Sleep – many people view this as a luxury….it is not. It is a necessity…let me share with you why.

By Lisa Gargaro Sleep Co –  Sleep Consultant

Many parents I speak to often tell me about how they feel guilty about the feelings and need they have with regards to them wanting their babies or children to sleep. The main question I get asked is “if my baby needs to wake up so many times during the night, then why can’t I wake up & handle it?”

While the fact will always remain, you are inevitably going to have to go through the period of your newborn when you will just have to get up to feed your little one. There is, however, a time when you can expect your baby to start sleeping better. The “time to start sleeping better” is not only directed by mum’s wishes (which is, of course, is a nice added benefit); it is an essential and necessary for the development of your little one.

I ask you to take a moment and just think of yourself…how do you feel when your baby wakes up three times a night? Now ask yourself, “Why do I think my baby does not feel the same?”  I understand they are still much cuter while looking so much better than what we do. (this being due to their youth). They, too, struggle and feel terrible after a poor sleep. In all honesty, they will be worse off due to the fact they need to be having almost double the number of hours of sleep in 24hours than we need.

So let’s take a moment to look at some of the reasons why sleep is a necessity for your little one:

  1. The first and most obvious reason is that both you and your baby will be in a better mood. Mums that I have worked with have all noted how this has had a significant view of how they see their baby. It can completely change how they feel when both parties have been sleeping well. All of them said that they found their baby to have a much better temperament. They were much more approachable.
  2. Simply put, they felt their baby was generally less likely to be cranky, which stopped most of the crying throughout the day after having had a good night’s sleep. The same can be said, a well-rested toddler. Parents have found that their toddler was much more able to be in control their emotions and found that they found them to be thinking a lot more before throwing a tantrum.
  3. During sleep is the time when children grow, when they are sleeping! Research shows that it is during sleep that we excreted the growth hormone. You can see this yourself on occasion. You can notice a difference in your child the next day that they have grown during the night. Many parents have observed and see this growth and learning that occurs during sleep. For many babies, they are very restless and are quite active while they sleep.  An appealing thought is that generally, babies spend so much time sleeping. It has a significant impact on their development – so I put to you, where will your kids find time to learn how to walk and talk if you do not allow them to practice it in their sleep?
  4. Sleep can also have a considerable influence on your child’s weight. The great thing about all these studies happening more often means more and more is it has allowed us to gather the essential results and evidence we need to help people better understand the impact on their health and well-being. The main one being that a lack of sleep is closely linked to obesity. These weight problems, can in turn, lead to heart problems.  I see daily the effects of ill-sleep in a variety of ways. A most common example is a fussy eater toddler. When I ask the parents to cut out the night-time milk feeding, they almost instantly start eating better. Solid food eating gets better due to the night feeds no longer essential. It is also due to a well-rested baby being able to start eating and drinking better because they have enough energy to so.
  • Having better sleep protects us from becoming sick. It is during sleep that our body produces a protein called cytokines. Our body depends on this to help combat infection, illness, and stress. We as adults now this is true, as we all know how we are more irritable, becoming more prone to anxiety and disease when we have not had a good night’s sleep.
  • Getting enough sleep helps to have a better attention span, meaning increased learning. Interestingly, it has proven to help attention problems. Attention problems such as ADHD and lack of sleep have got very similar symptoms. The great news is that in the research in recent years, it has highlighted sleep analysis to become an integral part of diagnosing ADHD and related conditions. By creating better sleep, attention becomes better with improved memory retention and assists in learning.
  • Getting enough good sleep has also proven to lower the risk of injury. Even adults. Do you know pilots have to sign documentation to show that they have had eight hours of sleep before they are allowed to be operating a plane? In children, we also note a difference with them to become clumsier. Make more mistakes with their movements when they are not sleeping well and are well-rested.

These are a few of the benefits of sleeping, going far beyond you, just feeling better.  Anybody, but parents especially, should know that sleep is not a luxury, and its defiantly not something you should feel guilty about wanting. Simply put – it is a necessity to being healthy. To ensure your little ones to grow up healthy, reaching their full potential.

Please contact me if you require help with your child or your own sleep. I do work with all ages.