Sleep experts have worked out exact formula for when to send kids to bed

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The formula might be your summer saviour (stock photo) (Image: Getty Images)
The formula might be your summer saviour (stock photo) (Image: Getty Images)

Every parent will know the struggle of getting your child to go to sleep at a respectable time, and the chaos it will cause the next day if you weren't able to. This can be especially tricky during the summer holidays, when their normal routine goes out the window.

But luckily, sleep expert Dr Maja Schaedel of the Good Sleep Clinic has come up with the perfect formula to work out exactly when your children need to be sent to bed in order to feel refreshed the next day. It's packed with activities parents can follow to make it easier for their kids to fall asleep at bedtime.

The O2 has teamed up with Dr Schaedel to create The X-Hausted Package - which is the 'ultimate fun day-out', designed based on sleep science, in order to help send your kids to sleep at bedtime. According to Dr Schaedel, this formula "controls kids' body clocks with the correct sequence of energy output, mental stimulation, nutrition, and downtime".

According to the sleep expert, the perfect formula for a day out, before arriving home for dinner, bath time and bedtime, is: "Natural Light + Physical Activity + Lunch + Mental Stimulation + Group Play + Movie + Chat". Timings are also important when it comes to managing body clocks and energy levels. Here are the timings and suggested activities:

  • 9am - natural light: Exposure to natural light and getting kids outside will kickstart their body clocks and reduce production of the 'sleepy hormone' melatonin.
  • 10.30am - high energy activity: The purpose of this is to build up 'sleep pressure' - the more of it kids have by the end of the day, the more likely they are to fall asleep. In the morning they should do something that gets their bodies moving and their hearts racing.
  • 12pm - lunch: In order for kids to engage in physical and mental activities, they have to keep up their energy supplies throughout the day. An ideal lunch would include some protein (like chicken, beans or fish), come carbohydrates (such as rice, bread or pasta) and some fruit and veg.
  • 1.30pm - mental stimulation: As well as wearing kids out physically, you need to work their brains out too. Dr Schaedel says video games is a great way to do this, but recommends limiting to an our screen time so as not to overstimulate them.
  • 2pm - social interaction: Anxiety is one of the biggest barriers to sleep for kids. Connecting with other kids, or family, through play, will help them feel less anxious and happier.
  • 3pm - window down with a movie: This is when you'll want to start making the 'first approaches' to bedtime. Dr Schaedel recommends going to the cinema, as two hours in darkness engrossed in a big screen is ideal.
  • 5pm - chat on the journey home: You don't want to undo all your good work and let your child fall asleep in the back of your car. Chatting about your day is a good way to keep them awake while encouraging them to engage with you.
  • 6pm - dinner: High protein foods are good. Avoid too many carbohydrates and too much sugar for pudding. This is ideally two hours before bedtime.
  • 7pm - a hot bath: You need your child's core temperature to come down by one or two degrees. A hot bath initiates the process of rapid cooling as the blood comes to the surface of the skin in order to cool quickly upon getting out.
  • 8pm - sleep: This is when they hopefully will drift off to sleep.

Dr Maja Schaedel said: "When planning a day with your kids' sleep in mind, it's important to have a balance. You can have an action-packed day of activities but without rest and times to engage with others it can lead to wide awake, irritable kids and worn-out parents at the end of the day."

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The O2 is located just 15 minutes from central London and is easily accessible by tube, road and boat. To learn more about everything there is to do at The O2, and to book your day out at The O2 with activities from The X-Hausted Packages, visit the website here.

Ariane Sohrabi-Shiraz

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