Fireworks or sleep, fireworks or sleep … that is the question many of us will be asking ourselves as Monday night’s Fourth of July festivities get started.
Don’t get me wrong — I love a beautiful fireworks display and am spoiled by our city’s Thunder Over Louisville extravaganza each April. But come 8:30 or 9 p.m., my 2-year-old needs to be in bed getting his recommended hours of sleep.
So what’s a mother to do when the fireworks start lighting up the night sky (and the noises potentially wake the sleeping beast)? I turned to an expert for some sound advice and a little dose of reality.
“In all honesty there’s not much you can do,” said David H. Winslow, M.D., physician with Chest Medicine Associates & Sleep Medicine Specialists. “As much as I’d like to provide you with a magic solution, there just isn’t one.”
Dr. Winslow does offer a few tips for surviving the weekend celebrations:
- Embrace the fireworks … well, not literally, but you know what we mean. Keep the kids up a little later than normal and enjoy the show. Even though children need their sleep, one night or a few evenings up later than normal won’t harm them. Plus the memories your family will make together will be worth it.
- Use a fan or white noise machine. If you can place a fan out of reach in your child’s room during the peak hours of the “rockets’ red glare,” then do it. Try a white noise machine if you have one or a music player with sounds of the ocean. This may provide just enough background noise to drown out the fireworks and provide a solid night’s snooze.
- If all else fails, plan to take a nap on July 5. This may not work for the adults returning to work, but for the kids, an extended nap time on Tuesday may be the best solution. Although you never really make up lost sleep, you can recharge your battery with a power nap. For the adults, plan to make your Tuesday evening as stress-free as possible and go to bed earlier than usual. Every little bit helps, right?
Dr. Winslow strongly advises against giving any unnecessary medication or sleep aid, especially to children.
“It’s just a bad idea all around and is a very unsafe practice,” Dr. Winslow said. “Grab a blanket, sit on the front lawn and watch your neighbors’ money go up in smoke since they bought the fireworks and you didn’t.”
We hope this helps and best of luck to you and your family as we celebrate our nation’s Independence Day.