How to Achieve the Right Quantity and Quality of Sleep for Your Baby
When it comes to baby and toddler sleep one of the most common misconceptions is that if you keep them up all day, they will sleep all night. For every parent who’s tried that we know it’s not true. Sleep begets sleep and when there are large chunks of sleep consistently missing from your child’s day or night, he will run the risk of developing a sleep debt and becoming chronically overtired. Suddenly short naps, bedtime battles, and frequent night wakings rears its ugly head and all due to consistent lack of sleep.
One of that main goals of sleep training your child is to make sure they are on an age appropriate schedule that allows them to achieve the right quantity of sleep. One of the best ways to catch up on lost sleep is with an early bedtime. Babies get their deepest sleep in the first half of the night before midnight. Going to bed at 9:00 or 10:00 pm isn’t allowing them to take full advantage of that super restorative sleep in the early hours of the evening. This simple change in their routine can be just the fix needed in allowing your baby to fall asleep easier and stay asleep more restfully throughout the night. It’s also a great way to start chipping away at any existing sleep debt your baby may carry.
The quality of sleep your child has can be just as important as the amount of sleep they are getting. If sleep is happening at the wrong times it isn’t doing that much for your child other than getting them to that next nap or bedtime. The sleep debt still exists because the sleep they are getting isn’t proper restorative sleep. In order to erase some of that debt you must synch your child’s sleep to when their natural sleep rhythms are preparing their body to sleep.
Once you are on a great age appropriate schedule with an early enough bedtime you can be sure that the sleep your child is getting isn’t just a good quantity, but it is quality sleep as well. When your baby has resolved his sleep debt and has topped up his sleep bank, you can make the odd withdrawal here and there in the form of a missed nap or later bedtime. When we are dealing with a well-rested baby you can make that lunch date to catch up with friends, or visit the in-laws with naps on the go without the mega meltdowns or sleepless nights for the whole family.
Erin Oliveira is certified Sleep Consultant and mother of an out-going, smart, and funny little girl. She has a university degree in Early Childhood Education and has spent many years working with small children. Erin offers free sleep advice on her Facebook Page www.facebook.com/GoodNightSleepSiteDurham and her Website: www.goodnightsleepsite.com.durham