Trust Your Instincts

A few weeks ago our female goat Darla has 2 babies.  Watching her give birth and caring for her babies made me think of writing this post.  It was pretty amazing to watch her give birth, and then immediately start cleaning and feeding her babies, and without taking any birthing classes!  It made me think about how we humans do have parenting instincts, but we do not always follow them.  Sometimes we get so caught up with listening to what other people tell us, that we forget to follow our own feelings.

Darla and her babies

I would like to remind every parent out there, that years and years and years ago, we did this parenting thing without books or classes.  Not to say that everything was perfect back then and definitely not to say that we do not need help these days.  But I am saying that we have our own instincts within us on how to parent our children, how we should be disciplining them, how we should be feeding them, how we should be helping them sleep.  And I think we forget this a lot of the time because we get so caught up in the advice from others.  So before you take someone else’s advice, take a step back and figure out if it feels right to you.  So if you are co-sleeping with your child and someone tells you not to do that, figure out if that really fits in to how you want to raise your children.  Are you happen co-sleeping?  Are you all sleeping well?  Maybe you don’t need to change that.  But if co-sleeping doesn’t feel exactly right to you, then maybe you can take that person’s advice.  (For more on my thoughts on co-sleeping, click here)

Remember, just because someone is an expert on something, you are the expert on your own child and your own situation.  So while you may come to me for sleep advice because I am an expert on it, if anything I recommend doesn’t feel like it will work for your family or your child, then I will not push you to try it.

And now, some more cute baby goat pictures!


 

What is the Best Sleeping Position for a Peaceful Sleep

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If you do even a small amount of research into how to find the best shape to take up when you drop off, you’ll realize there is a lot of conflicting advice about how different sleeping positions affect the quality of sleep. There are also some fascinating insights into how couples sleep when they share a bed and what your favorite position says about your personality … but we’ll save those insights for another day!

As with many things in life, what feels good is what does you good. Finding a comfortable sleeping position is no exception. There is no standard, either. Everyone is different. In fact, over time, you’ll probably try out several postures. What is comfortable for you also depends on your mattress, pillow, sheets, covers and blankets. And, of course, how much space you have to move around in.

 

Categorizing Sleep Positions

So how do sleep analysts describe the positions we sleep in? What are the benefits? Why elect for one or the other?

1. On your Back

From the point of view of posture, if all the world were a perfectly soft sleep surface, the best position to adopt would be to sleep on your back with no pillow. This would allow your spine to align perfectly and reduce the chances of waking up with stiffness in your back and neck.

But this position does not suit everybody. If you snore, this position will probably generate more noise due to the alignment of throat and nose. If you suffer from indigestion, you will probably want to raise your head and shoulders on to a pillow.

However, just imagine how smooth your complexion will be when you wake up each morning without spending the night with your skin pressed against the fabric of your pillow.

2. On your Side

Most people sleep on their side in some way, whether they are curled up in a fetal ball or stretched out like a log. It seems that most side-sleepers sleep on their left with their heart down slightly to improve blood circulation.

Doctors would recommend sleeping on your side if you are prone to snoring or if you are pregnant or significantly over weight or if you suffer from indigestion.

One thing you might experience in this position is numbness in your arms or shoulders from the additional pressure on muscles and nerves that you sometimes get from constant pressure on your arms or legs. Waking up to “Rubber arm” or “Pins and needles” can be disturbing.

Because much of the body weight is balanced on your shoulders, this position can sometimes lead to neck and shoulder problems as well. You may need to adjust pillows to combat this.

3. On your Stomach

This is probably the worst position to sleep in from the point of view of your physiognomy. It puts pressure onto the spine and shoulder/neck muscles which shouldn’t really be there. This is exacerbated if you use big fluffy pillows. Sleep analysts would encourage most people with this natural position to look to change their sleep position.

For snorers, however, this may be the best position to try as it can open up your air ways and lower volume!

Can you Control it?

However, can your conscious mind govern your body while you sleep, influencing its position? It’s usually determined by the physical shape and condition of your body and the configuration of your bedding. But you can make gradual changes, use pillow and covers to reinforce the change you want to try. If you have been advised by a doctor to use a specific position, then try to follow their advice.

The position that you find yourself waking up in each morning is probably the one which your body finds most natural – take a note of what your body is trying to tell you.

