Time Change Coming

Time Change Coming

winter time changeYippee (sarcasm inserted here) we have a time change this weekend! We will find ourselves moving our clocks ahead an hour. So if your child usually wakes up at 7 am the clock will say 8 am!!! You will look at the clock and smile but realistically it does not mean much 🙁

There are a few things you can do; however, you first have to decide if you are okay with the morning wake time.

If you are happy with the new wake time then do the following:

1. Naps will occur after the proper amount of wake time. This will make it seem like naps are now on hour later then they were the day before the time change. It is the clock playing tricks on you.

2. Bedtime will be one hour later then usual.

3. Maintain this new schedule.

If you are not okay with the new wake time then do the following:

1. Wake your child at the desired wake time. Expect your child to take a few days to adjust to being woken up.

2. Naps at the proper amount of wake time.

3. Plan for bedtime to be a the regular time which may feel like an hour earlier to your child. It will take time to adapt.

4. Be patient as this will take at least a week for your child to adapt to the time change.

The third thing you can do is go with the flow and adjust with your child as their bodies adapt.

This is most likely what we will do. I will put on my big girl panties and by patient with the little man while he gets used to the clock changes.

The final and most important thing is that you do not stress out!!

As with everything related to children, the calmer you can be the easier the transition is.

 

Take Care and Happy Sleeping!!

The Colour of Noise

The Colour of Noise

We often hear of the effect white noise can have on you or your child’s sleep. Who knew there are other colours of noise?? Not me. My guest blog post today is from the amazing Jerylin Gan, Ph.D. about the colours of noise.


Have trouble sleeping?  A toddler who wakes whenever you accidentally step on that creaky floorboard?  Just hate the sound of those damn chipper little birds at 5 am?  Then someone’s probably recommended playing white noise in the background.  Maybe in the form of a fan, a mp3 of a waterfall, or one of those sleep sheep stuffed animals that plays a heartbeat as well.  

From my experience, white noise is wonderful.  Both my kiddos and husband will wake at the drop of a hat.  But you know what I’ve found works better for me?  Pink noise.  That’s right.  There’s more than one colour of noise!  There’s white, pink, brown, gray, and violet noise (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colors_of_noise).  The difference between the colours is how loud certain frequencies are.  Low frequencies sound low to human ears; high frequencies are higher pitched.  “Noise” is when you play a lot of frequencies at the same time.  White noise is when all frequencies are played at the same volume.  Pink noise is when lower frequencies are played slightly louder than the higher frequencies.  Brown noise is when lower frequencies are played a lot louder than higher frequencies.  

And though it’s hard for most people to tell the difference between the different colours of noise, they’ve been shown to have different effects on people.  I like this article: http://www.soundhawk.com/blog/white-pink-or-brown-which-noise-helps-you-sleep-better about noise color and agree that it is a personal experience.  What might be soothing for one (e.g. the sound of a vacuum to my friend’s baby) might sound awful to another individual (e.g. the sound of a vacuum to me).  So experiment!  Try https:jerylin//simplynoise.com/ to see if you like white, pink or brown noise.  See which noise might help you sleep better.  See which noise will help you concentrate on a task!  

Jerylin Gan, Ph.D.

You may wonder who is Jerylin Gan, Ph.D.? Well, let me fill you in. Jerylin is currently an amazing stay at home mom with a passion to ensure her children are getting the much needed rest they require. Jerylin has a BA in Molecular and Cellular Biology from UC Berkeley, PhD in Neurobiology and Behavior from the University of Washington, Seattle and she did further training at Cornell Medical School. She is my go to person when looking at the science behind a number of studies we see popping up on social media.

7 Tips to Improve Your Child’s Sleep Tonight

7 Tips to Improve Your Child’s Sleep Tonight

During my practice as a sleep professional, I’ve gotten used to people asking me what the secret is to getting a baby to sleep through the night.

Of course, there is no ONE secret. Teaching a child healthy sleep habits is a combination of lots of different things.

But that doesn’t mean that there are not some shortcuts!  Today I’d like to share with you 7 different shortcuts you can start trying over the next few nights to get your child sleeping better.

Here we go:

Sleep Shortcut #1: Watch the waking hours

One of the BIGGEST enemies of sleep is over tiredness. Many parents are surprised to learn just how soon their children get overtired. Here’s a quick guide to how long your child should be awake between naps during the day:

  • Newborn to 3 months: 45 minutes to 1 hour 15 minutes of awake time
  • 3-5 months: 1.5-2 hours of awake time
  • 6-8 months: 2-3 hours of awake time
  • 9-12 months: 3-4 hours of awake time13 months to 2.5 years: 5-6 hours of awake time

If you make sure that your child is put down for naps BEFORE they get overtired, you will find that they fall asleep more easily at naptime AND that they are more relaxed at bedtime, too.

