Jon Tesh was on the radio during my drive home from yoga practice the other day. I was tempted to change the station to something more upbeat and loud (think classic rock or hip hop, yo) but this was during Tesh’s health segment. He had implored his listeners to stay right where they were, especially the ones who suffered from sleep issues. I was curious, since I’m one of those listeners.
After a few minutes of random advertisements (mostly auto dealerships), Tesh was back on the radio, and was sharing various foods that boost the mood. When he talked about the benefits of drinking tart cherry juice, and the effects it has on individuals who have a hard time sleeping, my ears perked up. I’ve tried a lot of get-sleep quick tips and pills, relaxation techniques and routines. Nothing has worked for me permanently, and I’ve decided it’s just my lot in life to exist on less sleep than the rest of the world. Could cherry juice really be the answer?
I have more to worry about than my own sleep woes. My eldest son is entering into the “no sleep” zone. Unfortunately, I think he’s followed in my genetic foot steps where lullabies are concerned, and he’ll tell me about his 2am wake-ups and how he just can’t get back to sleep. He’s also a sleepwalker. Not this kind of sleepwalker:
I was doing the same thing when I was his age. I can’t tell you how many times I’d find myself out of my bed, and somewhere that made no sense.
The first time my kid went on a sleep-induced journey, I didn’t get to bear witness to the theatrics. Long story short, he used the garbage can in the kitchen as a toilet, thinking in his own subconscious mind that it was a toilet. He found his way back to bed, and no one saw him again the rest of the night. He’s steered clear of the garbage can since that first fateful night, but the sleepwalking is still in full swing. And my boy still complains about the late night wake-ups.
I knew it was time to share my own bedtime routines that help promote a restful night. Armed with an artillery of tips and now the added Tesh tart cherry juice remedy, I sat my son down and told him that it was high time we came up with a plan.
Big Guy’s Night Time Sleep-All Routine
1. Go to bed around the same time every night, and wake up around the same time every day. I had to explain to him the importance of setting his own internal clock. If he goes to bed and wakes up around the same time every day, his body will get used to being sleepy when it needs to be, and he’ll wake up more restful when he needs to start his day. I know this won’t work out too well when he’s a teenager, and wants to live like the vampires do, but I think this will work for now. We can always revisit the list later.
2. Don’t look at the clock. Turn it so it’s facing away from you. An insomniac who watches a clock is like a chef waiting for a pot of water to boil. It does nothing but cause anxiety. I never have a clock facing me when I’m in bed. That’s not to say I never look at the time, but I know if I glance that way, bright red numbers won’t be glaring back at me, reminding me of my sleep deprivation.
3. Read a boring book before bed. Nothing that’s super exciting. Something that is relaxing and calming. He asked if he could read a Minecraft book, and I told him that should be fine. Provided there are no endermans or the elusive Herobrine.
4. If you wake up in the middle of the night and can’t sleep, read a boring book. I told my boy he could get up, turn on the light and read more of his boring book. “Even if it’s at 2 in the morning, mom?” Yes, even if it’s at 2 in the morning. If he’s awake and tossing and turning, might as well do something that might relax him and get him back into sleepy-time mode.
5. The magic cherry juice. This is a new one for me. I’ve never tried cherry juice, and we both decided we’d embark on the cherry juice journey together. Why not? It might work because of it’s melatonin properties, or it might work because of the power of suggestion. Either way, it doesn’t hurt to try it. Cherry juice has a lot of added health benefits and is known to be one of the top antioxidants out there.
On my latest grocery trip, I purchased a bottle of pure tart cherry juice. It has to be tart, because tart cherries contain the highest levels of melatonin. You mix two tablespoons with either water, or juice. My son chose apple juice, and I followed suit. It was pretty tasty! We did this roughly an hour before his bedtime, and he’s been following the new bedtime routine for a few days now. I think it’s too soon to say whether it’s helping or not, but it will be interesting to see what the outcome is. If he’ll sleep better, and whether this will cut down on the sleepwalking.
As for me? I had another rough night where sleep was concerned, and this was after drinking the cherry juice. However, it wasn’t the cherry juice’s fault. There was a bit of a storm going on outside, and I can never sleep through one of those. Something hit the bedroom window shortly after 4am, and I knew I was screwed.
Any sleep solutions or remedies you can recommend? What works for you? Have you tried cherry juice, and if so, any results you can share?