I’m a nationally published sleep expert, journalist, and the mom of three young kids. I’ve been helping tired families sleep since 2007 (more about me here). Subscribe to The Well Rested Family for fresh news and tips on keeping your bunch happy and healthy. Thanks for stopping by!


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Entries in winter (1)


Sleeping Well In Winter

Temperatures are dancing around freezing at night, hats and mittens have been unearthed from storage bins in the garage, and we’ve woken up to frosted landscape all this week. Yes, winter is officially on its way.

The long, cold nights of winter make me think of flannel sheets, hot cocoa, and snuggling in bed. Winter is a great time to rest, recharge, and catch up on sleep (if you can!). The short days and dark, long nights cue the production of melatonin, and trigger more tiredness, earlier at night. (No wonder I’ve been craving an earlier bedtime lately!)

To keep your brood well-rested this season, take a peek at these tips for sleeping well during the winter

Light Up the Dark

The short, dark days of winter may be a boon for kids’ bedtimes; it’s easier to put kids to bed when the sun isn’t blazing outside. But it’s also important to remember to get adequate sunlight during the morning hours, because strong morning light sets our internal clock and helps us to feel sleepy at bedtime. Maximize the light coming into your home in the morning by opening drapes and uncovering skylights. If it’s truly dark outside in the morning, consider a dawn lamp to help get your body ready for the day.

Don’t Over-Bundle

Keep an eye on your child’s bedroom temperature in the winter, and don’t overheat her with loads of nighttime layers or heavy PJs. Sleeping in a space that’s too warm makes it difficult to doze off, increases the likelihood of nightmares, and is a risk factor for SIDS. If the bedroom is between 60 and 68 degrees at night (the ideal sleeping temperature for most), then your kiddo probably won’t need excessive winter bedding to stay warm—regular pajamas and bedding will be fine.

Ward Off The Cold

Wintertime colds and coughs can be cause big sleep disruption, so make an extra effort to keep everyone in the family healthy. Practice careful hand-washing hygiene, eat well, and encourage appropriate bedtimes (sleep deprivation hurts immunity and makes you more susceptible to illness). For my children, I swear by a daily probiotic supplement—one a day seems to keep the cold and flu bugs at bay. Dry, over-heated indoor air can contribute to or worsen coughs, so consider placing a humidifier in bedrooms at night.

Holiday Help

Holidays often mean later-than-normal bedtimes for kids. If your child will be staying up late for a special occasion, don’t allow him to sleep more than one hour past his normal wake-up time the next morning. Snoozing all morning will make it difficult to fall asleep at bedtime that night—creating a cycle of too-late bedtimes that can be difficult to break. Avoid excessively long naps, as well. If he’s extra tired the following day, an earlier bedtime is in order.

What about you—does your family sleep better in the winter, or during another season? Do you have any tips for sleeping well in the winter?

Note: I'm looking forward to speaking tonight at the Holistic Mom's Network meeting at Bates Technical College at 6pm. I'll be sharing a speech called "Five Reasons Your Kids Aren't Sleeping, And Five Compassionate Ways to Help." If you're a local parent, I'd love to see you there!