Here's two significant reasons a good night’s sleep can fail you:
* Stress. It could be that you are analysing and reflecting on the day’s events or planning and preparing for what tomorrow holds.
* Or it could be as a result of a little human being, sometimes there’s more than one and they need you at all hours of the day and night.
I hope I can provide help with both of these situations in this blog, but if nothing else, please remember that sleep issues can be resolved and you will one day, get to sleep eight hours straight once again!
Flower Essences and Sleep Disturbances:
Australian Bush Flower Essences can help tackle sleep problems too. For example, if a new sibling is on the scene or you have moved house and you think sleep issues can be related to that, the Bottlebrush essence can be helpful. It is also a good essence if you find the child sleeps well for a few nights and then regresses. Bottlebrush is featured in Belly Bandaid, Potty Potion and Calm Your Farm.
Something else to consider is that some children are very, very sensitive and not only can pick up on your feelings, but also other energies present in the room. Maybe the energy relates to people who lived in the house previously, or even visitors who were there that day. Space Clearing Essence comes in a mist only and when sprayed can help clear negative and psychic energies, create a safe, harmonious environment and allow one to feel still and reflective. Plus it has the most gorgeous smell! I always mist my clinic with this before preparing any flower essences. My daughter will often smell it from another room and will come in just to enjoy the fragrance.
I clearly remember after what seemed like years of not getting more than a handful of hours sleep a night, my children were all sleeping through reliably, yet I couldn’t sleep more than a couple of hours at a time! Bush Iris Essence can help re-set the body clock and help you back in to normal sleeping rhythms. Great for shift workers. This is a key Essence in my very popular Sweet Dreams.
Sweet Dreams also helps to quieten the mind, release any thoughts pre-occupying the mind and assists with promoting peaceful, restful sleep.
And while you can use Calm Your Farm for an unsettled baby, you can also dose yourself if you are feeling frazzled and overwhelmed from fatigue. Or use the Calm & Clear Skin & Space Mist to spritz in your child’s room to help you keep calm and relax your baby. This combination contains Black-eyed Susan which can assist with the impatience you may feel when you child won’t sleep. If there is a tendency to lose control, Dog Rose of the Wild Forces in Emergency Essence will assist with this feeling.
Exhausted parents can take Rocket Fuel each morning to help them feel refreshed and ready for the day.
Homeopathic Remedies for Babies and Children:
With very young babies, colic or digestive issues can often result in a disturbed sleep. It’s a big deal to go from swimming peacefully in the womb without a care in the world, to having to work for your tucker by sucking, digesting it, and then excreting what you don’t need. Chamomilla is a good place to start as it has a very calming effect. The baby who needs Chamomilla is irritable, needs to be held and is very fussy. This remedy and can relieve pains in the tummy as a result of gas, especially when the infant draws his knees up to his stomach.
In the case where you think teething is causing the sleep disturbance, Chamomilla can help here too. Otherwise consider Calc Phos for the teething child who can be anxious and needs lots of attention, dislikes routine and has difficulty falling asleep, and then screams in their sleep. Also especially helpful when the child is in a growth spurt and tends to suffer tummy aches, headaches, leg pains and cramps. They have trouble getting to sleep and then find it hard to wake up in the morning.
For nightmares consider Aconite when there is an acute fear caused by frightening dreams.
Arsenicum if the child wakes between 12am and 3am restless, fearful or anxious from dreams or nightmares.
Calc Carb may be helpful when the nightmares and dreams are of monsters, especially in children who are stubborn, tend to grow quickly and can be sweaty (particularly about the head and feet).
Does your child wake to the slightest sound? Sulphur may assist in this case, particularly if the child sleeps in catnaps, wakes unrefreshed and has vivid nightmares.
The remedy, Phosphorus can be helpful if the child is fearful of storms, the dark, ghosts and the unknown.
For the baby or child who can be easily over-stimulated, try Kali Phos. This remedy is a nerve tonic and is great when exhausted by stress, study, overwork or over-stimulation. It supports the nervous system and can be used in conjunction with other remedies. Our first born was often easily over-stimulated, and while we could identify it then when he was a baby, it took us a long time to realise that we needed to quieten his nervous system in order for him to turn off his imagination, sleep soundly and wake refreshed. Kali Phos was pivotal to that, along with other remedies used under a professional’s guidance.
