There is lots of information going around about child sleep, and not all of it is true. Here are 5 common child sleep myths that can be put to rest.
1. Some babies sleep straight through the night
All babies wake multiple times a night, but you would never know if they can put themselves back to sleep unassisted. We all wake very briefly between sleep cycles, but we often don’t remember theses brief awakenings because we go back to sleep fairly quickly. We can help our children get more consolidated sleep if we teach them how to go back to sleep without parent intervention.
2. The more tired a child is, the better they will sleep
When children become over-tired, their bodies release a stress hormone called Cortisol, which actually makes them more awake and makes it more difficult to fall asleep. This hormone can stay in the body for several hours, and it can cause more night wakings and early morning wake-ups.
3. The later a child goes to bed, the later they will sleep in the morning
You may think that the later a child goes to bed, the later they will sleep in, but the opposite is true. Children will often wake at the same time as usual because their internal clock is set to wake at that time. If the child is up too late and becomes over-tired, cortisol can remain in the body several hours, often causing even earlier wake-up times.
4. If a child is fighting their nap, they must not need one anymore
A child may fight their nap due to a vacation, an illness, a visit from relatives or just a small change in their routine. They may also fight their nap because they are going through a developmental milestone like standing or walking. If the child misses their nap, bedtime needs to be a little earlier to make sure they stay well rested, otherwise they may get over-tired and fight their nap even more. If your child is fighting their nap, make sure you still provide an opportunity to sleep, and leave them for at least 1 hour to help re-establish the nap.
5. Sleep training means I have to let my child cry for hours
Sleep training is a way to change a child’s sleep behaviours and develop healthy sleep habits. It can involve changing a routine, or changing expectations around sleep. There are many ways to sleep train a child and not all of those methods require long periods of crying. Simple things like changing the sleep environment, the routine or the sleep schedule can help your child develop healthy sleep habits.
Need help getting your child into healthy sleep habits? Visit http://www.babyzzz.ca/ or call 647-970-2402 to find out how we can work together to get your whole family sleeping well.