Laughter Before Bedtime Is A Good Way To Get Your Child to Sleep, Study SaysTiring them out may not be the best solution for overly active kidsby Rachel Perez .
Young kids are usually so full of energy that it's hard to put them to sleep. Sometimes, parents have to resort to tiring out the kids by allowing them to run around until it's time for bed. You would often hear grandparents say, "Hayaan mo lang umiyak para mapagod." However, studies have shown that exhaustion before sleep may lead to sleep problems such as waking up in the middle of the night or having nightmares. The better alternative, according to research, is to have a laugh!
Dr. Deborah Macnamara explains in her book, Rest, Play, Grow: Making Sense of Preschoolers (Or Anyone Who Acts Like One), that while crying is how children commonly process their emotions (and release stress from their bodies), they also do it through play and laughter.
"But wouldn't laughing wake them up even more," you ask. Yes, preschoolers may want to just play all night long and refuse to go to bed at first. However, as laughter becomes a part of his bedtime routine, it will eventually decrease. Just keep with it.
While sleep is often associated with sounds or scents that are calm, quiet, and soothing, laughter may prove to be a great alternative. Here are three reasons why:
Laughter produces happy hormones.
Studies have shown that laughter lowers blood pressure and triggers the release of endorphins, a hormone our bodies secrete when we feel happy (thus, it's called the "happy hormones"). It helps lower stress levels and makes one feel good.
It helps make your child feel secure.ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW
Laughter also builds connections. When you play and laugh with your preschooler before bedtime, she will go to sleep feeling secure and safe even if you're not lying on the bed with her.
Laughter helps release melatonin.
Melatonin is a hormone responsible for inducing sleep. Yes, you read that right. A study which involved breastfeeding moms showed that those who expressed milk after watching a Charlie Chaplin movie had higher melatonin levels in their breast milk compared to moms who watched a non-humorous film prior to pumping. The first group of moms thus were able to pass on increased levels of melatonin to their newborn babies, who at that age cannot even produce melatonin yet.
Kate Orson, mom and author of Tears Heal: How to listen to our children, shared on Motherly how parents can keep bedtime routine on a happy note:
- Try a round of pillow fight or pajama chase, but let your child win.
- When reading a bedtime story, change some words and make up funny scenarios.
- As you go through your child's bedtime routine, make funny faces or give him a quick tickle.
Make sure to settle down and take a few deep breaths to signal that it's time for sleep. Don't tell your child to hurry up—allow her time to enjoy the routine. Tucking her in bed right away does not guarantee she'll sleep immediately.
Not convinced that a good mood helps induce sleep? Another study involving pregnant women showed that when a pregnant woman maintains a positive attitude during pregnancy, her child has a better quality of sleep growing up.ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOWRecommended Videos
"We found that happiness increased across the trimesters and that happiness during the second and third trimester was protective against child sleep problems,” study lead author Jianghong Liu, Ph.D., R.N., FAAN, associate professor at the Schools of Nursing and Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, said in a press release.
Being positive overall and having a bit of a laugh may be the secret key to getting your child to bed and giving him a restful sleep. That means an earlier snooze time for you as well. Win-win for everyone!
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