Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The Sleepless Generation

Check out this interesting article, The Sleepless Generation, on the importance of good sleep habits in children. While I don't agree with everything, I think the author hits the nail on the head in that many of our children are just overtired, and so are the parents.

h/t Danielle Bean for the link


Mary Alice said...

Interesting. I consider myself to be pretty good about sleep, but I definately fall into the trap of later bedtimes on weekends that are not made up with extra naps, in fact they often miss naps on the weekend as well, no wonder Monday always seems like a tough day!

Also, I am always concerned about studies that show things that might be corrollary rather than causal -- for example, less sleep in preschoolers and ADD/aggression -- perhaps a child who already has a chemical imbalance is harder to settle for sleep?

I love sleep, though, and it was a huge lesson for me to read Dr Weissbluth and learn how much sleep affected my kids behavior -- that was when I realized that my postpartum issues were mainly about sleep (not that all postpartum issues are, but mine are :)

AR's & J's mama said...

Can you tell us a little bit more about Dr. Weissbluth? Is there a good "sleep" book out there? We have struggled with our 2 year old, but finally have gotten to the point where we go upstairs, do our routine (pjs, teeth, read, pray, sleep) and are able to walk out of the room with her still awake, no crying. It took some long nights of crying, reassuring, etc. but it's the best thing we ever did b/c prior to that, we were having to spend hours in the room until she was asleep. Then we would sneak out. :) Now I am having issues with my 4 month old. We had gotten to the point of sleeping 6-7 hours, which I consider a huge blessing...but in the past few weeks, we are starting to go backwards...first it was up once in the middle of the night, now we are up to two. Maybe it's just a growth spurt, but I've noticed my frustration levels/lack of patience with my 2 yr old and husband rise significantly with the less sleep I get. I am all in favor of a good book/recommendations if you have any! Thanks! a.

Right Said Red said...

Mary Alice,

I've never read Dr. Weissbluth, maybe you want to do a post about him sometime? Or you can loan me the book and I will ;-) I'm almost finished with my long Russian novel!

Cranberry said...

Check out The Baby Whisperer books, by Tracy Hogg. She is amazing at helping parents to teach their children healthy sleep habits, in gentle loving, respecting your kid as a child of God kind of ways. She was all about showing how lack of sleep can often be the cause of many problems, for babies all the way to adulthood.

k said...

I am a big weissbluth fan as well. He is a bit heavy in the statistics side of things, so bring some good skimming skills, but in general his principles are spot on and I find myself referring back to him when I need support on sleep issues.

Obviously knowing your child and your needs are the best, and he does provide some flexibility to work with what your family is doing (for example I knew that I couldn't do a "gradual fade" with my kid, he just ramped right up when he saw me, so we went cold turkey...hard but still the best thing that happened to me in a long while...nothing like leaving the room and not tiptoeing)

His book is Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child and having read about 6 sleep books it is still my favorite.

B-Mama said...

I'll put another "aye aye" out for Weissbluth's Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child. It is really an amazing book.

I will also second Cranberry's recommendation of The Baby Whisperer by Tracey Hogg. I think she does an excellent job of navigating sleep training with grace. I've found this is a softer version of Baby Wise, another sleep training book.

I plan to read both again before our third child is born in August. And you better believe they will remain perched on my bedside throughout the little one's first year of life. Godsends, they are!!

Juris Mater said...

I think it takes having kids who are well-rested regularly to be able to see the importance of sleep. This article makes a good point. It's such a delicate line--we miss naps or stay up too late, and I SERIOUSLY pay the piper the next day or two, like you pointed out, MaryAlice. But I do think many, many people don't experience this, because they don't encourage (force!) sleep, and their kids have been sleep-deprived since birth. Moms around town often say I'm just lucky to have all 3 kids still napping simultaneously in the middle of the day and still going to bed around 8pm. And then they complain that their own toddlers/very young kids(who "dropped their naps at age 1") are screaming and clawing their own eyes out by 5pm. It's no mystery to me.

Weissbluth's token line: sleep begets more sleep. Love it! Who wouldn't want their kids sleeping, and then sleeping some more : ) Quadruple ditto on recommending this book... I've probably read it through 5 times and it's my constant go-to.

Mary Alice said...

Have you ever been to Disney World? At about 2pm, any toddler still in the park is either asleep in a stroller or having a total meltdown. Even kids who are used to not napping find the combo of long walks, over stimulation and poor nutrition to be too much for their systems. When you seeing it happening en-masse like that you can tell that the ones who are sleeping are much better off, and so are their families! Also, so many poor parenting choices are made to placate over tired kids, using food especially, so it is just a vicious cycle.

B-Mama said...

Mary Alice, so funny you should mention Disney World. When GG and I went there for a brief visit following his return from Iraq (no kids yet), we were *astonished* at the number of families with really young kids trying to have a good time (but hopelessly failing)! We vowed then never to take napping-age children to the park... ever! It's just not worth it for anyone!

k said...

My new personal pet peeve is kids who are out WAY past what should be a normal bedtime.

Twice this month my husband and I have splurged and gone to a movie and then out for a quick snack-like dinner before heading home. It was around 9:30 both times when we headed in to one of those bigger chain restaurants (like PF Changs or On the Border) and there were people sitting down to eat with toddlers!

We would have a quick drink and an appetizer and be out of there by 10:15 to get home by our bedtime :) and folks would still be there. I'm sorry, that means your getting to bed by 11pm. No surprise these kids were totally off the wall.

This just makes me so angry because then people are shooting dirty looks at your kid and it is not THEIR fault that they are overtired and miserable.

It just makes my blood boil. We have special nights when we make exceptions and maybe my son doesn't go to bed until 9-9:30 but these are really special occasions not a simple meal out. Grrrrr.

B-Mama said...

I feel really sorry for the kiddos who I see out at the grocery store with their parents late at night. Now, I realize some single mothers and fathers have no choice but to drag their children out after a long day. But what really gets me is when both father and mother are there TOGETHER, dragging the children out and about past 10pm. Poor, sleep-deprived babies!

Have I mentioned I'm a late night grocery goer?