…naps are an essential part of our child’s overall sleep health
Category: Healthy Sleep
stopped making New Year’s Resolutions some time ago. I’m not sure when it happened or why. It wasn’t a conscious decision, put perhaps a realisation that I never managed to maintain my resolutions, so why bother? At Thanksgiving, I began reflecting on all that had transpired this past year; I watched my darling baby girl grow in her first year, planned a wedding…twice (thanks Irma), graduated from the Family Sleep Institute and launched my sleep consultancy business. It was busy, too busy at times but wow, look at everything I’d accomplished! So fueled by this “can do anything” energy, which is not one I’ve experienced often, I thought I would take a stab at creating some New Year’s Resolutions. If you’ve ever worked for a large company, in an office type environment, you’ve likely heard of S.M.A.R.T. goals. For those who don’t, I’ll save you the google search. S.M.A.R.T. stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely. The purposed of this strategy is to ensure that the goals you set will be achieved. I love applying this method to goal setting because it prevents me from creating lofty goals I have no chance of accomplishing. I spend my days advocationg for children’s sleep, yours and mine, yet my own sleep needs are low on my list of priorities. Considering the year that lies ahead; raising two under four, continuing to grow my sleep business, finalizing wedding plans, and actually walking down the aisle, I think it’s time sleep was bumped to the top of the list. Good quality sleep, as I preach, is an integral part of our well-being, and without it, that list of to do’s I just mentioned, doesn’t stand a chance. With that in mind, here are my S.M.A.R.T. resolutions for 2018. Goal: To incorporate better sleep habits to improve my overall quality of sleep. Objectives: No screens one hour before bed (off by 9pm) In bed by 9:30pm, 10pm on weekends (I have little kids!) Lights off by 10pm, 10:30pm on weekends (reading only, no screens) 8 hours of sleep per night…min. 7 Goal: Establish healthy eating habits for life through planning and preparation Create weekly meal plan (Friday) Make shopping list & purchase groceries (Saturday) Prep breakfast, lunch and snacks for the week (Sunday) Set calendar reminders for the above So those are my resolutions for 2018. What are yours?
Drowsy but awake – The key ingredient to healthy sleep If you have ever researched infant sleep, you’ve likely come across the term “Drowsy but awake”. This refers to the concept of placing baby in their crib in a drowsy state but NOT asleep! Babies, like adults, switch between sleep cycles, Non-REM and REM, throughout the night. As we switch sleep cycles we experience partial arousals. An adult may realize their pillow has fallen to the floor and retrieve it, or adjust their blankets and fall right back to sleep. This is where things get tricky for babies. Not all infants have the skill to fall back asleep after these partial arousals and will cry out, signalling for help. So how do we help them learn this new skill? By placing baby down drowsy but awake, and giving them space to practice soothing themselves. Each baby has their unique way of self-soothing. Some like to rub their heads side to side, others will suck their fingers or thumb and if old enough, they may roll around to get into a comfier position. Another important reason to place baby down drowsy but awake is so that when they do experience a partial arousal, they are reassured by the familiar environment around them. When we place a baby down completely asleep, they wake up wondering “Where am I? Where did those warm arms go?” Imagine falling asleep on the couch and waking up to find yourself in bed! I would be a little freaked out too. ; ) So when should you start placing baby down drowsy but awake? As early as two weeks! The newborn sleep fog is starting to lift and baby is experiencing more wakeful periods. Like mastering any skill, practice makes perfect. Begin with once a day, giving baby a minute or so to practice self-soothing. They may fuss a bit and that’s all part of the learning process. If fussiness increases, go in and comfort them however feels best. A newborn’s sleep is so important to the incredible development taking place in their bodies. It must be protected at all costs, which is why this is a practice period. Self-soothing may not happen immediately but soon enough your baby will amaze you with their new skill and you’ll be beaming with pride! Need help teaching your little ones how to self-soothe? Contact me to schedule your free 15 minute consultation. Let’s help them sleep better, together!