Why Changing Your Sleeping Position Won’t Always Alleviate Pain

 

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Sleep isn’t always easy. Falling asleep and staying asleep are supposed to be built-in functions that our bodies and minds should just get on with. But there are so many disruptions and distractions in our busy modern lives. There are also physical, emotional, and mental problems that can interfere with a natural sleep pattern. Pain is one of the biggest reasons why sleep can be difficult. Many doctors advise sleeping in a different position, but this might not always be the best way to tackle the problem:

Where Is The Pain?

It makes sense not to lay on a painful sore or blister. In these cases, a different sleeping position takes the pressure off the pressure point. The trouble is, most pain that stops us sleeping well isn’t from a sore or injury. Aching backs and necks are common problems. They’re not always caused by an accident or overexertion. In fact, they might be caused by you laying down! Does that mean you should lay in a different position though?

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Support

What might be a better solution is a bed that supports the sleeping position you are most comfortable with using. Those that suffer lower back pain often prefer sleeping on their tummies. This twists the neck round to the side all night, yet the lower back pain is the biggest disruption to restful sleep. Instead of trying to get used to an unfamiliar sleeping positions, choose a mattress that is designed to help with lower back strain. This will support your preferred sleeping position to offer you the best relief from your pain.

Snoring?

Most of us snore when we’re lying on our backs. Partners might roll us over to get some peace and quiet! Unfortunately, this disrupts our sleep even more! If you’re comfortable on your back and facing the ceiling, then it might be time to address the snoring instead. Lying on your side can restrict the blood flow to some of your internal organs. It can also reduce the effectiveness of your diaphragm. Snoring is a sign of problems like sleep apnea. Most doctors are very good at diagnosing this and offering you a range of treatments to solve this serious problem. Have a check up so you can find out more.

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Limbs

Your preferred choice of sleeping position has probably developed over the years. Sometimes we wake up in a completely different position. You might find your hand or arm has gone numb because you’ve rolled over onto it. Looking after your limbs in bed is important. Sometimes limbs become restless and start to feel very uncomfortable indeed. If you suffer from this, it’s best to see your doctor. Some say stretching and exercise can help. However, if you’re worried about this nighttime phenomenon, see your doctor. In some cases, a change in position might relieve the problem.

Sleeping should be easy and natural, but lots of things can go wrong with our rest patterns. Sometimes a change in sleeping position might help. Try other solutions too. It’s all worth it to ensure restful and refreshing sleep.

Daylight Saving Time is Ending – Are You Ready?

On November 5, 2017 in most of the United States, Daylight Saving Time will come to an end,  On this day, most of us set our clocks back an hour.

This means – YOU GET AN EXTRA HOUR OF SLEEP!!!!!! 

Just kidding, you are probably a parent, which means, you probably do not get to enjoy that extra hour anymore. 

Sorry!  In fact, it may be even more frustrating for you because now your children are waking “earlier” in the morning.  What was once a 6:30 or 7 wakeup, is now a 5:30 or 6 wakeup.  So how do we avoid this from happening?

The Gradual Method

Since you have over a week until the change, you can take a gradual approach.  Just start moving your child’s bedtime a little later every few nights.  I recommend doing it by 5 – 10 minutes every 2 days.  This will not cause your child to become overtired, and they will also hopefully start sleeping a little bit later in the morning.  Of course if your child goes to school, you may not be able to do this by too much.  Figure out if your child can sleep a little bit later in the morning and then adjust accordingly.

All at Once

If your child or children are generally good sleepers, you may just allow them to go to sleep at their normal time on the clock on Sunday night, which would be an hour later than their normal bedtime.  Or you could move their bedtime 30  minutes later on Saturday, then another 30 minutes later on Sunday.  Be careful to not let them get too overtired, especially younger babies and children who generally don’t sleep well.  If they are overtired when they go to sleep that night, they may wake even earlier in the morning and sleep worse at night.

Some Additional Tips

  • Consider Blackout Curtains or Shades – With the time change, the sun will be coming in our rooms earlier than normal so blackout curtains or shades may help with that.
  • Exposure to Natural Light – During the day, make sure you get some exposure to natural light.  This will help reset your body clock.
  • Follow Ideal Sleep Hygiene – These changes are easier when you are or have a good sleeper.  Children and adults who are generally well rested handle variations in schedules easier than those who are overtired.  Here is a post with some general sleep tips : Adults Need Sleep Too

If your child continues to wake early in the morning well after the time change, check out my post to help with that – My Child Wakes Too Early in the Morning

Sleep for Seniors: Tackling Sleep Issues That Come With Age

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Problems sleeping can occur at any age. As some people get older, they can find that they begin to have trouble sleeping when they had no issues before. Many elderly people experience sleep problems, which can affect them and those helping to care for them too. Seniors struggling with insomnia and other sleep issues might end up with a prescription for medication to help them sleep. However, there are other solutions to explore for those who are reluctant to try medication straight away. Whether you’re an older person trying to sleep or you have a relative or patient who needs some help, try these tips.

