This post is for adults and children, because I hear the same thing from both of them. “I can’t fall asleep, I’m not tired!”.
This will sound crazy, but one of the most likely reasons for not feeling tired and not being able to fall asleep, is that you, or your children are actually overtired. When we become overtired, our bodies produce cortisol, which is a stress hormone. It gives children what we call a “second wind”. So one minute your child was calm and you thought “Let’s start the bedtime routine, they seem tired.” Then, you’re trying to brush their teeth and they are running around the house or getting very agitated and crying. The same thing happens with us adults (except hopefully we are not running around the house or crying!) Once we are overtired, it is harder for us to fall asleep, and we are more likely to wake during the night and earlier in the morning. So, if you can’t fall asleep because you are not tired, you may actually have to go to sleep earlier, not later.
Another reason why you may not feel tired at the time you should go to bed (adults need, on average, 7 – 9 hours of sleep at night) is because you haven’t prepared your body for sleep. When we are ready for sleep, our body produces melatonin, a calming hormone. Darkness is a signal to our body to produce melatonin. So when we are in bright lights and then try to fall asleep, it is difficult to do. Electronics inhibit our bodies from producing melatonin. So using smartphones, laptops, tablets, and even television before bed makes it harder for us to fall asleep. These things may trick us into thinking we are not tired, so we stay up later, and then become more overtired, making it harder for us to fall asleep, making us then think we are still not really tired. And yes, these same bright lights affect children as well. I recommend dimming the lights and turning off electronics around an hour before bed.
So if you are always feeling you are not tired, or your children are complaining they are not tired, make sure you have a relaxing bedtime routine. Dim the lights, turn off the electronics and start relaxing before you should be asleep. Also, make sure you are not going to bed too late.
Will you try it? I’d love to hear if you do for yourself or your children!