Sleep Deprivation

by Dave on May 15, 2009

As seen in Coastal Sussex Weekly, April 23, 2009:

Sleep deprivation is serious business.  I promise that not everything I write in the coming weeks won’t be this heavy, but I’m on a one mom crusade to make people aware of this epidemic.  For me, sleep deprivation is second only to post partum depression when it comes to threats to your mental and physical health after a new child is born. And it’s a close second for sure.

I had no idea, when my beautiful baby was born that I would be so affected. I had been given the regular advice, sleep when the baby’s sleeping, always take any help that’s offered…  People would joke and say things like “you’ll never sleep again” and then laugh.  It wasn’t funny.  In the first 8 months of our daughter’s life our schedule looked like this:  bedtime around 7 pm and I would go to bed then too.  My husband would deal with the every 1.5 hour waking until midnight.  At midnight he would go to bed, I would get up to handle the waking.  Then I would get him up at 5 am and go back to bed until 7 am when he went to work.  This was a dangerous schedule.

Our pediatrician recommended the Sleep Lady.  And I learned so much about infant and childhood sleep.  It’s fascinating and really not at all what you would think.  The foundation of getting your child to sleep is two-fold.

1. Consistency in the schedule is vital. Do whatever you have to do to get your child naps at the appropriate time and to bed at the appropriate time.  You will be shocked at how just one missed nap or 10 minutes late on the bedtime can turn the entire schedule into chaos.

2. The more your child sleeps, the more they sleep.  This was such a hard concept for me to grasp.  If you are trying to get your child to sleep through the night, don’t keep them up late, put them to bed earlier.  And don’t wait until they are asleep to put them down – put them down right before they doze off and then they will learn to fall asleep on their own.  At first, it makes absolutely no sense.  But think about yourself, do you remember those lazy days when you would say to yourself “I don’t know why I am so tired, all I’ve done is nap all day.”  That is the concept.  Rest at the appropriate time, and stimulation at the appropriate time and you are setting your child up for success.

For a transcript of our chat with the Sleep Lady on BeachMoms go here, or visit the Sleep Lady website at http://www.sleeplady.com/.  You are in my prayers, this is not an easy road.

Lisa Sumstine is the founder and publisher of BeachMoms.com. She can be reached at
lisa@beachmoms.com.

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