Sleep Myth #6: Every time my baby wakes overnight, s/he must be hungry - FALSE!
Babies who wake during the first few months are more likely waking from hunger, but older babies (over 4-6 months) who wake frequently (every 1-2 hours), may not be waking from hunger. Ask yourself whether your baby can be soothed in other ways. Also, ask yourself whether your baby is going to sleep from an awake state at bedtime (without being nursed or rocked). This is the first step to longer stretches at night. *Discuss with your baby's doctor how many night feeds they need in that 10-12 hour stretch at night.
Sleep Myth #7: If your child wakes before 6:00 am, put him/her to bed later - FALSE!
Often, putting your child to bed later makes them rise earlier. Review my blog on Early Rising, look at the four causes of early rising to see if you can identify why your child is waking so early in the morning.
Sleep Myth #8: If you keep your child up all day, they will sleep better at night - FALSE!
Children who nap well during the day, at age appropriate times, actually fall asleep more easily and sleep better at night. Children who are over-tired are more likely to have difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep at night. So, if your child is having sleep difficulties, consider whether s/he is napping at the correct time or needs more day sleep! You may also review my blog on Schedules, Naps and Awake Windows to check the age appropriate schedule for your child.
Sleep Myth #9: TV before bed helps calm them down/get them sleepy - FALSE!
According to the National Sleep Foundation, researchers caution that use of any electronic devices within one hour of bedtime are harmful to the sleep-onset process because the artificial light can suppress our body’s natural release of melatonin, the hormone that helps signal our body to fall asleep.
Sleep Myth #10: My toddler won’t nap – s/he just doesn't need it! - FALSE!
Many toddlers go through phases when they resist napping, or skip naps some days of the week. Most toddlers need a nap until they are at least 3+ years old. Consistency in enforcing nap time, ensuring that your toddler knows how to put himself/herself to sleep and making sure you are putting your toddler down for his/her nap at the 'right' time can help ensure successful nap practices.
Sleep Myth #11: Gifted children don’t need as much sleep as other children - FALSE!
It is true that many gifted children have difficulty shutting down and getting enough sleep, but the studies actually show that children who get more sleep during their toddler years (and beyond) do better in school – they have higher grades and better math and language skills.
Sleep Myth #12: My toddler doesn't seem sleepy or tired, so s/he must be well-rested - FALSE!
Children are different from adults, and may even seem energetic or hyper when they are over-tired. Many children who are over-tired exhibit attention and behavior problems, or may simply be difficult or cranky in the afternoons. Look at these others signs that your toddler may be overtired and if so, try an early bedtime and age appropriate day sleep.
Other signs of an over-tired toddler - does he/she:
Always fall asleep in the car?
Fall asleep shortly after rising in the morning?
Crash much earlier than their usual bedtime?
I wish you and your family sweet dreams!
Written by: Michelle Donaghy
This blog is 2 of 2 in a Sleep Myths series, if you wish to view part 1: Sleep Myths 1-5
Photo credit: Facebook.com/MSDBabySleepCoach - photo contest submission
Photo credit: MSD Baby Sleep Coach - Client photo, published with permission
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