How Can A Bed Tent Improve My Child's Sleep?
Any parent knows that bedtime can be one of the most troublesome parts of the day. Most children have to be persuaded to go to bed, and once they’re there, things aren’t always plain sailing.
From nightmares to separation anxiety to fear of missing out, there are a million and one reasons why your child might be reluctant to go to sleep. And that’s not all you have to worry about – even if their eyes are shut, there are no guarantees that their sleep quality or quantity will be enough.
Research shows that a third of children aged 7 to 16 experience problems with sleep at least three times a week. If the child is struggling with a mental disorder, that figure goes up to two thirds. The problem is widespread – but what can you do about it?
Ensuring your child follows good sleep hygiene habits is the first step, but there are also some unconventional solutions you can try. One of these is to use a bed tent… but first, let’s explain what that is.
What is a bed tent?
A bed tent is a tent-like structure that sits over a bedframe or mattress. Bed tents come in varying shapes, sizes and styles but are most commonly used for children. They provide a barrier from the real world, offering both privacy and an escape.
Ways that a bed tent can improve children’s sleep
Bed tents might be thought of as a fun bedroom feature for kids, but they’re a lot more useful than that. Here are some of the ways that a bed tent can improve your child’s sleep.
Whether it’s fear of the dark or fear of monsters under the bed, feeling scared is one of the most common reasons why children struggle to fall asleep. With its raised sides and enclosed space, a bed tent can offer a sense of protection, helping your child to drift into a peaceful sleep.
Limits light and sound
No matter what age you are, unwanted light and sound can disrupt your sleep to a heavy extent. A bed tent provides an additional layer of sound and light insulation, preventing unwelcome disturbances.
Siblings who share a room often have trouble aligning their sleeping patterns. Using a bed tent provides each sibling with privacy, allowing them to fall asleep and wake up on their own terms.
There are no two ways about it – bed tents are cosy! For children with separation anxiety who have a hard time being parted from their attachment figure at night-time, this can be particularly relieving. The cosiness and comfort of a bed tent make it a lot easier to relax, forming a ‘safe space’ cocoon away from the stressors of the world.
Makes bedtime more interesting
If your child’s sleep issues stem from finding bedtime boring, a bed tent might be able to help. They add an extra level of novelty to any bedtime routine, making it a more enticing prospect for children who otherwise refuse to go to bed.
Lessens sensory issues
Children with autism, ADHD or other disorders involving sensory processing issues can have a hard time winding down to sleep. A bed tent can block out sensory stimuli, helping your child to have some much-needed downtime without any sensory overload.
Creates association with sleep
As children often use their bedrooms as playrooms or to do their homework, it can be difficult for them to switch into sleep mode when entering their room at night. A bed tent essentially sections off an area specifically for sleep, helping to create a psychological association between getting into bed and falling asleep.
Blocks out technology
Kids might love their tablets and TVs, but we all know the dangers of screentime when it comes to overstimulation and sleep quality. Introducing a bed tent to their room can encourage children to wind down without electronics. Make sure they leave their devices outside the bed tent – they’ll be easier to resist when they’re out of sight.
Prevents falling out of bed
Children fall out of bed more often than adults, especially when they are young and adapting to not being enclosed by a crib. A bed tent can bridge the gap between a crib and a normal bed, preventing your child from falling out of bed so much. Another plus is that they can deter children who repeatedly get out of bed when they’re supposed to be going to sleep.
Promotes imaginative play
An added bonus on this list is that bed tents, with their fortress-like appearance, can be hugely successful in promoting imaginative play. Play of any kind will tire out children, helping them to fall into a restorative sleep. But imaginative play is also believed to improve multiple core skills in children, from logical reasoning to emotional resilience. This alone can help your child to sleep better, as they will be able to soothe their own anxieties and fall into a restful sleep.
Tips for choosing a bed tent
As we mentioned earlier, bed tents come in all shapes and sizes. To find the perfect one for your child, it’s important to look for the following:
- Size and compatibility with existing bed
- Easy to wash – especially if your child experienced night-time bed wetting
- Good ventilation – airflow has been proven to improve sleep quality
- High-quality material – choose blackout material that’s fire retardant, breathable and wipe-clean
- Practical features – hooks to hang lights or pockets for storing books ensure a smoother bedtime
- Easy to set up because why would you want it to be complicated?!
The next step
If your child is having problems going to bed, falling asleep or staying asleep, it could be worth considering a bed tent. They can provide a sense of comfort, privacy and protection to children who are struggling. They also shut out distracting sensory stimuli and promote a positive view of bedtime.
However, a bed tent is not a substitute for seeking medical advice. Always speak to your GP if your child is experiencing ongoing or debilitating issues around bedtime.