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Having trouble getting your kids to sleep during the holidays?

December 19, 2014

SPRINGFIELD – As the rush and excitement of the holidays approach, kids of all ages from infants to adolescents, and even adults, are likely to experience difficulty sleeping.

“Busy schedules, interrupted schedules, sleeping at grandma’s house, and trying to stay awake to hear Santa and his reindeer all contribute to sleep difficulties during the holiday season. If children have a very regular sleep schedule, they are more likely to stick to it even over the holidays,” said pediatric sleep specialist Dr. Anthony Jackson, medical director, Neurodiagnostics and Sleep Center, Baystate Medical Center.

The Baystate sleep specialist offered the following hints to help kids get to sleep over the holidays:

• Set a time when your children will open their presents. But, give one sleep-related present on Christmas Eve to your child, such as a stuffed animal, pajamas or pillow which may help relieve some of the present anxiety and help them to get to sleep.

• Warm baths help induce sleep by raising and then lowering the body temperature, even consider a glass of warm milk before bed, which will help them to relax.

• Turn off televisions, computers, cell phones, and other electronic devices which are a distraction.

• Keep a regular sleep schedule, and even if they do stay up later, try to get them out of bed by the same regular time the next morning.

• Have family time before bed such as reading a book, making a puzzle, singing songs or listening to Christmas music.

“If all else fails, try reminding your child that Santa doesn’t come unless he or she is asleep,” said Jackson.

As for adults, the Baystate sleep specialist recommends:

• Trying to keep their schedule as regular as possible.

• Planning ahead to avoid last minute shopping and other stress inducers.

• Getting regular exercise.

• Keeping alcohol intake in moderation.

More than half of all Americans suffer from some form of sleep disorder. Sleep needs depend on many factors, including age. Baystate Medical Center’s Neurodiagnostics and Sleep Center provides the latest high-technology testing and diagnosis for all types of sleep disorders, including sleep apnea, narcolepsy, restless legs syndrome, snoring, and sleepwalking for adults and children.

For more information call the Baystate Regional Sleep Program at 413-794-5600.