Have you ever felt really tired but you have a restless mind at night? At my house, struggling to fall asleep doesn’t only happen to me. Science can’t answer all questions about the connections between parents and their children, a major one concerns personality traits, fears, and preferences and aversions as hereditary. I’m pretty sure that my oldest son got some of my brain-does-its-own-thing quirks–one I’d rather delete — that stop the presses so I can sleep brain issue. The past couple of years, we’ve tried different techniques, better sleep habits to help combat this problem. Some seem to work but only the first few times, others are a flat-out fail (he can count so many sheep out loud that I fall asleep while he’s still going), but some are winners if we stay consistent and follow the rules.
I’ve greatly simplified the Leber family sleep rules; much more can be researched on all the methods or suggestions for better sleep habits if you want to dig deep. Here are five of our most successful brain calming, prep for sleep ideas. Feel free to try one or a few or all in different combinations. Find what works for you and your family and be consistent. Consistency is paramount when it comes to a sleep routine; our bodies and their rhythms love it.
First, we all know that things with screens are horrible for us at night. Let me tell you why, so you can take measures to combat the inevitable sleep issues this causes kids and adults alike. Screens interfere with the messages our eyes send to our brain about producing melatonin which helps us sleep. In other words, whether or not your gadget has filters or light adjusters for time of day, your brain thinks it’s time to wake up and do stuff. Not cool. No APP or filter can trick our bodies; mother nature knows best: at least an hour before bed, put the screens down or turn them off.
Don’t drink caffeine, sugary drinks, or alcohol or eat in the few hours before bed (a light snack won’t wreck your rest). The substances themselves or subsequent production of hormones and chemicals keeps your body from that deep, reparative sleep it really needs. Additionally, you’ll be getting up to use the bathroom and struggling to fall back asleep.
Activity, rough housing, exercise, play, and laughing are all highly effective and fun ways to get our bodies moving and help us rest at night, as well. Tired kids and adults alike sleep better. Ensure you don’t engage in the crazy fun too close to bedtime or it will only enhance that restless mind at night. With kids, your best bet is to settle everything down at least an hour before tuck-in time. I’m the same, myself. I dim lights and try to keep things low key in our house that last hour.
Tensing up and little stressors and aggravations during the day can build up to a restless mind at night and can cause muscle tension which makes it even harder to relax. Stretches and yoga can help a sore, tired, stressed body loosen up in preparation for sleep. Do what you can even if you feel like you are hardly moving or bending before feeling the pull or burn. You’ll be surprised at how quickly you see improvements and feel more flexible if you stick with it. There’s nothing worse than waking up several times to shift positions because of tight areas – neck, back, and hips are notorious for waking and torturing me.
Essential oils and aromatherapy or massage can do wonders for a restless mind at night. Many oils have been proven to aid people in relieving a restless mind at night and support a good night’s sleep. Whether you rub them on tired muscles, feet, or hands and release tension or diffuse or inhale them, essential oils can have a fast and lasting calming effect on adults and children, alike.
A restless mind at night can be calmed by following a few, simple rules. The key is consistency. If you take action and make these techniques a part of a routine, they will work for you. Sleep tight, Friends.