Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The sleep battle...

I dread bedtime in our house.  Sleep has always been a rough spot in our house.  Spawn has never been a great sleeper; Sweet Nut is a great sleeper if people leave him alone and let him fall asleep; and Cute Boy and Chunk take f.o.r.e.v.e.r. to go to sleep.  Throw the 3 goobers all sharing a room into the mix and it's a recipe for disaster.

One of the things Spawn's doctors were looking at trying to figure out why his asthma medicine wasn't helping much was how he slept.  How long it took him to fall asleep and how many times he woke up at night.  Thankfully with the removal of his adenoid we got the night wakings down to almost none.  But there was still the hours long battle to actually fall asleep.

I'm not a great sleeper either, so that might be part of it.  I have battles with insomnia and a few years back I was told about using relaxation and meditation to go to sleep.  Using you tube videos, I found what ones worked best and most nights that's how I'll fall asleep-headphones in my ears and the iPhone or iPod next to me.

I thought about it back when I started using them for myself to let the kids use them, but don't know why I never did.

Then someone brought up the idea to me the other day.  I looked for videos that were geared more towards kids and found some that I thought were worth giving a shot.

We tried them tonight and, seriously, Spawn was almost asleep at the end of the first one.  All 3 big boys were out by the end of the second one and it was only 9:20.  Unheard of in my house, in 9.5 years that all the boys, and most importantly, Spawn were sleeping that early.

We've tried the early bedtimes, split bedtimes etc.  Nothing worked.  So I'm hoping that we've finally found what works.  Spawn tends to instigate and wake up the other 2 if he "feels lonely".

The first video we used was this one:

It's a Progressive Muscle Relaxation for kids.  I love this type of relaxation and use it often...when I'm tired, when I'm stressed...whenever I need a few minutes to myself.  The best part about this one is once you have an idea of how it works you can do it anytime, anywhere.  Basically what it does is have you works groups of muscles, tightening them and then relaxing them multiple times, which strangely enough really relaxes them.  Most of the ones I've used start with the hands or feet and work their way around the body.  This particular one is geared specifically for kids and starts with the hands.  It has them pretend to squeeze the juice out of lemons.  Then it works the face by having them scrunch their nose and foreheads to make a fly go away.  Clench the jaw by pretending they are biting on a jawbreaker.  Pull their neck into their shoulders pretending they are turtles pulling their heads into their shells.  Pretend they are lazy cats stretching in the sun etc.  It's an almost 14 minute video, and by then end of this one, the boys were still awake, but you could tell they were calmed down.  They took a bathroom break and when Spawn climbed back into bed he has some very heavy eyelids.

Then we moved onto this one:

This guy is a hypnotherapist, and this is a guided sleep relaxation video.  Guided relaxations are just that.  Where the person basically takes you to a place, in this case to the castle because the kids are princes or princesses.  The beginning they have their eyes open and watch, and they loved seeing this little guy from a video game.  After a few minutes he has them close their eyes to begin the journey.  This video, unlike the previous has no direction to open their eyes at the end, because hopefully, as a sleep video, they are asleep by the end of it.  This is just over 8 minutes and by the end of this, Sweet Nut was snoring, Spawn was out like a light and Cute Boy had just fallen asleep.

This was only our first night of using these with the kids and I have to say, I'm happy with the results.  I'm looking through other sleep relaxation videos to change up and see what ones work best.  For me, longer ones work and I can't use the same one over and over because I start 'reading' the script in my head.  I tend to stick with certain types or certain voices though once I find one that works.

Oh, and you might wonder how we did this.  I just brought my iPhone into their room, turned off anything that made noise (fan included) and had them lay on their backs in their beds.  The first video talks about them sitting in a chair (it's made to use in school) but they had no problems following along laying down.

Hopefully, I'll be able to update in a few days that we've had continued success and I'll post other videos that work for us as we find them.  It's easy to find though, just do searches on you tube.

I'll have another blog post geared towards adults with some videos soon!

Sweet Dreams!

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