If you struggle with your weight and wish you could lose a few (or many) pounds, you’re not alone.
According to a National Health and Nutritional Examination survey in the US, more than 2 in 3 adults are overweight or obese, more than 1 in 3 adults are obese, and more than 1 in 20 adults have extreme obesity.
Those are pretty staggering figures!
Trying to lose weight can be a frustrating battle, and many people will try anything they can get their hands on, including appetite suppressants and nutritional supplements.
There are countless philosophies and diets out there: carb-free, gluten-free, paleo and vegan, to name a few. Lots of people adopt a new diet and exercise regime all gung-ho, and 100% committed only to give up two weeks later when they don’t notice any difference in their waistline.
However, what if your inability to lose weight isn’t because you’re lazy or not committed enough? What if it’s actually because of insomnia or poor sleep habits?
According to the Centre for Disease Control, there is research to support the idea that lack of sleep results in metabolic changes that could be linked to excess body weight.
One study published in the International Journal of Obesity found that middle-aged women with sleep disorders are more likely to have weight issues than other women who get a good nights’ sleep.
Michael Breus, Ph.D., author of Beauty Sleep, says, “It’s not so much that if you sleep, you will lose weight, but if you are sleep-deprived, meaning that you are not getting enough minutes of sleep or good quality sleep, your metabolism will not function properly.”
Two hormones are secreted at night while we sleep that are specifically related to weight loss. Ghrelin is the hormone that tells you when to eat.
When you’re sleep-deprived, your ghrelin levels are elevated, which makes you hungrier and far more likely to reach for the late-night snacks.
Leptin is the hormone that tells you when you’re full and lets you know you should stop eating, so if you aren’t sleeping well, you have less leptin.
This, combined with the fact that your metabolism slows down when you don’t get enough sleep, seems to point to the issue many people have: they might be exercising and trying to eat right, but if they aren’t sleeping well, it’s an uphill battle.
If you have been struggling with your weight and you haven’t been getting an average of 8 hours of sleep a night, it might be time to look at your sleep habits and see what you can do to improve them.
Just trying to tackle the weight gain while you continue to sleep 5-6 hours a night or toss and turn and wake up frequently isn’t going to do the trick.
It’s time to focus on sleep first, and you might just be amazed to see how many other parts of your life improve once you start
getting the rest your body needs.
You will feel less stressed, have more energy to exercise and your hormones will be balanced and will stop telling you to eat when you don’t need to.
Sounds like a win-win to me☺
Are you getting 7-8 hours of uninterrupted sleep every night?
If not, be sure to check out The 5-Sleep Tips To Solve Your Sleep Tonight
Or, better yet, book a totally FREE discovery call with me today so together, we can improve your sleep.
Here’s to a well-rested you,
If you’re anything like me, you respect someone who can put their money where their mouth is.
Instead of me talking about Sleep Solutions today, I wanted to let the results do the talking.
Check out Christine's results, an amazing mom, RN, and all around awesome person.
And she’s not the only one. Check out Audrey's results, a super busy mom to adorable 13 month old twin boys:
These moms are proof that:
So please, do me a favor...
Don’t keep waiting for your baby to magically become a good sleeper.
Prioritize a clear, consistent plan that will help your baby sleep well- forever.
Book a call with me today for the health and happiness of your entire family.
Book A Call
Here's to a well-rested family,
I have to say I do love fall! It's my very favorite season.
The cooler weather.
The beautiful fall colors.
The smell of pumpkin bread baking.
All things that make me happy!
But, as a sleep consultant, there's one thing I hate about fall...when we have to change the clocks!
Although this time change isn't as terrible for our bodies as when Daylight Saving Time begins in the spring, it's still hard on all of us and even affects our health.
Here's some tips to help ease the pain with your little ones!
Daylight savings ends in the fall season each year. This year it ends November 4th.
It will be time to “fall back” the clocks. It can be a dreaded time for parents of young children because with this, comes an adjustment that does not happen immediately.
This is because children tend to be more structured in their bedtime and wake up around the same time each morning and that is why people usually can see a greater effect on children when the time changes.
However there are some things you can do to help make the transition to the new time go a little smoother. My recommendation is to leave your clocks alone Saturday night.
Wake up Sunday morning, have breakfast, then go around your house and change your clocks. Psychologically, it will feel much better for everyone if you wait until Sunday morning to change the time.
