calm.
You could end up needing a combination of tools depending on the needs of your individual child.
Here is how a group of parents in an experimental focus group experienced our weighted stuffed animal, FluffyWeight when integrated into their bedtime routine:
We asked 10 families to try FluffyWeight in their homes for 4 weeks. After the 4 weeks, 80% of parents found that it was easier to help their child settle down for bedtime.
On average, it was 65% harder for parents to settle their child down WITHOUT FluffyWeight. Our focus group results found that in addition to being able to help children settle down, children were also able to fall asleep faster.
One participant recorded an 83% decrease in the time it took their child to fall asleep after using FluffyWeight; from 60 minutes down to 10. (The reported average was a 35% decrease in time to fall asleep.)
Here is what one focus group parent said about her experience with our weighted plush:
Janelle, mom of a 6 year old
"My son immediately loved his Fluffy Weight! Not only is it one of his favorite stuffed animals (and he has a lot), but it is more than just a stuffed animal. We noticed a drastic difference in our son's ability to calm down easily at bedtime, and his ability to sleep through the night once he started sleeping with his fluffy weight. We are so grateful for this addition to our family! His older brother begs for a turn to sleep with the fluffy weight too. Not only are bedtimes more calm and peaceful because of fluffy weight, but so is our home!"
Read the full results here.
Steps to building routine
1. Identify the root cause of sleep difficulty, as best as you can.
2. Try different tools and see what works best. Remember some may take a little time before they are effective. A weighted plush may take a half our or so before the calming effects start to make an impact.
3. When you find something that works, be consistent. Use it every day, and give it enough time to build a proper habit.
Hang in there! We are rooting for you.