Sleep is an Art: Find out how to make it work for your family

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  • February 18, 2014

sleepBy now, you know that sleep is my passion, and it’s also important, a fact that seems to be quickly realized by many of us. In a recent article, the Huffington Post examined the 5 places around the world that seem to have “mastered” sleep.

With our packed schedules that often don’t have many of us going to bed (children included) until well after 9:00 p.m., it’s no wonder that we’re tired, sick, and operating well below our potential. I’ve written before about how a lack of sleep can contribute to some serious health issues, as well as cause our children to lose focus, going so far as to be diagnosed with ADD, when a lack of proper sleep is actually to blame.

 

Finding Positive Sleep Habits

 

So where are people getting better sleep? Well, all around the world, according to this Huffington Post article. In Tokyo, naps are more common, which means that the city has even built accommodations so that its residents can fit in a daily nap. A small town in Germany is taking a record of their citizens sleep cycles (their natural circadian rhythms), and plans to create a schedule that allows them to sleep at their optimal times.

Going even further, on a small island in Greece, the entire island takes a daily nap, and their population has astounding longevity (and here I thought it was the yogurt! ). In Mexico, it was found that spending time in reflection before bed yielded a deeper and more restorative sleep. At Harvard, the medical school is on the forefront of sleep research, as they realize that the majority of the world is sleep deprived.

But my favorite? A sanctuary in Brisbane, Australia where the cute and cuddly koalas sleep nearly as much as newborn babies. And they’re just about as cute. All of these countries (and universities) are on the forefront of creating a better sleep environment, which is very exciting. Sleep is incredibly important.

 

Everyone Deserves to Sleep Well

 

I believe that I can help any child with any sleep problem, which is why I am traveling to Sydney to speak with parents about their children’s sleep. Children need more sleep than adults, and depending upon their age, a lack of sleep can lead to frustration for both mom and baby.

 

Stick to an Early Bedtime

 

Make sure that you are getting your children to sleep when their body is readysleeping baby, which may be earlier than you think. If you’re having trouble determining your child’s appropriate bedtime, you can view sample schedules here.

 

Keep a Flexible Routine

 

Children, all children, need a routine. They thrive on routine. I’m not talking about sports in the evenings, or family days, but the daily, boring, type of routine. When you wake up, when you make meals, when you take naps, and when you go to bed. Find a routine that works for you and encourages sleep at an age-appropriate time.

 

Avoid Screens Before Sleep

 

If at all possible, try to do your best to avoid screen time (that means tablets, phones, computers, televisions, etc.) for 30-60 minutes before bed.

Remember, our children need more sleep than adults. Think of them as koalas!

Kim West
Kim is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who has been a practicing child and family therapist for more than 24 years, and the creator of the original gentle, proven method to get a good night’s sleep for you and your child. She is the author of The Sleep Lady's Good Night Sleep Tight, its companion Workbook and 52 Sleep Secrets for Babies. Click here to read more about her.

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