There’s nothing to compare to the level of frustration you feel when you’ve just spent an hour rocking, shushing and soothing your baby to sleep, only to put her down in her crib, silently tiptoe out of the room, and then hear her start to fuss again. 15. Minutes. Later.
Why, when babies need so much sleep, do they seem to wake so frequently and have so much trouble going back to sleep afterward? The reason is actually not all that complicated, and I’m happy to tell you, neither is the solution.Rather read than watch? Click here.
You know, I can remember when my first son was a newborn. My husband developed something he called the three-tier system, and that was basically however long it took to rock our son to sleep, and he was not easy to rock to sleep, I’ll tell you people, so half an hour later, he’s finally asleep, in my husband’s arms, and he would go to the crib, and he said the three tier system started with, you know, some gentle rocking here, right, for a minute or two.
Now we move to tier two, which is a little closer to the crib, and we do some rocking here, and then tier three is right above the crib, and we were doing a little bit of rocking here, and then as gently as he possible could, sliding those hands out slowly, backing away from the crib, as quietly as he could, all in the hopes that the child would remain asleep.
And this, I’m going to explain to you why this happens, but for a lot of new parents, this is like pull your hair out frustration, because if you make it to the door, even if you make it out of the room, it doesn’t last very long, does it?
It lasts 20 minutes if you’re lucky, or 45 minutes. And there he is, awake again, right? And you just think, why? Why won’t you stay asleep? Why? I’m gonna tell you why, I know now why, 15 years later, I have figured out why.
So when we fall asleep, you have to think about this. Like, think way back in time, sort of the evolution of the human species. We would need to be aware of our environment on some level, wouldn’t we? We can’t go into a coma every time we sleep, or we wouldn’t have made it as a race. We’d be like eaten, or predators, or our enemies would have got us.
Sleep is actually a little bit absurd when you think about it like that. Basically, we’re vulnerable, all animals and humans alike, we’re vulnerable when we sleep. We’re basically asking out bodies to be vulnerable for eight or nine hours every single day.
So on some level, we need awareness. We need to know, hey did we hear something funny? And especially when we have children, most people say their sleep awareness heightens, because they’re kinda always keeping one ear open, do my kids need me for any reason?
So when a child is in your arms asleep, and you transfer them to a new location, it doesn’t last very long, because of that awareness piece. Imagine if you fell asleep on the couch, and then somehow sensed that you were no longer on the couch, imagine how alarmed you would be by that.
You would fly awake. You would just shoot yourself awake, because you’d be scared. Like, you were asleep on the couch, now you don’t feel like you’re on the couch anymore, you sense that you’re somewhere new. Where am I? And you realize that you’re in your bed, and you think how did I get here, right? How did this happen? And you’re going to investigate, get up and figure out who moved you, and why.
And that’s what happens to babies. On some level, they’re aware that they’re no longer asleep where they were, and if you watch a baby when they kind of realize this, they often, their eyes ping open, their arms usually shoot out, if they can sit or stand, they usually go right to that position as soon as they open their eyes, because they’re alarmed.
They don’t know what’s gone on here, is basically what they’re saying. And they usually start to cry right away. So that is why, okay? So my advice is, let’s have them fall asleep in the same place they’re gonna be when they have any kind of a wake-up. And if you’re wondering, “How do I possibly do that,” I would encourage you to pick up a copy of the Sleep Sense Program, because I basically walk you through every step of the process of teaching a child to sleep independently in the same place they wake up, every time they have a little naturally-occurring wake up, they’re gonna realize, oh yeah, I know where I am, everything’s fine, and go back to sleep.
Thanks so much 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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