Sleep is one of the most important elements to human survival. It is not wasted time spent doing nothing; instead, it is crucial time that the body needs to repair itself. During sleep the brain files away the day’s activities, regulates bodily functions, strengthens the immune system, and repairs muscles.
Sleep helps to regulate bodily functions and in adults it has been shown that losing sleep can lead to health problems. A 2006 Institute of Medicine report found that sleep deprivation in adults can lead to hypertension, depression, heart attack, stroke, obesity, diabetes, and hormone imbalances. In fact, sleep deprivation leads to depression, lack of motivation, slow reaction times, less attention to detail, foggy thinking, irritableness, and the reduction in ability to keep attention on tasks. Next time you feel irritable or can’t focus, get into bed earlier that night and most likely your condition will change!
So, you can imagine how sleep deprivation can affect babies or children. Especially when they are exhausted but don’t know how to go to sleep by themselves! They only know that they feel miserable and the only thing they can do is cry. That’s why giving babies and children the right cues and predictability will help eliminate over-tiredness that leads to crying.
Tips to get your baby or child sleeping through the night:
Watch the amount of time your baby or child is awake.
Here’s a quick guide to how long your child should be awake between naps during the day:
Newborns (0-12 weeks): 45 minutes of awake time
3-5 months: 1.5-2 hours of awake time
6-8 months: 2-3 hours of awake time
9-12 months: 3-4 hours of awake time
13 months to 2.5 years: 5-6 hours of awake time
Be Predictable (And A Little Boring)
Babies and toddlers love predictable routines. And a predictable bedtime routine (lasting no longer than 30 minutes) is a great way to let your child know when the time for sleep is coming.
Don’t Be Afraid Of The Dark
We humans (babies and toddlers included) sleep better in the dark.
These tips will help set the stage for better night time sleep! Any change takes time to adapt to so give any new change at least a week before seeing results. Happy Sleeping!
Courtney Landin, owner of Living Healthy Happy. Visit her website for more information. Because Living Healthy = Happy!
About the Author: Courtney Landin spends her days juggling work, life, and family therefore, she’s an expert at trying to find time to get enough sleep! She’s on a quest to achieve balance and share her findings with other moms.