In our last blog post, we talked about the importance of sleep, but how can we get the sleep that we need?
Here are a few strategies to encourage good sleep hygiene:
This can help re-synchronize the circadian rhythm Avoid screens at least 2 hours before bed. The light from the screens confuses the brain into thinking it is day time and does not release the necessary sleep hormones to induce fatigue. Screen time also generally causes excitatory stimulation that is counter productive for falling asleep!
Develop a good night time routine – and stick with it!
This can help train their brain to trigger feelings of sleepiness. Parts of a routine may involve deep pressure/ massage, bath time with lavender, or use of calming essential oils.
Avoid foods/ beverages that can interfere with sleep.
Heavy meals, sugars, food dyes, and caffeine can keep kids up at night and decrease the quality of sleep. These items should be avoided, especially in the hours right before bed.
Slow calming massage (with lavender lotion or essential oil) can help produce a calming and regulating effect on the body.
Create a cozy environment
Rooms with bright lights, blue lights, TV, or excess noise make it difficult for the brain to release the necessary sleep hormones. Look at all aspects of the room including how much visual stimulation there is, what sounds are heard, what the temperature is, and even if there are any noticeable odors. These can all impact sleep patterns.
Sleep is also an area that your occupational therapist can address. We can provide personalized suggestions to allow the patient to calm their body and improve regulation allowing for increased ease of sleep. For some people, these techniques are not enough, and your physician may be able to further assist with other recommendations for things such as melatonin, magnesium, or other sleep aides. The above recommendations then can be added in to further promote good sleep in order to get the best out of each and every day.
Written by: Cassie Whiteaker, MORTL