My best advice for children to help them with the change is to split the difference with the old time and the new time. How does that work?
School Age Children
If you have a child that does not nap and normally goes to bed at 7:00 pm, you would put him to bed at 6:30 pm on Sunday night, the first night of the time change.
Do this for 3 nights, putting him to bed 30 minutes earlier than normal, then on the 4th night put him to bed at the normal time, 7:00 pm or whatever is normal bedtime for your child.
If you have a toddler ages one and older, on Sunday the first day of the time change, you would put him down for his first nap 30 minutes earlier than normal. So if he naps usually at 9:30 am put him down at 9:00 am.
You would do the same with the afternoon nap if he takes an afternoon nap.
For bedtime, if his normal bedtime is 7:00 pm, you would put him down at 6:30 pm. Do this for 3 nights after the time change and then on the 4th night, put him to bed at 7:00 pm and on 5th day move nap times back to normal time.
So if your child naps at 9:30 am put him down at 9:30 am and so on with the rest of the day.
If you have a baby and his bedtime and naps have become predictable (usually over 6 months old) meaning he is always going to bed around the same time each day.
For example if bedtime is normally 7:00 pm move bedtime 15 minutes later each night until you reach the normal time again. So the first night you would put him down at 6:15 pm, the second night 6:30 pm, and so on.
On the fourth night you should be back to 7:00 pm Do the same thing for naps. Start 45 minutes earlier than normal and move them 15 minutes later each day.
So if morning nap is at 9:00 am normally, start with 8:15 am on Sunday, 8:30 am on Monday, 8:45 am on Tuesday and then 9:00 am on Wednesday.
Do the same for the afternoon nap.
If their bedtime and nap times are not predictable (0-6 months old) simply jump to the new time Sunday night as if you were traveling to a new time zone and use their wake time window (awake time between sleep periods) as your guide.
A great thing about this time change is that there are more hours of darkness which helps make this transition a little easier.
If your child wakes up too early, walk them back to their room and tell them it’s not time to get up yet.
If your child wakes up too early and is in a crib, be sure to help his body understand it isn’t morning time by keeping him in his crib in the dark room until normal wake time.
Note for Toddlers/School-aged children
If you have a toddler or an older child who relies on a clock to know when their “morning time” has arrived, set the clock one half hour ahead of the new time so that it reads 7:00 am at the new time of 6:30 am.
Allow your child to wake a bit earlier than normal (they will think it is 7:00 am according to the clock but it will be 6:30 am, new time).
This will only be temporary as your child adjusts to wake at their usual 7:00 am time after about one or two weeks.
It may take children and babies a bit more time to fall asleep, this is normal, since the time is different initially they might seem tired earlier.
It usually takes about a week for children and babies to completely adjust to the new time, some children it can take up to a month.
Is your little one having trouble sleeping and it has nothing to do with the upcoming time change?
I'd love to help! Book a FREE discovery call with me today.
Book A FREE Call
Here's to an easy adjustment to the time change,
What a week!
Congratulations to those who took action and have gotten your babies sleeping through the night!
Thanks to those of you who took action and have gotten your babies sleeping well this week.
I'm always so inspired by you and all of your hard work to get your family the rest they need.
The world needs more people like you who are willing to do what it takes and say yes to a well-rested family.
It’s Inspring. YOU ARE INSPIRING.
Today I celebrate you by congratulating you on your success with your customized Sleep Solutions plan.
Sleep Solutions IS different.
Are you thinking, “Ok JoAnna, just how is Sleep Solutions so different?”
Results - No book. No Google search. No DIY for your baby's sleep is going to have your baby sleeping in a few short days.
Support - 3 weeks of expert sleep coaching so that you know exactly what to do every day of your plan.
Attention - You have daily access to me so that you get all of your questions answered and you never have to wonder if you're doing it right. I overdeliver like no one else and your results are proof of that attention to you and your baby.
Lasting - Teaching your child to sleep well is a gift that keeps on giving for their entire life.
So for those of you who have been waiting to teach your baby to sleep through the night, it's your time.
Book a complimentary discovery call.
Book A Call
I believe in you and I believe in rest for your entire family!
Have questions about Sleep Solutions?
Simply respond to this email.
