Okay, parents. Let me know if this sounds familiar. Your precious new bundle of joy wakes you up regularly throughout the night to be cuddled or rocked or fed back to sleep. You do it willingly because that’s what you think parents should do. When you finally drag yourself out of bed in the morning you are bleary-eyed and can’t seem to form a coherent sentence until you’ve downed a giant vat of black coffee. Somehow you manage to get yourself showered and put on some clothes that aren’t stained with spit-up. You get your baby into her car seat and then spend 20 minutes looking for your keys. You are so tired that you don’t move when the light turns green until someone behind you honks their horn. You wander the aisles of the grocery store in a fog and bring home bread and a box of cookies when you had actually needed butter and laundry soap.
This can be a pretty typical day for a new mother living on baby’s schedule. Jokes are made about it, there are even t-shirts and mugs that parody the “mommy brain” that plagues so many of us. And of course some sleepless night are bound to happen, especially when you first get baby home from the hospital. But after a while, it’s not really so funny anymore.
In fact, sleepless nights can actually contribute to many common accidents and tragedies that are, sadly, preventable. How are they preventable? By using sleep strategies to make sure you and your child are getting the crucial sleep you need every night.
We know that lack of sleep can impair our brain’s ability to function properly. There is a lot of evidence to support this, including studies done at the Department of Psychology’s sleep research unit at the University of Turk in Finland that concluded sleep deprivation seriously impairs our attention, our memory and our ability to decision-make and be vigilant. But we all know this firsthand, as well. If you are a high-powered executive, being exhausted at work will make it a lot harder to solve problems and to stick with your train of thought in the board room.
It’s no different being a mom, and the stakes are just as high.
The scary truth is, researchers at the Center for Accident Research and Road Safety did a study that showed that many new mothers suffered from “postpartum drowsiness,” and admitted that they had made driving mistakes because they were tired. These mistakes could include speeding without realizing it, going too slow or failing to come to a complete stop at a stop sign. This is not something to be taken lightly, because 15-33% of fatal car crashes are related to driver fatigue.
And if you don’t need convincing that YOU should get more sleep, sleep-deprived children are more accident-prone too. It only makes sense. If your cognitive ability and motor skills are compromised, you will not be able to function at your best. “A tired child is an accident waiting to happen,” claims Dr. Carl Hunt, director of the National Center on Sleep Disorders Research at the National Institute of Health says. Kids climbing on playground equipment, riding their bike or even running and playing could be much more likely to injure themselves when they’re tired.
I’m not trying to scare you here. But I am giving you even more reasons to get on a sleep plan and stick to it. Sleep is something to be taken seriously, and it is not a given that every parent should be a totally exhausted zombie, or that children should be waking up every hour on the hour.
Your family deserves to sleep well. For the health and safety of all of you.
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Certified Sleep Sense Consultant Tips From The Field
Toddler Sleep Setbacks With A New Baby
1. This is very normal! Your toddler has just realized that it is no longer all about him. The new baby is here to stay and is taking some attention away from him. If change is tough for adults, it is twice as difficult for toddlers, who can neither control their world, nor express how they feel about it. Be sensitive to this and be sure to spend lots of one-on-one time with your toddler during the day.
2. Boundaries, boundaries, boundaries! Children feel secure when they have clear boundaries, so whatever you do, NEVER negotiate over sleep! You may have to get tough on the rules, and it may take two weeks or longer, but devise a plan and stick with it. Consistency will get results.
3. Add rewards and consequences. Toddlers respond very well to rewards, so be sure to immediately reward your toddler for following the rules. But also make sure there is an immediate consequence for not following the rules. After all, you know your child better than anyone, so figure out what his “currency” is, and incorporate that into your sleep plan.”
Interested in learning more about becoming a Certified Sleep Sense Consultant and earning a great income on a flexible schedule that fits with YOUR family?
Give The Gift Of A Good Night’s Sleep!
Just in time for the holidays, you can now order The Sleep Sense Program for any tired parents on your gift list!
Each card has a unique access code on the back, and your recipient just needs to log onto my website from any computer, tablet, or smartphone to access The Sleep Sense Program!
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