Make Sleep a Priority in 2017

I hope 2017 will be a year of great sleep for your whole family. I don’t know what your goals are for 2017 but I hope they include making sleep a priority as it is a necessity for health and happiness.

Elizabeth sleeping

I meet and talk with families who are struggling with sleep. Lack of sleep brings many problems to your life because it is essential for the health of our bodies – for both parent and child. The body has a whole list of tasks it needs to perform while you are sleeping. Lack of sleep interferes with the function of almost every body system which is why we crave sleep.

Children’s bodies do not respond to the over-tired state the same way adult bodies do.
When a parent is overtired, it becomes extremely difficult to stay awake. When a child is overtired, it becomes extremely difficult to go to sleep.

It is best to prevent your child getting to the over-tired state because they will then fight going to sleep which can turn into a long bedtime battle. Babies can tolerate only a limited amount of awake time before they tip into that over-tired spot. Newborns can handle being awake for about 45 minutes. The length of time they can stay awake will gradually increase as they get older. I teach parents how to watch the clock and watch their child for sleepy signs to know when to get him or her asleep.

For toddlers, early bedtimes lead to fewer bedtime battles and a better-rested child.
Bedtime for toddlers and pre-schoolers should be at 7:00 or 7:30 PM. Their biological body clock is set for an early bedtime. No, we cannot adjust their body clock to the time we want it to be. Their body clock is internal and set by sun exposure to their eyes. When toddlers sleep according to their body clock, it will lead to a better rested and happier child.

I hope you choose to make sleep a priority in 2017. It is the best choice for the health of your child and yourself.

Helping Babies Sleep

Arlene Fryling

Arlene is a registered nurse and certified sleep consultant for children 0-5 years. She has cared for premature, sick, and many healthy babies. For over 15 years she has taught expectant parents how to care for their newborns through classes teaching basic baby care, infant massage classes, and moderating support groups for new moms as they deal with parenting issues.

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