The start of a new school year brings plenty of challenges, including the basic business of getting back into its usual rhythms and routine. For kids, this can be especially difficult after a summer of growing accustomed to staying up and sleeping in later than usual.
Making sleep more of a routine – one that’s followed throughout the year, not just when school is in session – can be a tremendous help. In the article below, shared from the 1000 Petals blog, Stephanie Kennelly offers a model you can try with your own kids – or even use yourself!
Moving Mindfully Sleep Routine
When working with youth we always ask, “How many of you have problems with sleep?” It is not surprising to see almost all hands slowly rise.
Sleep is such an important component to overall health and well-being. Addressing these concerns should be a priority for all youth workers. Sleep is where everything happens for the heart, mind and body. Learning is integrated. Muscles are healed. Emotions are reset.
The promise of a restful night sleep is a motivating factor for students to bring this work out of the classroom and into their home. From infants to teenagers, our Sleep Routine works for everyone. It is crucial that children establish sleep hygiene habits at a young age. We have developed a series of positions from our Move Mindfully Card Deck that are scientifically proven to get the body and mind ready for quality sleep.
Not only is this recommended for youth, but also adults! The quality of your sleep is more important than the quantity. Instead of rushing off to bed, taking 15 minutes with our Sleep Routine will pay off with high quality sleep to follow.
Here are the five easy steps to a great night sleep!
This is a great position to ready the body. It tunes out visual stimulation and allows focus on breath. We recommend staying here for 5-10 deep breaths. If you are using this pose with a child, the adult can place hands on back for back breathing.
Knees Hug In
Gently rocking side to side in this position to allow a decompression of the lumbar spine. It also massages the organs and soothes adrenals.
Legs Up the Wall
This inversion modification allows the legs to be above the heart, lowering heart rate and blood pressure. You can try this position on a chair or the bed if up the wall is not accessible.
Keeping shoulders on the floor and twisting side to side not only readjusts the spine, but also has a detoxifying effect on the digestive system. After twists, it may feel good to do another Knees Hug In.
Even if you are a side or tummy sleeper, we recommend you spend the first 5-10 minutes on your back. Let all muscles release and focus on deep, restful breathing.
These positions should be taught and implemented throughout the day. Allowing 1-3 minute breaks trains the mind and body how to shut down. Also, keeping cortisol levels low throughout the day will have an impact at bedtime.
Have you tried a sleep routine with your children or yourself? How do you see yourself using these positions in your work? Leave a comment!