Halloween for kids and those young at heart is tons of fun – costumes, decorations, friends, parties, and of course…candy. That sweet stuff shoveled by the handful into your child’s plastic pumpkin or bag and brought home to be gleefully dumped out to find the perfect piece. Will all of the stimulating excitement and sugary treats, a parent may be left wondering if they’ll ever sleep again. But it is just one night, right?

The Sleep Centers of Middle Tennessee wants every one to have a safe night of Trick or Treating as well as getting a good night sleep after. When Halloween falls on a school night, things get tricky. Kids have a much harder time dealing with sleep deprivation than adults. Children will need a few days to deal with one bad night, and they’ll probably have enough candy left over for a few weeks, so parents need to have a candy and sleep plan in mind before we get to Halloween.

1.Decide on a candy limit

Don’t wait for until the candy is in the bag. Decide on a nightly limit and let your child know that it isn’t a candy-eating spree. Your kids will eat candy on Halloween; there’s no point in trying to stop them. But you can decide on the acceptable amount and set limits. A couple of small pieces on Halloween night aren’t likely to interfere with sleep. However, they probably came home with enough candy to last a while.  Keep the negotiating limits and time until the candy is gone. Letting them eat a few pieces of candy in the afternoon is much better than candy right before bed.

2. Stick to your regular sleep schedule

Trick or Treat early enough to allow your child to have some wind-down time afterwards. With Halloween on a weeknight, everyone has to get up the next day and go about a normal day. Staying up late can throw a child off for the rest of the week. Hopefully after a full evening of trick or treating and eating a pre-determined amount of candy they will be tired enough to go bed. Make sure to leave plenty of time for relaxing- a bath, bedtime stories or whatever their normal pre-bed routine will allow them to slip off to dreamland and wake the next morning ready for school.

The detrimental effects of sleep deprivation on children can happen quickly. As parents we want to make sure our children experience all of the fun that the holiday season in Middle Tennessee offers. We also need to plan ahead and make sure that fun doesn’t come to a halt due to an over-tired, cranky child who is miserable because they didn’t get enough sleep.  If your ghost or goblin is struggling with getting enough or good sleep, we know how to diagnose and treat childhood sleep issues.

This blog is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to substitute for a diagnosis, treatment, or advice from your physician.