If your kid’s are like mine, they turned to vampires over the summer. Many teenagers, tweens and young children are now on the verge of the dreaded ‘first day of school’ where they will need to wake up to meet daylight. How will they ever survive? And the more important question – How will we, the parents, stay sane during the first weeks of school when we all get back into a normal routine?
Here are a few tips to regulate the body’s internal clock naturally.
Coaxing the internal clock of your child back to a ‘wake at dawn’ and ‘rest at night’ resembles that same protocol that I counsel for international travelers who are experiencing jet lag.
Most Moms and Dads think by simply telling the child to go to bed and get some sleep that it will make the child sleepy and voila – off they go to dreamland. The problem is not solved that simply. Over time, as the child has stayed up later and later, and been active during night time hours, the cell structure and the intelligences that dictate cellular functions have adjusted their cycles for metabolic functions that occur on average over a twelve hour schedule.
While we are awake and active, the cell structures maintain a high metabolic function, then as we slow down, tire and require rest, the cells switch into the rest and rebuild phase associated with sleep. This pattern of activity and then rest and rebuild occurs in stages, that when affected by a child not sleeping normally over a long period of the summer months, needs to be reversed and set on a normal schedule again.
Increase the exercise your child has in the last few days leading up to the start of school , walking, running, and being active will trigger the body to increase metabolism during the normal waking hours. When my daughter, who is 14, stays up all day after having pulled ‘an all-nighter’ she heads to the gym the next morning and runs a couple miles to keep her body ‘up’.
Many people think exercising will make you sleepier when in fact it will increase the energy your body has to operate provided you eat healthy foods and plenty of water.
Increasing water intake to double what the child is used to will also stimulate body metabolism and help cleanse the body of cell debris that would normally take place if your child were sleeping during the day light hours. Plus, your child will be going to the bathroom more, and it is hard to sleep when on the toilet, but not impossible as I have discovered with my teenagers.
We all enjoy a nap in the afternoon to refocus and re-energize. Well to the child who has stayed up all night and is now getting back on a normal schedule, a cat nap in the afternoon will be as valuable as the latest video game. Allow a 40 minute nap mid day but make sure you wake them, and you will have to wake them, then make sure they stay up the rest of the day till bedtime. Take them out and do an activity that requires movement or have them do chores around the house to help get things organized before school starts.
Foods that help
Increase greens, fresh fruits, and vegetables. Eat up to 6 cups of veggies a day and 2 cups of fresh fruits. Fresh fruits and veggies are high in fiber and not only provide easy to absorb vitamins and minerals but are also higher in water content, all of which help regulate normal body functions.
Stay away from pastas, sugars, coffee, breads during the day as they cause blood sugar fluctuations that make you feel sleepy.
Vitamin C, given 2 – 3 times during the day, all before 5 pm, helps cell overturn which is needed when normalizing body processes. Read bottle for quantities that are safe to take during the day.
Vitamin E if given toward the night time hours, promotes sleep. Again read the recommended dosages on the container.
Herbs that help
Place a few drops of lavender under pillow or in bath to calm and sooth the child at normal ‘get ready for bed hours’.
Chamomile tea (if your child does not suffer seasonal allergies), helps calm the child as your promote sleep.
Jet lag formulas – there are plenty jet lag herbal formulas on the market as well if you want to venture out and try a new product. I personally have not used them when I travel internationally.
I wish you all the best as you prepare your child for the ever popular ‘back to school’ days. Mom and Dad can use these same tips to keep your energy levels up and stay positive.
Your health advocate – Tina Marie