The average person spends about one-third of their life asleep! In fact, sleep Is the one activity you spend the most doing in your life Seems like such a waste when there is so much to do. However, if you have ever had a small child, or suffered from insomnia yourself you realise that sleeping is time well spent!
Unfortunately, there are many reasons why people don’t get the sleep they need or want. As a parent, you know that if your child doesn’t sleep them neither do you. These torturous nights spent wandering the house, trying to sleep in your child room or them in your bed whilst they toss and turn, cry or do whatever it is they do when they don’t sleep., Then there are copious reasons why as an adult we may have trouble getting to sleep. Perhaps your one of those people who instead of counting sheep you count worries, think about all the things you haven’t done yet or all the things you have to get done. No matter your reasons for not getting enough sleep it’s frustrating and impacts the rest of your day and life!
We often have people come to session asking about how can they help their child sleep better or how they get better nights to sleep themselves. Here some helpful hints that we tell people:
We don’t actually know how to fall asleep?
It’s true! If I ask the best sleeper in the world how do you fall asleep they will describe a routine or pattern they have that puts them in a relaxed state and then sleep just happens. So instead of cursing yourself because you can’t fall asleep change your focus. Your goals are to get yourself into a relaxed state, then just calmly wait for the rest to happen. This is when the horrific cycle of not getting to sleep leads to frustration leads to never getting to sleep happens. You need to break this cycle. Just relax!
Having a routine before bed that is calming can help the body prepare for sleep
A good consistent routine before bed can help tell your body clock “its time for bed – start to wind down”. In some cases, this can be as simple as brushing your teeth and putting your pyjama’s on, or if you do have some difficulty falling asleep perhaps a warm relaxing bath, reading a few chapters of a good book can help.
Turn off the mobile phone/ iPad/ tablet
The facts are in research has shown that if you use an iPad or mobile phone before bed – you take longer to fall asleep, your sleep quality is less, you feel sleepier the next day and the nights falling you don’t feel tired until one and half hours after you should!!! In fact, this is the first things we talk to parents about when children are having sleep problems – make sure you have some time without the iPad/tablet before bed at least 1 hour.
Stay calm if your child isn’t sleeping
Even the best parent in the world can get a little frustrated at 2 am after weeks of sleep deprivation! Believe me, I have! It’s important to realise that your frustration can be perceived by your child as fear/ anger at them or even at the very thing that is keeping them awake. This is not going to assist hem to relax and hence move closer to sleep. Stay calm, show them that you are not afraid or angry – maybe just a little tired!!
- Try to keep a consistent bedtime
Even if you aren’t getting to sleep its important to keep a consistent bedtime and wake time. This is the same for when your children aren’t sleeping well. There is a tendency to let them sleep through the morning if they have had rough night the night before – however, this just further confuses your body clock!
And if after trying all these tips your still struggling to get a good night sleep there is help.. consider visiting your Gp or a Psychologist to discuss even more strategies or reasons for sleep disturbances because everyone deserves a good nights sleep!