I look forward to hearing from you and helping, however, I can.
It's October which means breast cancer awareness month.
My beautiful, amazing mom is a two time breast cancer survivor so this month is especially meaningful for me.
I'm keenly aware that breast cancer is a hideous beast and many families aren't as fortunate as ours.
She's the beauty in the picture above with my younger son, Colby.
I don't think she'll ever know how much I love her.
She's such an inspriration and guiding force in my life.
I'm eternally grateful to be her daughter and this week's newsletter is for her!
I know, I’ve said it a million times—and those experts keep backing me up! Sleep is critical to our health and well-being.
If we suffer from insomnia we know without even having to read about it that it leads to irritability, fatigue, difficulty concentrating and memory loss as well as a host of other issues.
If you don’t sleep well, you will be far more likely to snap at your kids when they drop their clothes on the floor or at your spouse for forgetting to buy apples. You will also be more likely to forget where you put your keys and might even blank out when you’re trying to do a presentation at work.
How many of us have stood in the pasta aisle of the grocery store in a sleepless haze, suddenly clueless about why we went down there…did we need sauce? Noodles? Parmesan?
It can be easy to brush these things aside as minor annoyances if we’re intent on keeping our busy life going at breakneck speed and not making enough time for sleep.
But now, more and more studies are finding that there might be long-lasting benefits to getting the average seven to eight hours of sleep we need every night: reduced chance of high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity, just to name a few.
And if that isn’t enough to convince you, there is a new study that shows that sleeping well can even improve your chances of breast cancer survival.
Dr. Amanda Phipps, along with other researchers, has discovered a link between women who died of breast cancer and poor sleep habits pre-diagnosis.
She used data from approximately 7,500 Women’s Health Initiative study participants who had been diagnosed with breast cancer and found that the women who slept less than five hours a night (which constitutes fairly severe sleep deprivation) before their diagnosis had about one and a half times the increased risk of dying from their disease compared to women with breast cancer who said they slept the recommended amount of sleep a night.
They didn’t collect sleep data from women after their diagnosis, because the stress of having cancer and going through treatment can cause sleep issues.
According to the Huffington Post, another study found that women at high risk of breast cancer had a shifted cortisol cycle.
Cortisol is a hormone that helps regulate the immune system and has an effect on cells that help fight cancer. It usually reaches peak levels at dawn and then declines during the day, so it can be disrupted if a person isn’t sleeping well.
Melatonin, which is also used by the brain while we sleep, is an anti-oxidant that can help prevent damage to DNA that can lead to cancer. It also slows production of oestrogen, which can encourage cancerous breast and ovarian cancers to keep dividing.
So there you have it; even more reason to start getting to the bottom of why you aren’t sleeping well.
Developing new sleep habits could change your whole life by making you healthier and happier. And in some cases, it could even save your life.
Worried about your sleep? Check out.
5 Sleep Tips To Improve Your Sleep Tonight
Here's to a healthy family,
This might be the most common question I'm asked by new parents when they come to me for help with their little one's sleep.
Is it teething? Is it regression? Are they too hot? Too cold? Are they hungry? Are they over-tired? The list goes on and on for the reasons parents give me behind their baby's wake-ups.
The truth is, it could be any of these things or even a combination of them.
Baby's sleep is actually quite complicated and it's often hard to know exactly why a baby is waking.
Babies go through significant changes and just when they've gotten on developmental milestone under control, there's another one upon them!
There are some things you can control.
If your baby’s too hot, you can make it cooler.
If your child's teething, some children's Tylenol will do the trick, at least for a while.
Those are the simple fixes to a child's poor sleep. The main reason most people really struggle to get their babies sleeping well is that there are many issues that aren't so obvious and truly don't have an easy solution.
Imagine this scenario: An 12-month-old child gets a lot of fresh air and sunlight each day, takes long, restful naps, then bedtime comes and they don't seem tired and want to play. Bedtime becomes a battle and baby gets upset when told it's time for bed. When they finally fall asleep, they wake multiple times per night and never sleep past 5 am.
So what’s the issue? Is baby sleeping too much in the day?
That would seem reasonable. If we, as grown-ups, got 3 hours of sleep during the day, then we'd probably have a rough time falling asleep at bedtime and staying asleep all night long.
But, with babies, it's almost always the opposite. This baby is clearly over-tired and needs more sleep, not less.
