If you’re not familiar with the term, a sleep debt is the cumulative effect caused by going multiple nights without enough sleep, and it’s aptly named, because it’s got to be repaid. Today, I’m going over the telltale signs that will help you identify if your little one is currently in arrears.Rather read than watch? Click here.
What tends to happen is that people push themselves and push themselves and their debt grows and they get more worn out and the body doesn’t have enough time to repair and fix the immune system in the way that it needs to and we get ill. We get a cold or we get the flu and that forces our body to relax, sleep more, catch up on some of that debt and then continue on. When you look at all the adults you know in your life, we are almost all operating on some level of debt. I mean, I try to be really protective of my sleep because I need to practice what I preach but a lot of people do not and they really abuse that, so a lot of people are carrying a debt.
But how does that translate into children? Same thing. Every child needs a certain quota of sleep in a night and let’s say it roughly ten to twelve hours. It’s more than an adult, I’ll tell you that much and if they’re going to bed and only getting eight or nine for a couple of nights in a row, then their debt is going to collect. Okay, so how do you know if your child’s running on a debt? There’s a couple of really clear tips. One is if your child falls asleep in the car or in the stroller, within two or three minutes of being in the car or the stroller, they most likely are operating on a debt.
Unless of course, it’s an actually scheduled nap time and you’re planning we’re going to walk for your nap today, then that’s different but if it’s not nap time and every time you get her in that car seat, she’s out, then she’s operating on a debt. Same thing if your child goes to sleep at bed time and falls asleep like that. A minute or two and bang, they’re out. People who are in debt or chronically overtired tend to fall asleep very quickly. Lots of people tell me they’re asleep the minute their heads hit the pillow, then I know you’re operating on a debt because the average person who is well rested, not in debt, takes at least five minutes and often more like fifteen to actually fall asleep.
Your body does need a little bit of time once you get to that bed to kind of settle in and let sleep come naturally. Five minutes is really the minimum that we’re looking for as far as debt goes. Okay, so how do you improve upon a debt if you’re carrying one? The good news is, if you start to regulate your schedule so that you’re going to bed at the same time every night and you’re getting up at the same time every morning, within about four weeks, your body will have paid off the debt, be functioning well. You’re going to feel better than you’ve ever felt. I know weekends are tempting because you like to stay up late and sleep in but that’s really not good for our body clock. That’s really not the way it was designed.
The good news for kids is, most kids go to bed at bedtime. My kids are in bed at eight, lights out at eight thirty and they wake up at seven AM, even on weekends. This happens, I’m pretty strict about keeping that going for them because I know that’s the way their bodies need to work. Have a good look, honestly most children need at least an hour more sleep than they’re getting and that’s just statistics that I’m talking here. Most children are missing at least an hour so just even try adding an hour of nighttime sleep to your child’s schedule. Stick to it for four weeks and you will find that that debt goes away, she’s not falling asleep in the car every time you get in and then you can feel really good about the great quality sleep your child’s getting. All right, thanks for watching today. Sleep well.
If your baby, infant or toddler is having trouble sleeping through the night, help is just a click away! The Sleep Sense Program has helped over 57,00 parents to get their kids sleeping 11-12 hours through the night AND taking long, restful naps during the day. If you’re ready to get started today – I’m looking forward to helping you!
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