Trick-or-treat

SPOKANE, Wash. - What's scarier than all the tricks and decorations out on Halloween? Trying to get your kids to sleep after a long, sugar-powered evening of trick-or-treating. 

"Halloween can have some scary effects on sleep," New York-based sleep researcher, Dr. Alicia Chung said. "This night of fright and festivities can end up keeping your kids awake long past their normal bedtime and wreak havoc on their sleep routine. The loss of even an hour of sleep is hard on the body and children are particularly vulnerable."

So what are some tips to make sure all the little ghosts and goblins out there get a good night's rest come October 31? Check out these tips:

  • Schedule a "Witching Hour"
    • Preplan when you will call it a night and head back home for bedtime. Halloween is centered around late-night activities, which means you need to plan ahead. This is especially important as Halloween falls on a school night this year. Be conscious of your child's normal pre-bed routine and the time they typically turn in and do your best to stick with that schedule as closely as possible. 
  • Curb the Creepy Cravings
    • Resist the urge to binge on sweets. Sugar and caffeine can negatively impact our ability to get to sleep. It might be tempting to allow your kids to dive into the treats, but when kids consume sugar, their blood sugar levels will increase and then drop significantly. Be sure to brush those teeth after late night sweets, to help prevent cavities and keep as close as possible to bedtime routines. As their little bodies stabilize from heightened stimulation, typical bedtime cues will signal them to wind down and transition to sleep. 
  • Avoid Nighttime Scares and Screens
    • Scary movies can make kids too scared to sleep. Although it might seem sacrilege to let Halloween night pass without watching at least one scary movie, you've got to keep in mind that spooky stories have a tendency to bring about nightmares in children. No matter the scare factor, make a deal any screen time will be enjoyed two hours before bedtime. 
  • Don't Let your Bedtime Routine Get Spooked
    • Consistency is key. Don't rush them into their pajamas as soon as they get home. A warm bath, brushing teeth and reading a book will help calm your child down and signal to them that it's time for bed. Even though they may be getting to bed later than usual. It's important to stick to the routine because their cortisol levels are sky high, requiring outside factors to help their body start the wind down process for sleep. 
  • Set the Stage for Sleep
    • Create a soothing environment for a restful night. After tucking them into bed, sit and talk with them for a few minutes about their favorite part of the day and send them drifting off to dreamland with a soothing, audio-only experience for kids. 
  • Turn Out the Porch Light
    • Don't let distractions boo your child's restfulness. Now that your little zombies are off to bed, turn off your porch light and put a sign on your doorbell so other enthusiastic trick-or-treaters will know that your're done for the evening. Another great idea is to place a sign over your doorbell that lets families know you have sleeping kids in the house.