Sometimes our sleeping habits happen within us. Some kids like to arise with the sun while others just want to dance in the moonlight. So how do you help your child who just can’t sleep at night and then is sleepy at school? Here are some tips to help your little night owl get the Zzzz he or she needs. One helpful tool can be melatonin supplements. Pediatricians advise to only use this supplement short-term. Use this as a re-setter to help a child get back on a sleep schedule after a stressful time, new school, family vacation etc.
Daily Parent’s Dear Addie Section had these other tips to offer
- Move the bedtime up by about 30 minutes so that the wind-down period starts earlier
- No sugar or caffeine within six hours of bedtime
- No screen-time (TV, electronics, etc.) for an hour before bedtime
- No sports/active play for an hour before bedtime
Change Bedtime- Creating an earlier bedtime by about thirty minutes can help a child relax their mind earlier so they will be more ready for bed when the clock hits the special hour. Also creating a quiet routine might be helpful. For example reading a fun book after homework is complete.
No Sugar or Caffeine- Within 6 hours of bedtime close the doors on candy or caffeine. These are stimulants and can cause minds to race. These treats or drinks full of sugar can sometimes turn a calm child into a hyper night owl that refuses to go to bed.
Create Quiet Time An hour before bedtime turn off all devices and spend an hour as a family. Read a book, listen to music, have a healthy bedtime snack etc. For bedtime snack ideas read our previous articles 5 Bedtime Snacks or 6 More Bedtime Snacks.
Create Relaxing Activities-To help night owls feel sleepy when the stars are shining. Avoid active play or sports an hour before bedtime. Switch with relaxing activities like talking about the day, coloring or reading together.
If these night owl tips do not help and your child is still restless it might be time to visit with his or her pediatrician.
Many children and adults have trouble getting to sleep at night. This might be caused by bad “sleep hygiene” this term is defined as things that can help facilitate good, continuous and adequate sleep.
Creating good sleep hygiene can be quite simple by following these tips.
Create a Quiet Room – Remove items that can disrupt sleep. For example electronics, TV, or even noisy pets. Also have light blocking curtains to block out the glow from street lamps if you live in a city. Having a white noise machine can also be helpful to block out the neighborhood sounds that might be distracting.
Establish Gadget Free Time – The National Sleep Foundation recommends at least 30 minutes of “gadget free transition time” before bedtime. It is important to “power down” to get higher sleep quality. As said in some of our earlier articles the blue light emitted from devices can decrease the production of the important sleep hormone melatonin. Having low melatonin makes it harder for a person to drift off to sleep. Mobile phones and tablets used in bed can wreck sleep hygiene.
Power Down Physically and Mentally- Do not exercise mentally or physically too close to bedtime. If you want to exercise in the evening make sure to do so at least an hour before bedtime which can help you produce endorphins which might help you decrease stress. Though the boost in endorphins can also make it hard to sleep. So do not run on the treadmill when you should be relaxing and preparing for bed. Also do not work your mind too hard before bed. Make sure to schedule answering emails and other work tasks at least thirty minutes before it is time to “hit the hay”. Working to close to bedtime can make your mind race when it should be calming down.
Create a Comfy Environment- Many would not think the bedroom decor would have much effect on the quality of sleep. However how a room is set up can change how a person sleeps. Having clean sheets, and blankets that are not too hot or too cold can make a difference. Also like stated previously in this article white noise machines and dark curtains can be beneficial additions to your bedroom. Also make sure pillows give your neck the support it needs. Oh and odor might also disrupt sleep so check for dirty laundry or trash that needs to be taken out, which just might solve the kid waking up in the middle of the night issue. If you have kids have them help you make their bedroom a sleep sanctuary. Keep toys organized, have them pick out blankets and curtains, etc.
Creating good sleep hygiene can make a difference on the quality of sleep you receive. If you change your habits and still suffer from insomnia speak with your doctor. If he or she suggest melatonin supplements to help look up World Wide Labs for an all natural option.
The New Year’s weekend is starting. Many might already have a list of things they want to try to do better in 2017. After staying up till midnight on New Years Eve, one resolution suggestion we have is to improve your sleep and therefore improve your health with the following tips.
Turn Off Devices an Hour Before Bedtime
We have discussed the damage blue light emitted from devices can cause to melatonin development. I know times get busy and some might feel they need to check one last email or text. Though studies have shown that the less blue light you have during the night can possibly increase your quality of sleep. One idea is to set an alarm on your cell phone of when everyone in the family should turn off the T.V. and put the devices on airplane mode and on the chargers for the night.
Avoid Late Night Snacking
There are times where you might wake up in the middle of the night craving some ice cream or whatever you can scavenge for in the fridge. However late night eating can cause issues. Sugary snacks can act as a stimulant which can cause racing minds and fatty foods can put a strain on the digestive system. Both of these symptoms can disrupt sleep. If you do need a little something before heading off to dream land check out these articles for some bedtime snack suggestions, 6 Bedtime Snacks 5 Bedtime Snacks or Bedtime Beverages.
Set A Schedule
As an adult a “Bedtime Routine” might seem juvenile. Though as “creatures of habit” a routine can be beneficial. If you have children maybe following the routine with them can be helpful for the whole family. For example having an hour of quiet time before getting ready for bed, turn off the television and other devices for the night and spend time talking as a family. Things you can add to a routine to make it more enjoyable could be everyone putting on comfy pajamas, reading a chapter from a new book, writing in a journal, doing a small 2o minute dance/exercise time etc. One of your family’s New Years resolutions could be writing out a new exciting and even visual bedtime checklist for the whole family.
Speak With A Specialist
If you or any of your children suffer from severe insomnia it might be time to speak with a specialist. Sometimes when insomnia symptoms become to difficult to handle it is time to turn to a doctor. If he or she suggests a melatonin supplements check out World Wide Labs for an all natural option.
For other sleep tips check out our article about doctor recommended sleep aids by clicking Five Sleep Aids.
Getting to sleep can be a challenge at times. Here is a list of 5 Doctor recommended sleeping aids, when to use them and how.
This tip is best when you are sleepy but tense. To use arometherapy massage a small amount of aroma-therapeutic oil or balm on shoulders and neck and then breathe deeply before you lay your head down. Studies show that lavender and lemon balm have relaxing properties. Though any fragrance you find calming can do the trick.
This drink is best used when you get enough sleep but still feel drowsy in the morning. Sip a cup of this tea an hour before you hit the sack. Some studies show that Valerian can possibly increase a drinker’s quality of sleep. Do not take for more than two weeks at a time. Prolonged use can cause dependency. Also this tea can create problems with some Rx medications. So speak with a doctor before trying out Valerian.
GABA-enhanced Drinks or Food
This little trick is best when your mind is racing. GABA stands for Gamma-aminobutyric acid. This chemical is an acid found in our bodies and studies have shown that it can calm the mind when taken orally.
You can buy GABA shots or you can try eating GABA enhanced foods during the day such as brown rice, bananas and mackarel. Eating these in the a.m. might help ease your mind in the p.m.
Use this natural supplement when you do not feel tired until late at night. About 15 to 20 minutes before bed take a 3mg tablet of melatonin. For an all natural option check out http://melatonin.com/. Our minds produce melatonin naturally to signal the body it is time for bed. Though many people have suppressed melatonin levels because of over light exposure from computers and other devices at night. Always speak with your doctor before trying any supplements.
If insomnia becomes a chronic problem it is time to talk to your doctor and possibly receive a prescription. Be patient with yourself and your doctor as finding the right medication takes time.
If you try any of these sleep aids and they help please share your story in the comments below.
Source – CNN Health