- Get tons of sensory input during the day, especially exercises that tap into the proprioception (muscles and joints) and vestibular systems (balance, coordination, body awareness, etc.). That doesn't mean you have to pump heavy weights or go on a 14 km run. Wrap yourself in a big heavy blanket, get a massage, roll your body on a yoga ball, dance, play a team sport (soccer, baseball, basketball), follow your child around the park. Activities like stretching, swinging, running, rolling, sliding, climbing, pulling, pushing, etc.
- Cut down/out caffiene. If you love your java, just don't drink any after about 3:00 p.m. A naturopath once told me that caffiene stays in your system for many hours so drink it early enough that it can get out of your system by rest time.
- Don't eat or drink heavily before sleeping. A full tummy can keep you awake and a full bladder will wake you up.
- Avoid alcohol, especially before bed. For those of you who enjoy your one or two drinks, be sure not to drink before sleeping. It's a depressant but not only that if you drink too much of it the sleep you have is your brain trying to get it out of your system. It isn't 'true' sleep. And oftentimes, you'll find you'll wake up because once the alcohol wears off, your brain wants to get going again.
- Do a relaxing creative activity. It doesn't matter what it is: painting, writing, sketching, poetry, sculpting. As long as it is engaging, something you love doing and relaxes you.
- Write out all your stressors. Journaling is an amazing tool. It doesn't work for everyone but I find writing things out really helps me get worries out of my head. The rule you have to apply to this exercise is once its on the paper, you don't let it drift back into your head until the next day. Oftentimes when I've done that I look back on it and think, "Why the heck was I so worried about that?"
- Have a set bedtime routine. For my kids it's: bath/shower, reading, glass of milk, massage, tuck ins/goodnights. Find what works for you then stick to that each night as closely as possible.
- Go to bed around the same time each night and get up around the same time each morning. All part of the routine.
- Make sure your bedroom is 'sleep friendly'. Do you sleep better in pitch dark or with a little light? Is the room cool/well ventilated? Are your bed clothes comfy? Is your mattress/pillow suited to your body's needs? Are all outside distractions tuned out? Do you need a little 'white noise' (eg: fan, nature sounds, music, etc.) to nod off? Figure out what makes you feel most comfortable then work that into your routine.
- Keep track of your medications. If your on medication for anxiety, depression, bipolar, etc., be sure to make notes if your sleep patterns have changed since taking them. It's important to let your doctor know as soon as possible before things get serious.
Friday, August 5, 2011
Chynna's Tips To Help With Sleep
Happy Friday to you all! I apologize for taking a few days getting this post up but I have been working hard catching up in all the stuff I'd gotten behind in when I was sick. Things are getting clearer and I have more time to make regular posts! YAY!
As promised, I'd like to share a few of the tips on helping to get a good night's sleep that have worked for me. I like following as natural a path as I can before trying medication. I guess because of my family's history with substance abuse, I'm a bit nervous of using medications to help my body do things it should be doing on its own. But I also respect those who have tried everything, gotten to the seriously ill category and need the extra help. Whatever helps you, do it! But I say following a holistic approach--natural with medication, if need be--seems to be the best route.
OKAY! Now what's helped me tremendously over the last few years is having two children with SPD who function best with routine, organization, calming exercises/games (that nourish their nervous systems) and good 'brain food'. I've learned so much from being a 'sensational' mum because in doing these things with and for my kiddos, I'm helping myself too! Isn't that wonderful? Here's what we do:
These are just a few of the things I use. There are more and I'll add them as remember (and don't have my youngest jumping all over me while I'm trying to type. HA!)
PLEASE do share you're own tips, suggestions and what works for you. Let's bounce ideas off of one another.