by Nancy Iankowitz, RN, DNP
Establishing a school-friendly routine to facilitate sleep may be an emotionally charged effort. Can we re-set our family so we all sleep well at night after the long sunny days and late nights of summer? Yes. Here are a few suggestions:
Point #1: Make a schedule; try to stick to it as many days of the week as possible.
Point #2: Take a few hints from nature (light, sound, vibration).
Point #3: Get in touch with your “self” (food, aroma, texture).
Setting a schedule is never easy, especially with more than two in the household. But the human body likes routine, and this is especially true when it comes to sleep patterns. Be realistic and be flexible. Fridays and Saturdays, for instance, can be different from the rest of the week.
The sun sets earlier. Daylight Saving Time ends. The sky darkens by 6:00 p.m. This is how the earth helps us wind down. Twilight ushers in evening stars. The sky is dimly lit. This signals that we need to avoid bright light. Some sleep well within minutes of shutting off electronics (laptops, television, cell phones, etc.); others do not. Tip: If you can’t fall asleep within 10 minutes of hitting the pillow, consider avoiding bright lights and screens within two hours of your attempt to fall asleep. Choose dim bulbs for the lamps you use at home once the sun sets. Encourage children to do the same.
Sound and Vibration
Daytime is filled with birds singing, bees buzzing, people rushing, and engines humming. Nighttime sounds from nature are soft. Crickets chirp; evening creatures fly silently. During this time of day, the human body is designed to heal through sleep. Tip: Play soft sounds at home. Kenny Loggins’s “Return to Pooh Corner” (and similar music) for children through the age of eight helps calm vibrations at home. If you are having a dispute, settle the argument and help children feel safe – get professional help if you can’t.
Disclaimer: The “food and aroma” interventions below require checking with your health provider before use. Each body is unique. Foods, essential oils, teas, and sprays do not work well for everyone. Ask your health provider before experimenting with any of the following.
Eating is a conversation we have with our body. Food and drink may energize or relax. Become aware of how your body responds. Caffeine stimulates most people, even though some sleep well after a cup of espresso. Learn what calms you. Food sensitivities and allergies may prevent you from using these tips effectively so check with your provider first. Tips: A cup of warm milk or chamomile tea 90 minutes before bedtime. Dinner: pasta, turkey, chicken. Snack: a banana, spoon of peanut butter or handful of peanuts. These tips may help induce sleep. Again, check with your health provider if you aren’t sure what could work for you or your child.
If your health provider agrees, you may choose to spray behind the knees or the soles of your child’s feet at bedtime. Tip: Lavender and chamomile have relaxing properties. Any scent that triggers a memory of peace, safety and calm would work well. If roses work for you, consider sprays with that essence.
For sensitive skin, choose soft fibers for bedclothes and sheets. Tip: Flannel and Egyptian cotton are two examples. Choose detergents that are free of perfumes and dyes.
To learn more about these and other topics, join me at the Pawling Library on Wednesday, August 30, at 7:00 p.m. to discuss how meditation, food, sleep and exercise can be used to get back on track. Participants will learn (1) how to pick up on signals sent by the brain and (2) simple, easy-to-use natural (non-pharmaceutical) interventions to help address signals that indicate imbalance. Interpreting messages sent by the brain is key to healing and maintaining mind/body/spirit balance.
Dr. Nancy Iankowitz is a board certified family nurse practitioner and Director of Holistic and Integrative Healing LLC. Email your questions and comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information, call (917) 716-6802, or visit www.driankowitz.com online.