Top Tips for Sleep Success
Sleep - something you never knew you could miss so much! Here are some brilliant sleep tips for parents, from Karen, of Asleep At Last...
A little about me
I’m Karen Miller, mum to two little girls age 3 and 5 and I spend my time parenting and running my business Asleep at Last, you can find out more about my services at www.asleepatlast.co.uk. I found the sleep deprivation with my first daughter shocking, when she hit the 4 month sleep regression (a progression in the way they sleep which can see babies suddenly start to wake every 2 hours at night and 40mins during the day) she was unsettled all night long and I was getting about 3 hours sleep total each night.
With my second, I made sure I read all the books and was determined not to make the same mistakes, but that all went out the window when she had reflux. So again, I went back to the books and the internet and did everything I could to get her to sleep. I learnt so much I ended up helping friends and family with their little ones and really enjoyed it. I did some research into how I could make this a career and found there were courses that you could do to become a sleep consultant and the rest is history.
My thoughts on how to get more sleep as a new parent
Make it a priority!! Don’t accept that sleepless nights are a certainty you just have to endure. After the chaos of new-born days are over it’s never too early to get a routine in place. Babies thrive on routine but more than that babies need to sleep just as much as we do for their development and further down the line their behaviour.
Avoiding the dreaded overtiredness makes all the difference in how well your child naps and so how well they sleep at night. To do this, find out what their ideal awake windows are for their age and stick to those like glue. Yes it’s boring and repetitive and will take some commitment to establish but if you can do this it will pay off hugely by promoting healthy sleep habits for life.
Focus on establishing a bedtime routine, which will come once you implement the awake windows. Many of my clients end up with bedtimes that are too late and so not age appropriate. This can lead to overtiredness which will cause night wakes and early morning wakes. Babies from newborn age do well with an early bedtime of 6/6.15pm, it’s a great thing to establish from a young age as it means you get a few precious hours to spend with your partner or to go to bed early yourself!
Give them the chance to settle themselves, many of the sleep associations I help remove for my clients are there because they never gave their baby a chance to settle themselves in the early days. Babies can self settle from 16 weeks so at this point, hold off rushing to them when they wake and you may just find they don’t really need you at all. If you do have sleep associations you want to remove, find a settling method, follow it consistently and you’ll soon teach them to self-settle which means they won’t look for you at each wake – yes, the dream of sleeping through the night is actually possible from this young age.
Most of all be consistent and patient, it can take time to make changes and implement new structures. Babies go through so much change in the first two years of life but if you put the work in at start to implement healthy sleep habits they will more easily come through those difficult periods without it disrupting their sleep patterns too much. Be kind to yourself and remember you are just as important as your child, sleep deprivation is very closely linked to depression so ensuring you get the sleep you need is an important part of self-care and ensuring you can be the best parent you can.
Certified Baby Sleep Consultant working with newborns though to children age five.
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