Tips to help your incarcerated child get a better night’s rest

If your child is incarcerated, it’s normal to feel helpless. You want to do everything you can to make the situation easier, but it isn’t always easy when you’re on the outside.

Writing your son or daughter and visiting them regularly are two easy ways to show your love and support. You can also send money for commissary or encourage personal growth through reading and study.

However, to achieve the best quality of life possible, your child needs to be able to get a good night’s sleep. Unfortunately, many inmates struggle to do this.

It’s well known that a good night’s sleep has an effect on mental and physical health, so when people are unable to get the rest they need, it negatively affects their wellbeing. The problem is, people who are incarcerated are dealing with worries, lack of freedom, feelings of guilt and uncomfortable sleeping conditions. The good news is, there are some tips you can provide your child with to help them rest more easily.

First, encourage your child to start journaling. Journaling can be a powerful way to work through uncomfortable emotions. It can also make daily struggles like depression, anxiety and guilt easier. If your child can write their concerns down on paper, the worries will be less likely to haunt them when they’re trying to rest.

Second, encourage your child to participate in activities that reduce stress. Everyone is different, but there are several ways to do this, from slow breathing exercises and meditation to praying or reading scripture. These and other activities can relieve tension and make it easier to rest come nighttime.

Third, encourage your child to eat a healthy, balanced diet. Stimulants like caffeine are more likely to keep them up at night. If your son or daughter enjoys soda or coffee, encourage them to drink these beverages early on in the day. Your son or daughter may also want to cut back on junk food. Chips, cookies and crackers are fun, and they provide a taste of home, but they can also lead to stomach upset, and in turn, poor sleep.

Fourth, remember that exercise is beneficial for the mind and body. Endorphins that are produced from exercising can provide a positive mental boost. Encouraging your son or daughter to keep a regular fitness routine can help them rest easier, as long as high-intensity workouts are avoided right before bed.

It’s heartbreaking to see your child behind bars. Providing your child with tips like these can assist them in their time of need.

[Monalisa Johnson is a licensed and ordained minister of the gospel and a certified life coach as well as a mother and entrepreneur. In no way is anything that she writes, speaks or shares considered medical advice or clinical therapy. Consider all that you receive to be life coaching and guidance.]

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