Sleep time is very important at any age. It is when we shut down a lot of bodily functions to process what we have taken in since the last sleep time. This is true for all ages and stages of life. Everyone is different when they need to sleep and how much, but none of us can go without some sleep time.
Here are a few tips for getting more sleep and more restful sleep. Remember, if we cannot sleep we cannot be well, and if sick, we cannot heal. These are for all ages from birth until we pass, unless otherwise indicated.
- Sleep rituals – appropriate for all ages
- Do not eat too close to sleep time (except an infant and nursing)
- Quiet activity before sleep time – reading, music, meditation, gentle exercise, including yoga and stretching – See tricycle.com or yogajournal.com, or meditations with Thich Nhat Hanh on YouTube or on Facebook
- If awakened in the night these also will support you in returning to sleep, especially a simple breathing meditation
- Do a lovely massage or have some one give you one or the person who cannot sleep – use a gentle lotion with chamomile or lavender essential oil
- Go outside in the quiet for a few minutes. Be sure to bundle up if it is cold
- Sleep in total darkness- cover the digital clock and do not have any electronics charging in the room.
- Are you comfortable sleeping with someone else – its ok to give yourself some space of your own to sleep – it may only be temporary or give some thought on how to avoid disruption of sleep by another, or how to return to sleep more quickly (see 1b and 1c above)
- There are lots of herbs and supplements and medications one can try for sleep – this is for adults only and if something is needed for a child, please talk with someone knowledgeable in these items before using;
- medically there are sleep aids, anti anxiety and antidepressant drugs
- know the side effects
- Benadryl has been used effectively- if this is a safe medicine for you,start with a child’s dose and increase to an adult dose as needed –more is not necessarily better
- melatonin – this works best to help those who cannot fall asleep and/or work shift work – start with a low dose and go slow
- any combination of these herbs: chamomile, lemon balm, catnip, and passion flower, – valerian works for many but makes some people more wired, hops also works well especially if the issue is somewhat related to hormones. Alcohol may make you fall asleep but it is often short lived with increased waking in the night and sleep is not refreshed
- There are many homeopathics – if you feel wired and restless and cannot fall asleep, try coffea cruda, or if you wake at 2 or 3 am and cannot return to sleep try nux vomica – what ever potency you have, one pellet as needed
- Rescue remedy sleep works for many people
Remember, anyone can have a reaction to anything, so please use this information responsibly. Do your first testing of the substances over a weekend. Do not use this information to suppress or mask real issues you need to address so you will stay well. Your body may be saying I won’t let you rest until you take a good long hard look at yourself. I know that has happened to me and the listening has helped my sleep and me.
In Peace, Pat