July 15, 2018

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Three Key Factors For Better Sleep, Even Without Sleep Training

Deciding to teach your child to fall asleep on there own is a big decision with many different factors coming
into play. One of the most important factors is whether you have sufficient time in your schedule to be
consistent with bedtime for at least 14 days consecutively. During the summer this can either be an
ideal situation or it can be hard to follow through with many nights out, backyard barbeques and
warmer weather keeping us out.
Even if now isn’t the perfect time to start sleep coaching, there are some things that you can do to
improve sleep in the meantime. These key components to sleep can help your child, at any age, fall
asleep better at bedtime and sleep in longer in the morning. They can also prevent unnecessary night
wakings.

Secure Attachment
The need to feel comfortable, safe, connected and loved is a vital component in begin able to fall asleep
for both children and adults. A child feeling connected and safe stems from the attachment and
relationship that develops in all children by means of loving interactions with parents. These loving
interactions are regardless of parenting style. Positive daytime interactions carry over to evening and
night and promote good sleep.
It is important that at bedtime, you as a parent be calm and have a few minutes to connect with your
child. Have a predictable bedtime routine that has positive interactions such as cuddles, a story, and I
love you’s. If it has been a hectic day and evening, it can even be a good idea for you as a parent to take
a minute to calm and relax prior to engaging in the bedtime routine. A calm parent will translate into a
calm child which in turn will promote better sleep.

Bedroom Environment
The best environment for anyone to sleep in is a dark, quiet and cool space. So take inventory of where
your child is sleeping. Do you have blackout blinds? This is important during the summer months at
both bedtime and morning time. Our body is naturally programmed to be awake when the sun shines and
it is bright. So ensure you block out that 5am sun with some good blackout blinds.
Although we may instinctively feel that our children are cold, layering up the blankets, sleep sacks and
pjs isn’t always the best practice. We all sleep best in a cooler environment and during these warmer
months if you don’t have air conditioning at home, or it just doesn’t get the bedroom cool enough, think
about lightening up on the layers or purchasing a sleep sack with a lower TOG value.
It is also important to keep the location of where your baby falls asleep consistent with where you want
them to sleep through the night. For example, if you child falls sleep in your bed, twirling your hair,
during the night he will be looking to replicate this environment and routine to get back to sleep. It is
best to teach your child to fall asleep in their bed at bedtime. Bedtime is the easiest time to teach or
coach a new sleep skill.

Timing
Getting the timing of bedtime right can be half the battle. Having a child at bedtime that is overtired or
who have stayed awake too long between nap and bedtime can cause it to be more difficult for them to
fall asleep, more middle of the night wake ups and also be a cause of early rising. Watch your child’s
sleep cues and respect their natural wakeful window. Pushing the amount of time they are awake will
only cause overtiredness. Remember being overtired can cause difficulty falling asleep, fragmented
sleep cycles, night waking, lighter sleep in the early morning hours, and waking up too early in the
morning.

So even if the summer months aren’t the perfect time for you to start coaching your child to sleep on
their own, monitoring these three key factors could start to give you some night time relief. If on the
other hand the summer months are an ideal time for you to get started but you aren’t sure how reach
out to Family Bliss for a free 15-minute consultation and leave what the best sleep package for your
family would be.

For the most part children adjust to the new time within a week, but some will take longer. Most babies and toddlers will adjust to the time change quickly, but for others, it can take weeks, especially for those sleep sensitive ones. Don’t panic, stick to your consistent plan and things should work themselves out. Of course, if they don’t, you can always contact Family Bliss for help!

Visit www.familybliss.ca for information on sleep consultation packages or more sleep tips on managing the time change.

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