Indy asleepSleep. It’s an emotive issue. When our children were babies, the only time we argued was when one or both of them were awake when they shouldn’t be. Looking back through photos, I wondered why there were none of my children asleep? Then I remembered. I was a sleep freak. My children had strictly structured sleep schedules from almost day one, and woe betide anyone who woke them up by taking a photo!

In my quest for unbroken sleep, I would work out how much food and daytime napping was needed to help them Sleep Through The Night. I know, I know, we shouldn’t big this up as the Holy Grail of parenthood. But I need sleep. Thankfully, my children recognised this from an early age.

So imagine my horror when, earlier this year, my nine-year-old son started finding it difficult to fall or stay asleep. The usual ‘Just go to sleep’ did not work and Tana became increasingly anxious about bedtime, often not going to sleep till past midnight and waking several times after that.

After losing my temper a couple of times and feeling thoroughly ashamed, I decided to help Tana learn some techniques he could try to get to sleep. We started with deep breathing and added soft yoga music (I have heaps). I also found a CD of children’s meditations by Relax Kids and we listened to a couple each night, trying to find ones that didn’t mention the sun as this made him feel too hot! I massaged him and sang to him and also used an essential oil pillow spray on his pillow – when it started to run out, my sister had another one custom made for him and he now uses his ‘Magic Drops’ every night.

So, did it work? Yes, it did. After a few weeks of me spending 15 minutes with him in his room, trying out all our techniques, Tana learned how to fall asleep and how to stay calm if he woke up again. His sense of pride when he realised that he was doing this for himself was wonderful to see.

Children are not the only ones with sleep issues. Many of my adult yoga students struggle and just put it down to getting older. But there is usually something you can do. Yoga gives you a head start as you learn how to breathe and relax. And there are loads of good books and articles – I particularly like this one, especially the little video with some really good common sense tips. Sleep tight.

Filed under: Happy Coulson

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