Bedtime can sometimes be far from peaceful, but follow these simple tips and you’ll soon be ready for the land of dreams…
- Children (and adults!) benefit from a sleep hygiene routine- i.e no screen time at least 2 hours before bed, including all devices and TV. This can be done gradually over several nights reducing by 15 minutes a time if necessary
- Reduce sugar intake before bed, milk and plain cereal are great
- Try to encourage some “wind down ” time if possible. This could be listening to some gentle music, reading a book or colouring etc
- Keep to this same pattern each night, as the brain and body will become used to this routine quickly. Now for some gentle yoga and mindfulness….
- Invest in a lavender filled eye pillow, or make your own with some uncooked rice, lavender seeds and a clean sock tied at the end. a lovely activity to do together! Place over the eyes as you breathe gently in and out
- Write down any worries in a journal or draw a picture of them , this helps to express feelings without thinking they need to be solved right away. Older children can write down 5 things they are grateful for that day too. Progress to 10 things for older children or if you’ve been practicing mindfulness techniques for a while. Being grateful for the little things is very relaxing
- Inversions – legs up the wall pose. This is very calming on the body and if done for 20 minutes before sleep, the effects are likened to having a 2 hour sleep! You could both lie like this as you read a story together, nothing too exciting though! See also www.yogajournal.com and search for bedtime ideas for some other gentle yoga stretches.
- Relaxing sleep meditations are the perfect way to really switch off…”Nightlights ” book by Anne Civardi and Kate Perry has some beautiful little meditations in to do together. You can also choose to read a meditation for a specific issue in this book too.
- Finally, the most enlightening piece of advice I was ever given to help deal with sleep issues and anxieties around bedtimes was ” don’t rush in to rescue! ” If children have a special little box of sleep enhancing things to use before they come to you saying they can’t sleep such as .. eye pillows, worry dolls, worry stones to whisper the worry to and place under the pillow, relaxation cd, journal, mindfulness jar etc then they may learn to self- soothe and drift off to sleep themselves. If we can help them to regulate their own emotions, and learn theses skills for themselves they will hopefully have them for life… Namaste X