My Philosophy of Better Sleep
A Well-Rested Family is a Happy Family
When it comes to our children’s sleep, we all have different beliefs and feelings. As with most things related to our little ones, we’re very careful – maybe even a tad paranoid! That’s completely good and natural and helps us keep our children safe and sound.
But one thing is not debatable – good sleep is absolutely crucial for our health and our happiness. Poor sleep can contribute to all kinds of problems, including obesity, a lack of concentration and productivity, serious health problems (including stroke and heart disease!), depression, a weak immune system, and negative emotions. When it comes to children, good sleep is also linked to healthy development.
In other words, good sleep is one of the most important parts of our lives and it’s not something to be taken lightly. This is the basis of my philosophy and the backbone of everything I believe about sleep.
How We Achieve Better Sleep
Like most things worth achieving in life, good sleep sometimes takes a bit of discipline and consistency. But it’s easy to get in the habit of short-term solutions, like co-sleeping and constant soothing. As parents, we’re willing to do whatever we need to make sure our little ones can get the sleep they need – but sometimes our good intentions backfire.
Before you know it, your child can’t put herself to sleep – or back to sleep after waking up – meaning you always have to be there to help her along. While there’s nothing intrinsically wrong with that, it can really start to take a toll on both you and your baby. Both of you might be waking up frequently throughout the night or struggling to fall asleep in the first place, meaning you aren’t getting enough consolidated, restorative sleep.
The solution to this is to address the problem at its source. Oftentimes, that comes down to an overreliance on parents’ or some kind of external prop – feeding to sleep, rocking to sleep, etc. The problem with these strategies is twofold:
First, it’s only delaying the problem. Eventually, your child will need to learn to sleep well independently, and the longer you wait to make that transition, the harder it will be.
Second, relying on these strategies can make it very difficult for you to sleep yourself, which not only makes it hard for you to stay happy and healthy but also makes it difficult to be as attentive as you need to be as a parent.
That’s why, as a sleep consultant, my goal is to help you adjust your child’s sleep to be more independent and consistent. Once you can achieve that, most of your problems will be solved.
The Question About Crying
One of the most controversial topics around sleep consulting is the issue of “crying it out.” Some think that Sleep Consultants suggest you allow your child to cry endlessly to fall to sleep, which is definitely not the case!
The most important thing when teaching independent sleep skills is to look at the whole picture and to be 100% consistent.
No matter how you approach changing a baby’s sleep, protesting by way of crying is usually a part of the journey. When beginning to teach a baby independent sleep skills, they are sometimes confused by the changes and to voice that confusion and subsequent frustration they protest via crying. Baby is allowed to have these feelings but is completely capable of working through the emotions and calming themselves to go to sleep. A big part of this process and journey is respect for those emotions and offering reassurance to them to know they are not alone and that they are ok.
If you’d like to learn more about my sleep philosophy, get in touch today!
ABZ Sleep Consulting services families from Guelph, Kitchener-Waterloo, Cambridge and Worldwide!