Posted on: 8 January 2015Share
Do you have a child who has recently moved away to college? Are they reporting back home that they're having trouble sleeping at night? If so, they aren't alone. According to Brown University, a whopping 18 percent of males and 30 percent of females experience insomnia while attending college. The high instances of sleep deprivation can be attributed to all-night study sessions interfering with their circadian rhythm, environmental factors such as light and noise, or simply the stress of being away from home and all that they are familiar with.
You know that getting enough sleep is a crucial element to your kid's health and well-being, but what can you do to help? You can mail a special nap-sack to your college student that includes everything they need for a good night's sleep. Here's what to include in your gift of slumber.
Chamomile tea contains volatile oils and flavonoids that work to calm nerves and relieve stress in the body. These benefits, combined with its pleasant aroma and nutty taste have made the tea a go-to insomnia cure for centuries.
If your child is allergic to chamomile or happens to dislike the flavor of it, look for a caffeine-free tea that contains passion flower, valerian root, or magnolia bark, all of which are known to promote relaxation. Avoid any tea with griffonia on its ingredients list -- while this herb will make your kid sleepy it can also cause an onset of nightmares!
Instruct your child to have a hot cup of tea 15 to 30 minutes before going to bed.
A Bottle Of Bubbles
It sounds silly, but your college-aged kid might just benefit greatly from this throwback to their childhood. Successful bubble-blowing requires a slow, deep breathing pattern -- the same breathing pattern your child should be practicing when they're trying to drift off to sleep.
Suggest that your college student blow a few bubbles while they're drinking their bedtime tea and that they take note of how they're breathing while they do so. Ask them to try to maintain that breathing pattern after they have gotten into bed.
The Right Set Of Sheets
According to WebMD, your brain desires cooler temperatures while sleeping than it does when you're awake. Sheets made of synthetic materials trap body heat in, allowing the temperature under the sheets to rise and rise.
Send your child some sheets made of cotton, bamboo, or any other natural material. These breathable fabrics will allow them to maintain a more comfortable, steady body temperature while resting.
Their Favorite Cookies
It's never a good idea to eat a large meal before going to bed, but if your child has a big appetite, having a small bedtime snack is recommended. In between meals, the human body produces a hormone called ghrelin. When too much ghrelin builds up, it signals the brain that the body is hungry and needs to eat.
If too much time passes between your child's last meal of the day and the time they wake up in the morning, they'll likely be awoken by pesky, high ghrelin levels.
The body slows down the digestion process at night, so your child should avoid protein-rich bedtime snacks; however, a small portion of carbohydrates like a cookie or two should provide plenty of fuel to keep those hormone levels in check until the sun comes up.
While insomnia is often temporary, chronic cases can lead to devastating health consequences, such as depression, obesity, diabetes, heart attack, and stroke. Loss of sleep can also increase your child's risk of having an accident and lead to decreased academic performance.
When gathering up the supplies for your college kid's nap-sack, include a sleep journal and ask them to keep track of their sleeping patterns. If, after receiving your package, your child continues to report that they've been having trouble falling asleep, not sleeping at all, or waking frequently during the night, have them contact a sleep disorder specialist to seek professional treatment for their sleep disorders.