Sometimes parents have been given the advice to keep your baby awake during the day so that they will sleep at night. Does that really work?
It is a false premise to think that making your baby or toddler extra tired will lead to better sleep. The truth is the exact opposite.
When a child sleeps well during the day, it leads to better sleep at night. This seems to be opposite of what we experience as adults. You’re correct; it is different. In a child missing sleep brings biological changes to their body. When a child becomes over-tired from being awake too long, their body releases cortisol, a stress hormone which makes it more difficult for the child to fall asleep. This makes the child fight going to sleep and works against their staying asleep long enough to become well-rested.
It is easy for a child to get caught in an over-tired cycle. They miss sleep which leads to a high cortisol level making sleep more difficult. The child wakes from sleep still tired keeping that cortisol level high. The child will continue to struggle getting to sleep at the next sleep-time.
A continuous high cortisol level leads to a fussy, irritable, yawning, tired baby or a hyperactive, loud toddler who has trouble controlling their behavior and impulses.
Is your child caught in this over-tired and high cortisol level cycle?
There is hope and help to break out of that cycle of exhaustion. Sleep leads to more sleep. It is important to find out what is preventing your child from sleeping and then to address that issue. One cause might be the child does not have the skill to get to sleep without help. It might be the timing of sleep is not in sync with the child’s body.
When I work with a family, I do an assessment of your child’s sleep during an entire 24-hour period. I work with your parenting style to set your sleep goals for your child, put together a comprehensive sleep plan and then coach you to success.
It is possible to get your child well-rested.
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