So we can understand why this is the case, we need to know a little bit about how sleep works.
A few hours before we wake up our bodies begin to secrete a hormone called cortisol. If you've done any reading on the internet about babies and sleep, this word often causes parents to freak out a bit! Not to worry, this is actually a good thing and totally normal at this stage of sleep.
Cortisol is a hormone responsible to help us in times of stress to elevate heart rate and stimulate the nervous system.
In case, you know, you're being chased by a bear!
But, in the early morning, it's doing its job to wake us up. It's known as mother nature's caffeine!
So, if cortisol is our morning cup of joe then melatonin is our evening glass of wine. When the sun goes down, our bodies begin to produce an amazing, sleep-inducing hormone which helps us know it's time for bed and helps keep us asleep all night long. Then, the whole process starts over again- every single day!
Just a side note: Melatonin production is increased and starts even earlier in the evening if we awaken to some good, bright sunlight.
Our bodies are amazing but, this system of hormone production isn't perfect and it can be easily confused. So, with the cutie baby, we talked about above, here's what's happening.
Baby is sleeping well during the day, which is great, and she's getting sunlight to help her with her melatonin production in the evening. But, what's with so much energy right before bed?
When melatonin production starts in the evening, there's a small window of time when baby's body is expecting it to go to sleep. If you miss this window, the brain decides something isn't right, baby can't sleep (maybe a bear!). If baby's got to be awake then a shot of cortisol should really help keep her awake for whatever she needs to do to survive.
Baby's system begins producing cortisol and then she's wide awake. Long, story short, baby missed the sleep "window" and she's going to struggle to get to sleep. This can be confusing because her behavior doesn't lead you to believe she's tired at all!
Back to the dreaded 3 am wake up.....
This is exactly what's happening. Let's assume a baby's circadian rhythm is scheduled for a 6 am wake up so her body starts producing cortisol 3 hours before this and melatonin production has stopped. Baby comes to the end of a sleep cycle around 3 am and she's "slightly awake" and now that's combined with some stimulating cortisol.
If you combine the wake-up, the cortisol and lack of good sleep skills, you've got a recipe for disaster. Simply put, baby's going to have a REALLY hard time going back to sleep without quite a bit of help from mom or dad.
You're probably wondering about now...How do I fix this?
You can help your baby's natural hormone production schedule by ensuring they're getting enough natural light during the day. This will help with melatonin production at night and therefore help with sleep.
You want to make sure that baby's room is as dark as possible. Dimming the lights around the house in the evening about an hour before bed will simulate the sunset and help with cueing melatonin production.
Try to Avoid any screen time an hour before bed, preferably longer. These devices emit a geyser of blue light, which will increase cortisol production at the time when you're trying to eliminate it.
The number one thing you can do to help your baby sleep through the night is to teach her independent sleep skills and get her on a predictable schedule.
Because you're never going to eliminate night time wake ups. We all wake in the night every night. As grown-ups, we have the ability to recognize that it's night time and we should go right back to sleep. Most of the time we don't even remember waking between sleep cycles when we wake in the morning.
We can't prevent a baby from waking in the night, but we can safely teach baby to recognize that she's awake, she's safe, still tired, and can get back to sleep without our help.
You can find more information about how to teach your little one to stop waking at 3 am by downloading The 7 Best Sleep Tips guide.
I made light of it earlier but, you should always check to make sure there are no bears in baby's room. A growling bear could set anyone's sleep habits back. LOL
Here's to a well-rested family,
For some of us, our bedroom is an oasis at the end of a hectic day.
Sometimes we even count down the minutes until we get to crawl under our duvet and lay our weary head on the pillow, finally free from our boss’s demands or scrubbing sticky toddler graffiti from the walls or re-grouting the bathtub.
However, when we’re suffering from insomnia, that oasis can become a place of misery where you toss and turn for hours.
You might even start to dread the walk down the hall to your room at the end of the night, knowing your cozy-looking bed with its designer pillows is just going to be a source of frustration.
If that sounds like you, not to worry.
Believe it or not, your bedroom environment can have a significant impact on your ability to fall asleep, and there are a few simple things you can do that might make it easier for you to drift off.
1. Begin a quest for utter darkness
Remember that some types of light wreak havoc on our body’s ability to produce melatonin, the sleep hormone.
