Sights, sounds, smells, touch – we live every day absorbing a multitude of sensory experiences. So, why would we focus on just one at bedtime? Multi-sensory sleep routines are much better because each piece of the experience has proven benefits when used alone, so using them together is sure to soothe your little one into slumber quicker than 40 winks. Here are a multitude of multi-sensory sleep tricks — and a giveaway, too!
Using soft and soothing sounds to put infants and children to sleep is as old as motherhood itself. The earliest recorded lullaby is 4,000 years old and written on Sumerian clay tablets. The practice of mothers singing to their children at bedtime certainly goes back much further and is common to almost all cultures. Science is finally catching up to this ancient practice. In recent years, researchers have taken a closer look at the power of music to not only improve sleep for children of all ages, but also to improve health and well-being on a number of measures.
While many parents use music, sleep scientist say that simple white noise can be just as effective. In one authoritative review of the science, researchers recommend white noise to help block out sharp changes in sound and create a peaceful sleep environment. Another smaller study showed that white noise can help young children go to sleep faster and stay asleep longer even in non-controlled environments.(8) In controlled environments like NICUs, researchers have shown that neonates fall asleep three times faster with white noise than without.
For babies and children, incorporating aromatherapy into their sleep routine has enormous (can’t emphasize this enough) benefits including their ability to fall asleep quicker and stay asleep longer. (Learn more using our Baby and Child Sleep Aromatherapy Guide.)
Best Essential Oils for Child’s Sleep:
- Bergamot: Named after the town of Bergamo in Italy, Bergamot scents many teas and colognes and can reduce stress, anxiety, insomnia and help balance emotions.
- Chamomile*: Chamomile is widely regarded as a mild tranquilizer and sleep-inducer. It also decreases hyperactivity in children and has the additional benefits of being an anti-inflammatory, stress reliever and pain reducer (just to name a few, really it’s a wonder herb).
- Lavender: Research shows that aromatherapy with lavender can promote relaxation and improve sleep quality. In folklore, linen bags were filled with lavender flowers and placed under the pillow to help people fall asleep. Today, this anecdotal remedy for sleepless nights has been validated by clinical studies proving the benefits of lavender in aiding a sound and restful night’s sleep. We’ve had such great success using lavender with our own kids that we created a line of Cloud b aromatherapy plush pals that feature a removable scent pouch filled with our exclusive lavender blend.
- Lemon Balm (Melissa): A member of the mint family this calming herb has been shown to reduce anxiety and promote sleep when combined with other calming herbs (such as valerian, hops, and chamomile).
- Orange Blossom (Neroli)*: Grown commercially in France, Morocco, Tunisia and Egypt, neroli stimulates the release of serotonin and the production of melatonin to serve as a hypnotic to induce sleep.
- Sandalwood: In use for at least two thousand years, sandalwood has amazing medicinal and skin benefits. Sandalwood also improves depression, anxiety, stress and insomnia.
- Spikenard: Historically used in religious contexts, spikenard relieves emotional tension and insomnia.
Touch is the largest sensory organ and it’s the first to develop in utero. We all know how powerful a nice massage can be for relaxation. And how warmth woos us into a wonderful, cozy calmness. Holding, squeezing, petting, and hugging are vital acts of self-soothing, as well, that lay the foundation for a lifetime of healthy sleep.
Here’s a great video from Isis Parenting that shows step-by-step how to do baby massage.
Another idea is a warm bath. An extensive body of research shows that there is a mild drop in body temperature right around the time we fall asleep, and that our brain wants to keep this temperature throughout the night. Warm baths and massages work well before bedtime because they raise body temperature which in turn causes the body to release a lot of heat right before it’s time to sleep. This means the body will be nice and cool as it falls asleep.
Between the ages of about two and six, imaginations can run wild, thoughts become more complex, and memories start to last longer. While these new developments have plenty of benefits, drawbacks can include a greater awareness of life’s dangers and longer-lasting fears.
Fear of the dark, in particular, seems to be a hard fact of childhood. Luckily, sleep researchers recommend night lights as a perfectly safe, healthy and effective way to create a positive sleep environment for young children.
Enter to win a multi-sensory sleep tool – Twinkling Firefly Frog (ERV $33.95)!
Cloud b makes oodles of awesome products that combine several functions into one product along with features such as automatic shut-off that ensure your child gets the healthiest sleep possible. Twinkling Firefly Frog is an enchanting pretend-play pal by day and a snuggly sound machine by night, with soothing lights that glow in his belly. Unlike ordinary night lights and white noise machines, Twinkling Firefly Frog is entirely plush, so your child can cuddle with him – creating a mesmerizing, multi-sensory relaxation experience with soothing sights, sounds, and touch. This award-winning little prince is there for your child 24/7 and bound to be a treasured lovey.
Here’s how to enter…
UPDATE: Congratulations to our lucky winner, Stephanie P! Thanks to everyone for participating and watch our blog for May’s giveaway launching soon!
In the comments below, share what types of sensory sleep tricks work (or worked) with your kids. It’s definitely okay if it’s something we mentioned above, but we love hearing new tricks, too!
OPTIONAL ADDITIONAL ENTRIES:
- Sign-up for the Cloud b Club newsletter
- Like Cloud b on Facebook
- SHARE the giveaway on Facebook and use the hashtag #CloudbGiveaway
- Follow Cloud b on Pinterest
- Follow Cloud b on Twitter
- Tweet about the giveaway on Twitter and use the hashtag #CloudbGiveaway
- Follow Cloud b on Google+
- Follow Cloud b on Instagram (@Cloud_b)
For each additional entry, leave a separate comment letting us know what you’ve done (and what your profile name is where relevant). If you’ve already done any of these in the past, just leave a comment stating so. You can enter up to 9 times by taking all of the actions listed above and the more entries you make, the more chances you have at winning!
One random winner will be selected on April 30th, 2016!
No purchase necessary. Must be US resident, 18 or older. Void where prohibited. Click-through for full sweepstakes rules.