Sleep Affected by Stress, Grief and Worries:
If grief, stress or anxiety is affecting your sleep or disturbing your child's sleep, try:
Aconite – acute insomnia with anxiety, fear and restlessness, especially when present after a shock, fright, bad news or grief.
Arsenicum – anxious, fussy people who fret about every little thing, stopping them from falling asleep. Restless despite weariness and exhaustion.
Cocculus – dizzy and exhausted from sleep disturbance. A great remedy for parents! Also helpful in the case of jet lag and shift work.
Gelsemium – anxiety relating to an upcoming event, keeping them awake. Also applies to business men and women who experience restless nights and awaken early in the morning and worry over their business affairs.
Ignatia - sleeplessness after shock, emotional stress and grief.
Nat Mur – disturbed sleep by stewing on disagreeable thoughts.
Sleep Problems during Pregnancy:
When sleeplessness affects you in pregnancy, Aconite can help if it’s as a result of fear, anxiety and restless thoughts. Coffea if you are sleepless from joy, or Nux Vomica if it’s from mental strain or over-indulgence in food.
For Parents & Carers Affected by Lack of Sleep:
As a parent or carer, if you are finding your lack of sleep from tending to your children debilitating, there are three homeopathic remedies that can assist:
Cocculus – feeling dizzy, exhausted, hollow feeling.
Sepia – irritable, fed up, dragged down, want to run away.
Nux Vomica – irritable and relying on coffee and stimulants to get you through.
Other Sleep Tips:
Getting to the bottom of sleep issues often requires perseverance and in many cases, trial and error, not to mention all the exhaustion that comes with it. I urge parents to trust their intuition and observe their baby/child closely. Here are some other tips that I’ve tried and tested that may help you:
* Examine your child’s diet (and your diet if you are breastfeeding) – look for intolerances, additives that change behaviour, etc. Maybe eliminate sugar in your child's diet after a certain time in the afternoon/evening. I know of a baby who would have night terrors every night that he was given dairy - in this case yoghurt or custard for dessert.
* Consider a chiropractic treatment, bowen therapy or a massage to help their little bodies to be aligned and work as optimally as possible, to grow and become strong.
* Look at the bedtime routine – try and make it as calm and as organised as possible.
* Ensure your child is getting enough sleep throughout the day (if still napping) as skipping naps can often cause young children to become overtired, overstimulated and more likely to experience sleep disturbances, including night terrors.
* Monitor the temperature - babies and young children will have disrupted sleep if they are too hot or too cold.
* Relaxation music/meditation CD's – there are so many around these days and may help your child to unwind.
* Make a dream catcher with your child using craft supplies – get them involved in the activity, all the while telling them how it will look after them and make sure they have only happy dreams.
* Get your child to close windows and lock doors before they go to bed, so they KNOW it is safe.
* Talk to your child to try and put the pieces together – it may take a few chats over a few weeks.
* Empower your child to feel safe and secure – give them strategies of what they can do if they feel uneasy (eg. come into Mummy and Daddy’s room, hug their teddy, put their music on, call out for help, etc)
* Investigate the possibility of environmental toxins or intolerances that may be disrupting your child’s sleep.
* Loan books for the local library relating to sleep.
* Keep talking to other parents or relatives as they may have an idea you can try.
I honestly have tried every one of these suggestions over the years to varying degrees of success. While I hope I have provided you with some remedies you can try, or some tips to take on board. I believe every problem you encounter happens to teach you something about your child and something about yourself as a parent. So with that, just hang on tight and try and enjoy the ride!!
For more information regarding individual remedies relating to sleep disturbances, check out this factsheet.
1. Owen, J. (2010). Homoeopathy for the home prescriber. Western Australia, AUSTRALIA: QDirect.
2. White, I. (2009). Happy Healthy Kids. From conception to age 7 with Australian Bush Flower Essences. Crows Nest, NSW: Allen & Unwin.
This blog is not intended to replace the service of a qualified practitioner. Any application of the recommendations set forth in this blog is at the reader’s discretion and sole risk.