Do you remember when you were little and it seemed as though sleep overcame you as soon as your head hit your pillow? And you slumbered through the night until morning time? They call it the sleep of the innocent, but don’t you wish you could sleep like that again?
Adult responsibilities, stress, lifestyle and other worries often result in poor sleep habits and once the cycle of tossing and turning begins, it is difficult to return to a decent night’s sleep. Many adults rely on prescription drugs to fall asleep and quite a few are addicted to them! Others ‘self medicate’ and use alcohol and other recreational drugs to try and fall asleep. If you are regularly struggling to sleep well, then you probably need to learn to fall asleep again!
So let?s go back to basics!
And who better to consult than babies! After all babies are the experts at sleeping so why not learn a little from them! Apart from their age and body clock, there are specific reasons that babies fall asleep so well. Let?s have a look at a few of them and see if we can?t borrow some of the tricks!
ROUTINE: Most parents try very hard to get their children into a routine. Regular bedtimes, bath times and mealtimes are something to strive towards. Of course, one cannot be too rigid, but a child on a regular routine will feel secure and will be able to ?predict? his environment more easily. It also helps his body clock to start the process of winding down before he actually gets to bed. He knows that after supper comes his bath, a story, a prayer and a good night kiss. When his head hits the pillow, he is ready to meet the sandman!
So try and follow this example. Start a night time routine. Make your evenings more or less predictable along the lines of supper, bath and bed. For at least three weeks try and follow this simple routine and go to bed at the same time each night ? about 8 hours before it is time to get up. Wear soft comfortable and cozy nightwear, specifically for sleeping (remember flannel pyjamas?)
EXERCISE: This is something kids do lots of! They don?t stop running around for a minute! Now I am not suggesting that you start running around wherever you go, but regular exercise is one of the best sleep aids around! It?s also free and healthy and has lots of good side effects. Take up a sport, go to the gym or start regular walks. You won?t regret it!
HAVE PEACEFUL EVENINGS: How many times don?t you hear parents saying to their kids ?Calm down now, it?s nearly bed time?. Or ?You?d better stop running around ? you won?t be able to fall asleep!? Perhaps you say this to your own children ? with good reason! Do you follow your own advice? Or do you sit up watching thrillers (or even worse the news!) or finishing off the day?s work that you brought home from the office? Sound familiar? Try a different approach. Never watch TV while trying to fall asleep. Rather dim the lights while you get into a hot bath and put on some soothing music. Use aromatherapy in your home ? in particular lavender for it?s soporific properties. Be quiet and peaceful for the hour before you go to bed and your body will start to get the message!
OTHER HINTS: Avoid all products with caffeine or sugar after 6pm. That means coffee, cola chocolate and all ‘soda pops’ (fizzy drinks). Also stay away from heavy meals at night. Your tummy will be too busy digesting to allow you to sleep well! Don’t eat red meat, refined products or lots of cheese. Go for pastas, grains, pulses, potatoes and rice. Good evening or bedtime drinks are warm milk, lettuce extract and chamomile tea (sleepy tea) – all safe and proven sleep aids. If you are really struggling, some herbal remedies to aid sleep are Valerian, Passiflora and Kava Kava. Try to put these simple hints to the test for three weeks only. You will be surprised at the difference they make! Should you do this faithfully and still struggle to sleep, consult your doctor or request an online consultation at www.feelgoodcounseling.com/onlinecounsel.htm
About The Author
Michele Carelse is a qualified Clinical Psychologist and Licensed Counselor. Her website at www.feelgoodcounseling.com offers Online Counseling, free Support Groups, Recommended Reading and lots of interesting articles.