Early on during our pregnancy, my wife and I decided sleep was a “battle” that we really wanted to win. The fact that we were having twins made sleep quite important for us, and we knew there would be added challenges since we were having two kids at once. We joined a local twin group, and as a bonus there was a guest speaker giving a talk on children’s sleep. The speaker was Wendy Hall, PhD, RN who has done a great deal of research and work on sleep issues for infants and toddlers. We have seen her two times and have followed her suggestions and had a great deal of success in doing so.
I have found a YouTube video of Wendy giving a talk very similar to the ones that we sat in on and thought it was worth sharing. The problem is that the video is 1:10 minutes long and I know that finding that kind of time can be pretty tricky. In this post I have created a breakdown of the topics covered in the video with timestamped links to points in the video where she covers major topics, to try to make it easier to find information on the issues you are most concerned with. If you can find the time, I highly recommend watching the whole video. Let me know what you think of the points made by Wendy and if you have any ideas to contribute to the topic of sleep.
Why is Sleep Necessary?
- Sleep is essential for developing brains and bodies
- Increasing rates of children’s emotional and behavioural problems are linked to sleep problems
- Children with ADHD have higher incidences of sleep problems and shorter sleep duration
- Sleep loss is implicated in childhood accidents
- Children have paradoxical reactions to inadequate sleep
- Children who are over-tired will find it difficult to relax, struggle against going to sleep and have more disrupted sleep during the night
What is Sleep About?
- Based on circadian and homeostatic (sleep pressure) processes
- Circadian rhythm incorporates cues from the environment to regulate timing
- Sleep pressure is relieved by daytime naps and nighttime sleep
- Sleep cycles (time 5:50 – 9:45) Important
What Does Sleep Look Like in Children?
- Tired cues (time 9:45 – 10:51) Important
- Sleep in newborns (time 10:51 – 12:33)
- Sleep in infants 2 to 12 months old (time 12:33 – 13:44)
- Feeding, night waking and dream feeding (time 13:44 – 16:23) Important
- Don’t feed before sleeping for 5 – 12 months old (time 16:23 – 16:59) Important
- Toddlers and preschoolers (time 17:22 – 18:54)
- Wakefulness at night (time 18:54 – 20:11)
What Are Sleep Promoting Strategies?
- Consistent routines (time 20:11 – 22:00) Important
- Bed is for sleeping, not playing or timeouts (time 22:00 – 22:17)
- Caffeine and stimulation such as play or television (time 22:17 – 24:36)
Sleep Problems and How They Can Be Managed?
- What is a sleep problem? (time 24:36 – 27:21)
- Dyssomnias: trouble falling or staying asleep (time 27:21 – 31:19)
- Self soothing, object permanence and attachment (time 31:19 – 34:27) Important
- Limit-setting problems: older children (time 34:27 – 36:26) Important
- Assessing type and severity of sleep problems (time 36:26 – 38:35)
- Parasomnias: Interrupt sleep after onset (time 38:35 – 41:55)
What Are Some Effects of Sleep Problems?
- Co-sleeping (time 46:00 – 48:38)
- 3 yr old waking up and coming to parents bed (time 48:38 – 50:20)
- Giving rewards (even water) in middle of night to go back to sleep (time 50:20 – 53:13)
- Child with active imagination/hard time shutting down at night (time 53:13 – 58:54
- Active schedules that interfere with sleep schedule (time 58:54 – 59:50)
- Developing good sleep patterns (time 59:50 – 1:01:57)
- Eliminating naps during the day (time 1:01:57 – 1:05:15)
- When to transition out of a crib to a bed (1:05:15 – 1:10:14)