Ok its that time of night when you know/think quiet time is recommended. Yet your kids seem to have not got this memo? They are doing nudie runs after the bath, or squealing with delight, jumping on the bed saying catch me!!
Glorious squeals and giggles versus the quite cuddles, bedtime stories and snuggle time desire go out the window.
Well there is a reason for this mayhem, and its called The Forbidden Sleep Zone, and its a real “thang”!
What is it? Explained really well by a colleague of mine Ann Caird in a recent article from Attachment Parenting UK as:
“Its the time before bedtime when its almost impossible to fall asleep. It happens due to the interaction of 2 biological processes that drive our wake and sleep cycles: the homeostatic sleep drive and circadian alerting system.
Our homeostatic sleep drive starts building as soon as we wake up and throughout the day sleep pressure builds until the pressure is pretty high towards the end of the day. But, you’ll notice that you don’t feel increasingly sleepier as the day goes on. We may feel a dip in energy after lunch, but typically we can be as alert 3-4 hours before our usual bedtime as when we woke at 7am in the morning. But that doesn’t make sense does it? If the homeostatic sleep pressure builds up surely we’d feel increasingly sleepier as the day goes on?
Enter the circadian alerting system – controlled by our biological clocks. The job of our circadian alerting system is to keep us awake as the day wears on to counteract the homeostatic sleep drive. So, as the pressure builds for sleep, the circadian alerting system intensifies to keep us alert and awake. The alerting system peaks and works hardest towards the end of the day – and it’s this peak that is responsible for your child’s high energy at the end of the day. It presents within a child almost like a second wind– and this is the forbidden sleep zone!”
Impossible to calm a child in this time period! So what do you do? Simply go with the flow…have a play, have a rough and tumble tickle feast because it is actually benefiting you and your child in several positive ways.
What it allows to have happen:
-The Chance to Release Pent Up Emotions, stress and disconnections from day separation through connection play.
-The Opportunity for your Child to Cry With Support. With secure attachment these emotions float to the surface. My little girl often has what I call a laugh/cry then sigh moment.