Children in the UK are having trouble sleeping, with more and more young people being diagnosed with sleep disorders.
But help is on hand, as schoolchildren across the country may be offered help with sleep, since specialist lessons became available to teachers at the end of 2018.
The lessons will be taught as part of PSHE and have been developed by the department for sleep medicine at Evelina London Children's Hospital. This dedicated learning time will equip children with strategies for falling asleep, as well as raising awareness for how the need for sleep changes throughout our life.
Sleep is crucial to childhood development, and insomnia can lead to health problems or behavioral issues. Children and adolescents need 9 hours of sleep per night.
According to the sleep health foundation most sleep problems in children are linked to difficult behaviour around the time they go to bed. These may be long standing or can begin due to a disruption such as illness, starting school, a new sibling, even a fun event such as a holiday can trigger a change in behaviour.
For parents this can be very challenging and can also disrupt their sleep and affect whole family life, which only exasperates the issue. The good news is patents can also help with this, changing behaviour and creating a new routine.
Yoginis Yoga have been helping children to understand the importance of resting their bodies in their Yoga programmes for some time. Rest time is always included at the end of every yoga session to allow the body to rejuvenate after movement and to give the children a brain break.
Our book ‘Let’s Go Yoginis’ is child friendly and can help parents to introduce a pre bedtime Yoga routine. Try the Yoginis Yoga promise followed by Cat, Cow, Tortoise ending with Mouse and finally “slowly, sleepily, slipping silently into bed like a sloth”. (www.yoginisyoga.uk/shop-1).
Parents could try a yoga nidra practice pre-bedtime. Yoga nidra is a systematic method of inducing complete physical, mental and emotional relaxation. The term yoga meaning union and nidra meaning sleep. In yoga nidra relaxation is reached by turning inward, yoga nidra can help to develop memory, increase knowledge and creativity and may help change bad habits. Unless you are free from muscular, mental and emotional tension you are never relaxed. Yoga nidra is a more efficient and effective form of physic and physiological rest and rejuvenation than conventional sleep. Those who adopt this technique in their daily routine can experience profound changes in their sleep. A single hour of yoga nidra is as restful as four hours of conventional sleep. It has been known for some students to fall asleep during yoga nidra practice.
At a time when many of us are having trouble drifting off, a forward-thinking, holistic lesson on sleep sounds like a dream come true.
For more information and biofeedback on Yoga Nidra read: Yoga Nidra – Swami Satyananda Saraswati ISBN 978-81-85787-12-1