The Importance of Sleep for Seniors

Sleep is important for anyone because it helps to keep your body and mind healthy. As you get older, it can start to become more important to help you avoid various health problems. Older adults are more likely to experience things like depression, memory problems, nighttime falls, diabetes, and other issues if they don’t get enough sleep. The effects of insufficient sleep can build up, taking a toll on you physically and mentally. You might feel like you can get by on just a few hours sleep, but most people need plenty of sleep as they get older.

Image from Flickr

Understand How Sleep Changes As You Age

It’s important to think about how sleep habits can change as people get older. They can start to experience new things, perhaps getting into new habits even after decades doing the same things. Getting older can cause you to wake up more during the night because you’re no longer in a deep sleep as often. This is because your body produces lower levels of growth hormone and melatonin. So many people find that they turn into light sleepers as they age. Some people might also find that they feel like going to bed earlier and getting up earlier. They might also need to spend longer in bed or take naps during the day to get enough sleep.

Change Lifestyle Habits for a Better Sleep

Making lifestyle changes can be helpful if you or a senior you know is struggling to sleep. There can be various underlying issues that make it hard to get a good night’s sleep. Sometimes people may be unable to sleep because they are experiencing pain or discomfort. This is something you might need to speak to your doctor about to see if they can address it. Other problems might be less obvious. For example, being lonely or not engaging with others often enough can mean that the mind and body aren’t active enough. This might mean that a senior might not be tired or might find it hard to switch off at bedtime.

Assess Diet and Exercise

A lack of exercise or a poor diet can also make it hard to sleep at night. When an older person is finding it hard to get enough sleep, taking a look at their diet and exercise regime is a good first step. Exercising more can tire them out so that they feel ready for bed. Exercise doesn’t necessarily mean having to do anything rigorous. It can simply mean walking, even if it needs to be done with the aid of a walker or similar apparatus. Adjustments to diet could include avoiding caffeine and alcohol. Another tip is to deal with hunger before bed but avoid big meals.

Care in the Home

Many people need some care as they get older because of physical or mental problems, or sometimes both. It can be more difficult to deal with issues to relating to sleep when other health issues are present. For example, people with dementia might be more likely to get up during the night and perhaps try to wander. One thing that might help is care at home during the night. Overnight care from http://cooperativehomecare.com/ can provide extra support for someone who is not sleeping or has had other issues, such as nighttime falls. Some people might benefit from care at night even if they don’t need it during the day. Overnight care is also extremely helpful for family caregivers who need a break.

Better Sleep Habits and Environment

Another issue that can cause sleep problems is a bad sleeping environment, as well as poor sleep habits. You can create better conditions for sleeping to encourage healthier sleep. Firstly, a regular bedtime routine isn’t just good for children. Adults can benefit too, especially if they’re having problems sleeping. Soothing activities before bedtime are also useful, from having a bath to listening to relaxing music. There are also certain steps to take in the bedroom, such as keeping it cool but not cold, and making it dark by removing all artificial light too.

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Embrace Napping

Most older people are unlikely to be working during the day. While this can sometimes mean people struggle not to get bored, it also means you can nap whenever you want. Anyone who feels tired during the day might benefit from having a nap in the afternoon to top up their sleep. However, it is best to keep naps short. If they’re too long, it could make it more difficult to sleep at night. It’s also important to keep naps earlier in the afternoon or perhaps even late morning, rather than too close to bedtime.

Considering Stress

Many seniors may not work anymore, but they can still feel stressed about various things. Stress can make it difficult to sleep, so dealing with it is important. Some tips to reduce stress include doing calming activities or using relaxation techniques. Talking to unload mental burdens is also very helpful for people of all ages. Older people might benefit from speaking to a friend or family member, or perhaps even a counsellor or therapist. It’s also important not to get too stressed about not being able to sleep or get back to sleep. Find ways to deal with the issue instead of worrying about it.

Even though it can be harder for seniors to sleep, there are ways to deal with it. You can help out a loved one if they’re struggling to sleep with some of these steps.