“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.”
Dr. Chung offers the following tips for Halloween sleep time success:
- Schedule a “Witching Hour”
Preplan when you will call it a night and head back home for bedtime
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 conscious 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.
- Curb the Creepy Cravings
Resist the Urge to Binge on Sweets
Sugar and caffeine can negatively impact our ability to get to sleep. It might be tempting to allow your kids to dive into the treats, but when kids consume sugar, their blood sugar levels will increase and then drop significantly. Be sure to brush those teeth after late night sweets, 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.
- Avoid Nighttime Scares and Screens
Scary Movies Can Make Kids Too Scared to Sleep
Although it might seem sacrilege to let Halloween night pass without watching at least one scary movie, you’ve got to keep in mind that spooky stories have a tendency to bring about nightmares in children. No matter the scare factor, make a deal any screen time will be enjoyed two hours before bedtime.
- Don’t Let your Bedtime Routine Get Spooked
Consistency is Key
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 usual, 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.
- Set the Stage for Sleep
Create a soothing environment for a restful night
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 a soothing audio-only experience like Moshi Twilight for kids. The app’s sleep stories, meditations, music and sounds are sure to soothe your little monsters to sleep without glaring screens. Plus, the developers have created an extra-special sleep story to be released on October 23, just in time for Halloween, called ”Marsha the Boggy Swampling.”
- Turn Out the Porch Light
Don’t let Distractions Boo Your Child’s Restfulness
Now that your little zombies are off to bed, turn off your porch light and put a sign on your doorbell so other enthusiastic trick-or-treaters will know you’re done for the evening. 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 sneak a couple of chocolate bars from the trick-or-treat bags!