I am an expert in teaching parents how to gently and peacefully train their children to sleep thru the night waking rested and ready to start their happy and healthy day! Sleep is something we all love to do but struggle to get enough of. I thought I might share some information around Sleep Cycles, and then give a few tips on getting some better rest for your littles.
No-one sleeps through the night – we all go through several sleep cycles every night, beginning with Stage 1 sleep, which is very light, and you can year noise but don’t feel like responding. This is also where your body begins to rest and manufacture antibodies and growth hormones. We then move into Stage 2 sleep, which is light sleep – you can still hear, but you can’t really understand what’s going on around you. Next come Stage 3 and 4 sleep, which is deep restorative sleep – you don’t hear anything, and you’re cut off from the world. These four stages last around 70-100 minutes and are followed by around 10-15 minutes of REM Sleep, where you dream and your brain recharges its batteries and records and organizes your thoughts from the previous day.
Whenever I talk with parents struggling to get a child to sleep through the night, here are a few of the tips that I provide – I hope you find them useful!
- Knowing that no-one sleeps through the night, and that a child goes through as many as 6 or 7 sleep cycles per night, it is critical that a child learn how to soothe themselves to sleep, because between each sleep cycle, we all rise to the surface to check our surroundings – if they’re the same, we’re able to go back to sleep to begin the next cycle – if they’re not, we panic and wake fully and find it difficult to go back to sleep. Imagine going to sleep in your bed and waking up in the middle of your back yard…that’s similar to what a child experiences when you rock them to sleep and they wake up in their own bed (no way they can go back to sleep on their own)!
- Blue light (and green and white) stimulate the brain, so great for early morning but should be avoided in the hour before bed if you’d like to get good rest. If you or your child need to have a light source in the night, it should be red, orange or yellow (think of the colors of a sunset) as these colors will help your body begin to produce melatonin, which is a naturally occurring hormone in our bodies and helps us get to sleep faster.
- Bedtime routines are very important and should be done at the same time and in the same order every night. This will cue the body that sleep is coming, and get the melatonin flowing and the body and brain ready to fall asleep quickly and gently.
If you have questions about any of these tips, or would like more information, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me. Here’s hoping you all get the rest you need tonight!