Sleep SHOULD NOT be underestimated! If we don't get enough sleep, we're more irritable, less productive, and just all around not a great person to be around.
The same goes for the children and families that we work with.....
Sleep is the number one thing that I ask my clients about!
If a child is behavioral and is not getting quality sleep, the solution may just be to improve their sleep hygiene. I've worked with multiple families that make changes to their child's sleep hygiene and the behavioral concerns all but disappear! It truly is magic!
Learning and teaching sleep hygiene can benefit not only the clients and families that you work with, but you as well!
Sleep is a basic need and if you aren't getting enough of it, you most likely aren't the best counselor that you can be. You are a much better therapist and support to your patients when you get a solid's night sleep!
There are so many ways to improve sleep but today I want to focus on one that isn't talked about as much and that is why it's important to only use your bedroom for sleep!
I can't be the only one who eats cookies and watches TV in bed right?!
However, using your bedroom (particularly your bed) for anything other than sleep is not the best idea.
This creates an association that your bed is for things other than sleeping. This, in turn, makes it that more difficult to go to sleep at night.
Let me set the scene. I'm snuggled up in bed with my blanket, a warm cup of tea, and my laptop writing a blog post about sleep (totally meta!!). I get to a good place to stop writing for the evening, snuggle in, but then can't go to sleep! I keep thinking about the blog that I'm writing, the funny gifs that I'll use, what I'm going to have for breakfast tomorrow and la da da da da!
However, if I associate my bed for sleep and set clear boundaries for doing work at my desk, it'll be much easier to fall asleep at night.
Believe it or not, the same goes for children going to their room for punishment.
When a child is sent to their room due to getting in trouble, they then associate their room with "being bad," getting into time out, and overall being reprimanded. This makes it even more difficult for a child to go to sleep at night when their thoughts and feelings go to "that bad thing they did."
Instead, encourage your families to send their child to a neutral space, such as a step on the stairs or laundry room, if they use time out or taking a break as a form of discipline.
I hope this quick tip helps improve your own sleep and the sleep of the children and families that you work with!
Until next time, Play On!
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