What do you do when your child comes to you hours after bedtime, sobbing, to tell you that he’s been lying awake all this time in the dark, unable to sleep? That happened to me last night, which is why I missed a day of posting.
Comfort and reassurance only released a more wrenching round of sobs, which fortuitously flashed me back to late nights many years ago when this same child woke me with the horrible, barking cough of croup. I remembered the miraculous effect of cold night air on small inflamed bronchi and decided the same kind of mild shock therapy might work in this instance.
It was a lovely, clear, crisp night with a slight breeze, so I suggested that we sit on the front porch for some fresh air. It felt brisk and refreshing; our eyes widened at the change in lighting and the tension left our bodies as we breathed deeply of the cool night air. In a nutshell, it worked. We felt chilled after several minutes and decided to go back inside, but the nippy darkness had done the trick: we felt relaxed, restored, and well-oxygenated, three states highly conducive to sleep.
I may start stepping outside every night just before going to bed.