With back to school comes the ever challenging nighttime schedule and bedtime routines. So often in my practice I see families just exhausted by long days of activities and restless sleep. Whether the challenge is getting everyone to bed at a time that actually increases opportunity for deep rest or a parent trying to promote children sleeping in their own room, the bedtime routine can become a struggle of wills and wonts.
Perhaps winding down the evening with music and family story time could be helpful. I would encourage individuals to move away from screen time (television, computers, electronic games) early in the evening and switch to playing gentle music. Try for about 30 minutes before bedtime to enjoy a home with the soothing sounds of instrumental music or if choosing music with lyrics, choose a selection with positve lyrics and soft tones.
This would be a good time, while the music is playing, for family members to sip something warm, just a little, maybe 1/2 cup, perhaps of an easily digestible tea or milk beverage. We only want a few sips of a beverage to help avoid having to getting up for restroom needs during the night. It will be all the better if a good bedtime story is shared now too.
Three of my favorite calming/chasing the nightmares away stories for bedtime include Grandfather Twilight by Barbra Berger, There's A Nightmare in My Closet by Mercer Mayer, and Good Night Yoga by Mariam Gates. Each book offers beautifl illustrations, easy to follow along text, and end with such encouragement that you just want to be tucked in snuggling under the covers.
Both kids and aduls can benefit from sleeping with a little treasure of meaning to them. Maybe a favorite stuffed item, a fragrant candle (lavender would be good) or a cherished photo next to the bedside, a special blanket or even a favorite piece of clothing placed underneath a pillow can all promote feeling safe and secure while sleeping. If your family enjoys essential oils then it is benefical to include an application of oil or diffusing oil noted for promoting rest.
There is something so encouraging about waking up in the morning after a night of restful sleep. Wellness and health for all family members can be improved with evening schedules and bedtime routines to soothe.
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