Sleep Shortcut #2: Don’t Be Afraid Of The Dark

We humans (babies and toddlers included) sleep better in the dark. Try making your child’s room as dark as possible. I recommend using blackout blinds, taping cardboard over the windows, or whatever it takes. In many cases, even the glow from a nightlight or a digital alarm clock can be enough to disrupt your child’s sleep cycle.

BONUS TIP: Try to keep your child’s room as dark as possible during daytime naps, too. This can often make a BIG difference in how long your child will nap during the day.

Sleep Shortcut #3: Be Predictable (And A Little Boring)

Babies and toddlers love predictable routines. And a predictable bedtime routine, lasting no longer than 45 minutes, is a great way to let your child know when the time for sleep is coming. Make sure that this routine is the same every single time. Remember, you want bedtime to be as predictable as possible for your child.

After your bedtime routine is complete, be boring. Lots of children will try to drag out bedtime by playing games, throwing toys out of the crib, standing up, etc. Don’t participate. If your child has thrown their blanket or favorite stuffed toy out of the crib, calmly return the item without saying a word.

Sleep Shortcut #4: Feed AFTER Naps, Not Before

The most common reason they infants and toddlers struggle to sleep has to do with a feeding-sleep association. They think that they need a bottle or nursing BEFORE they can fall asleep. By feeding right after nap-time instead of before you can help your child break this feeding-sleep association.

IMPORTANT NOTE: This strategy should only be used before naps, not before putting your child to bed for the night. A full tummy is needed to make sure your child does not wake up hungry during the night.

Sleep Shortcut #5: Same Place, Same Time

Remembering that our children love predictability, so it is a good idea to have your child sleep in the same place every day. For many parents, simply changing WHERE their child naps during the day causes a big improvement in the length and quality of nighttime sleep.

BONUS TIP: When you are putting your child to sleep for the night, it is a good idea to make sure that they fall asleep where you want them to stay asleep.

Sleep Shortcut #6: Try The 1, 2, 3 System

When your child wakes up during the night or during a nap and starts crying or fussing, try to wait a specific length of time before going in to check on them. The first day you try this, I recommend waiting exactly one minute before going in to check on your child. On the second day, wait two minutes. Three minutes on the third day, and so on. Why?

Why? Everyone, babies and toddlers included, will wake up briefly at the end of each 45-minute sleep cycle. Most adults wake so briefly that we do not even remember it in the morning. But children who have not learned to fall asleep independently need a little longer.

This 1, 2, 3 System gives your child the opportunity to get themselves back to sleep without your help.

Sleep Shortcut #7: Take Five

Before you put your child to bed, for naps or at nighttime, make sure the five-minute period before they are put to bed is very calm and relaxing.

The Next Step?

Like I said, these are shortcuts and quick tricks that may help some parents get their children sleeping through the night.  I do hope that you will be one of the lucky parents who is able to solve their children’s sleep problems using one of these tricks. If not I am also here for you if you need a little more guidance. Feel free to contact me, brenda.mcsween@gmail.com.

Does White Noise Help Put Baby to Sleep?

Does White Noise Help Put Baby to Sleep?

Hands up if this sounds familiar…. Your fussy baby finally falls asleep for her afternoon nap and you sit down for a much needed moment to yourself only to hear a car with a broken muffler roaring down the street. Just like that, Sleeping Beauty is wide awake and mad NOT a good combination.

Or maybe you live in the country and you’re awoken at dawn by a wailing infant who has adorable (but ridiculously loud) birds chirping outside her window.

Environmental noises are a fact of life that you can’t do much about; but, there IS something you can do about your baby’s ability to sleep through the noise. In my experience, white noise machines can be a lifesaver when it comes to helping babies fall asleep and stay asleep.

There are lots of options out there. You can get sound machines in most department stores, drug stores, and online.  You can also use things you may already have in your home.  For example, we use a fan pointed away from our son.  We keep the fan on all year long.  And although it might seem unnatural to create noise when you want your baby to go to sleep, remember: it wasn’t exactly soundproof in the womb!

Your child is actually quite used to noise by the time he’s born because he’s been listening to you talk, your stomach gurgling, and the sound of the family and the TV and the car radio while in utero.

Believe it or not, complete quiet can actually be more confusing to a newborn than background noise.

One of the biggest benefits of the white noise machine is that it helps babies fall back to sleep if they wake up. This means their nap times will last longer and they will be less likely to fully wake in the night.

The main concern parents have about trying this is usually about their child becoming addicted to white noise, and that’s a valid point.

My experience is that there’s absolutely no need to worry about this. White Noise machine IS NOT being used as a sleep prop like a soother or being rocked and sung to. It’s there to block out noises that you can’t control that might be waking your child.

Personally, I still use white noise for myself and our 3-year-old.  If I do not have white noise on, my sleep is more interrupted.

If you want to wean your child off the white noise machine, simply turn the volume down a little every night until you’re not using the sound at all.  If you want to wean your child from the fan turn the speed of the fan down then slowly move the fan out of the room.

If you have more questions about your child’s sleep feel free to call 403-652-7111 to seek your free 15-minute consult.

Happy sleeping, everyone!

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