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 holidays are full of excitement, stress, sugar and squished homes. These can all put a damper on sleep schedules. So how can you and your children recover from the holidays and get ready to return to the school and work schedule?
The following are some tips on how to “Return to Reality”
Decrease The Snacks
During the holiday season a lot of neighbors drop of treats as gifts. This can be a nice gesture but make sure you or your children decrease the holiday sweet intake when it is time to return to school and work. Avoid these treats at least an hour before bedtime. For some kids and adults sugar can act like a stimulant and lead to racing minds, which can disrupt sleep.
Turn of The Screens
With family over and “no school” many families watch a lot of movies during the holiday break. Screen time with family is fine just make sure to click “off” all the devices at least an hour before bedtime. Blue light emitted by most devices confuses the melatonin development in the mind. This decrease in melatonin can make it harder for a child or adult to feel sleepy enough to get to bed.
Get Back to a Routine
During the season the bedtime schedule is sometimes thrown out the window because of all the events happening. With returning to school and work, start getting back into a routine at least three days before school or work starts. Maybe even add fun new items to the bedtime schedule. For example reading a chapter a night from a book that the child received as a Christmas present, taking a bubble bath, or getting into the cool new pajamas Grandma gave etc. Make getting ready for bed a fun checklist instead of a nightly battle.
With all the excitement from the holidays and from receiving gifts kids might have a hard time getting to bed. Even adults might be over zealous about the cool new items they received. Set boundaries for yourself and your children. Put all “toys” away at a certain time each night preferably at least an hour before bedtime. Have a time to clean up and then have a quiet hour before bed. This will help all minds relax and produce enough melatonin to get some much needed beauty sleep.
Hopefully these tips can help you adjust back to the reality of school and work after a fun break. If you try these tips please share in the comments. If you or your child suffers with extreme sleeping problems remember to talk to your doctor. If the doctor suggests melatonin supplements check out World Wide Labs for an all natural option.
Last month we had an article on Five Bedtime Snacks To Help You Sleep.
This article is all about bedtime beverages that can soothe your mind to help you drift off to dream land.
Bedtime Beverages and their Benefits
Natural Tea Brew- Simmering three to four lettuce leaves for 15 minutes and adding mint leaves can be a calming natural tea. Lettuce has lactucarium a natural chemical which has a sedative affect. Sipping this brew might help you ease into sleep.
Cherry Juice – Researchers from the Universities of Pennsylvania and Rochester discovered that tart cherries can spike the production of melatonin. This hormone is the natural hormone in our brains that produces sleep. Drinking a glass of tart cherry juice can cause a boost of melatonin which can help you fall asleep.
Peppermint Tea- Peppermint is known to have stomach soothing properties. If you have anxiety and it is causing nausea and trouble sleeping try sipping peppermint tea to calm the butterflies and get a goodnight’s rest.
Chamomile Tea- The most popular bedtime tea is chamomile. Researchers have discovered that this tea has a chemical named glycine which can relax muscles and nerves. It is similar to a mild sedative which can help the drinker who sips this tea to fall asleep more peacefully.
Passion Fruit Tea- Researchers in Australia discovered that high levels of Harman alkaloids found in passion fruit flowers can act on the nervous system to make a person tired. Sipping this sweet herbal tea an hour before bedtime can possibly help you sleep more soundly.
If you have trouble sleeping try these beverages before bedtime. If they help feel free to share your story in the comments. If your sleeping troubles persist speak with your doctor. If the doctor suggests melatonin supplements check out World Wide Labs for an all natural option.
Are you up at night staring at the ceiling wishing you could fall asleep? Or are you so stressed about the next day that you are too wired to lay down your head and dream? If you have these struggles here are Eight Tips to help you sleep better.
One Stick to A Schedule. Set a schedule of when to go to sleep and when to wake up each day. Work to stay on this schedule and your body will learn to follow this habit. It will learn when to release sleep hormones to make you more relaxed and ready for bed.
Two Pay attention to what you eat and drink. Diet can have an affect on your quality of sleep. Being too full or too hungry can keep you awake. Also avoid alcohol, caffeine, or nicotine before bed as these chemicals can cause disruption to your sleep.
Three Create a bedtime routine. Humans are creatures of habit. If you set a bedtime routine your body will recognize this. Having a list of things you do before you go to bed can help your mind relax. For example obviously brushing your teeth is a part of the bedtime routine. Though maybe you can add other special tasks for example putting on lotion or reading to your kids etc. If you are a parent of young children having a bedtime routine set for them can make all the difference. It can help you and them sleep better which can create better mornings and clearer minds. This can create greater success at work and school.
Four Get comfortable! Make your bedroom a sanctuary for sleep. Have comfortable pillows, seasonal blankets, fan/heater etc. If you need to put up dark curtains, and have white noise machines. Also make sure your bedroom is only a bedroom. Do not have your office there. Also do not use your laptops or other devices in bed. This can confuse the mind thinking bed is for work or play and will send the signals to stay awake rather than the signals for sleep.
Five Limit daytime naps. This one is important if you want to set good sleeping habits. If you do take a nap make sure it is only between ten to thirty minutes. If you are a night shift worker obviously these rules are different for you. If you need to sleep in the day set good alarms and also have dark curtains so you can fully fall asleep.
Six Include physical activity in your daily routine. Have an active lifestyle but remember to not exercise too close to the time you want to go to sleep. Being active during the day will help your mind and body wind down at night.
Seven Manage Stress. Too much stress can cause disruption to sleep. A helpful tip is to write down everything that is causing you stress. Or to write a to do list for the next day. That way the things that were on your mind are now on a piece of paper (or in a note app).
Eight Know when to see a doctor. If your sleep is being severely disturbed or disrupted talk to your doctor about possible treatment.
In this digital world many families spend too much time watching T.V or playing on tablets and smartphones. These are not evil devices though they can cause damage to health.
“A child needs eight hours of peaceful sleep daily to remain fit and active. Excessive addiction to mobile phones distracts the mind and disturbs his or her sleep-wake cycle.” (DailyMail) With this distraction causes a decrease in melatonin, this is the natural chemical in the brain that is released to tell the mind and body to relax and go to sleep.The blue light from devices makes the mind believe it is daytime, so it does not release the needed amount of melatonin to sleep even though it is late at night.
Parents with young children should take note that screen time late at night can change sleeping patterns. This can cause problems in focusing at school. Parents should encourage kids to play outside during the day and to turn off all devices at least one hour before bedtime. By doing this a child can create better sleeping habits. By receiving the eight to ten hours of sleep needed a child’s performance in school and their daily attitude can improve greatly.
This benefit was stated by Dr Geetha Srinivasan, (senior consultant, pediatric ophthalmology, ICARE Hospital) who said, “…cutting back on tech use at night means getting better sleep, making people more productive at both work and school.”
For parents with children with insomnia, ADHD or Autism should look into creating new habits as well. Though if bedtime routines and cutting back screen time does not improve the quality of sleep of their child parents can consult doctors about melatonin supplements.
Melatonin supplements simply increase the natural chemical melatonin to help children, teens and adults naturally fall asleep. To learn more about melatonin and children click this link. http://bit.ly/MelatoninAndChildren
(Natural Health 365)