Hunt down all offending sources of light and snuff them out. Be ruthless. That little sliver where the moon seeps in beside your blinds? It’s got to go.
That seashell nightlight your mom got you in Hawaii? Unplug it.
Also, blinky lights from televisions, laptops or other electronic devices should be covered up.
You need to go into your room, turn off the lights and look around. If you see anything other than blackness, find the cause and deal with it.
2. Ditch the clock
One thing many insomniacs have in common is clock-watching.
Watching the clock is a terrible idea.
You know how it goes…you can’t fall asleep for what feels like hours, so you check your clock and see that yes indeed, it’s 2:00 a.m. Then you start the math. “If I fall asleep NOW, I will get five hours’ sleep, so I might not pass out with my breakfast pastry in my hand at the board meeting…”
But, then you don’t fall asleep right away, so you check again…and again…and again, each time getting more and more anxious.
If you have to set an alarm, set your phone and then turn it to silent and stuff it in a drawer.
Do not open that drawer until the alarm goes off. Trust me; you will be saving yourself A lot of grief.
3. Make your bed
What does that have to do with sleeping well, you ask?
Well, interestingly, some studies show that making your bed can make you feel less anxious about hopping into bed.
Check out this survey by Hunch.com: out of 68,000 people who were asked about their bed-making habits, 71 percent of bed makers considered themselves happy, while 62 percent of non-bed-makers admitted to being unhappy.
Bed makers were also more likely to like their jobs, exercise regularly and feel well rested, whereas non-bed-makers didn’t like their jobs, and tended to wake up tired. Seems like making your bed in the morning, which is only about a two-minute time investment, is probably worth it.
I’m not saying these tips will magically make your insomnia go away.
However, the more steps you take to give your body the chance to slip off to sleep without anxiety and distractions, the more chance you have of kicking those sleepless nights forever.
If your bedroom isn't a "sleep sanctuary", make it one!
You'll sleep better because of it.
If you're having trouble sleeping, I'd be happy to help.
Click here for a FREE 15-minute discovery call with me.
Here's to a well-rested you,
I’m hoping that I might be able to change some minds here today.
It won’t be easy, obviously, because when is it ever? But with parenting issues, there are so many emotional ties and hardened beliefs that they make changing someone’s mind nearly impossible.
As parents, we bear an enormous responsibility. It’s not just about keeping our little ones alive, warm, fed, and happy. We’re all looking to raise exceptional human beings. We’re responsible for the quality of our kids’ lives long after they’ve left the nest, and many of the decisions we make today are going to determine who they are 20, 30, even 50 years from now.
It should come as no surprise then that we take these decisions very, very seriously.
I’ll admit that I find the idea of attachment parenting more than a little interesting, and I can definitely see why it appeals to a lot of parents. After all, most of us want to love our kids unreservedly, especially in those first few years. Our instincts are all about holding our babies close, meeting every need the moment one arises, and protecting them with the strength and determination of a Titan. (Although if I remember my mythology correctly, those Greek gods made some pretty questionable parenting choices, so maybe that’s a bad example.)
For anyone who’s not familiar, attachment parenting is a parenting philosophy that was popularized by Drs. William and Martha Sears in their 1993 publication, “The Baby Book.” The idea, in a nutshell, is maximum closeness and responsiveness. You wear your baby, you share a bed with your baby, you breastfeed on demand, and you answer their cries immediately. In theory, this creates a strong attachment between mother and baby, which results in well-adjusted children who grow up to be happy, healthy, contributing members of society.
Now, all of these theories have been debated endlessly and passionately, but there’s no strong evidence to show that attachment parenting is better or worse than other parenting styles. If you want more information on attachment parenting, a quick Google search will provide you with more material than you could possibly take in over a dozen lifetimes.
But that’s not what I want to talk about today. Today I want to talk about whether attachment parenting and sleep training are mutually exclusive.
I have worked with more than a few clients who subscribe to the attachment parenting ideology and they usually feel like they’re “cheating” a little.
You see, an important thing to note here is that Dr. Sears included a catchy bullet point list of the principles of attachment parenting that he refers to as “The Seven B’s.” They are, in no particular order...
As you can see, he had to stretch a little to get these to all fit into a “B’ category, but I think he did alright. I mean hey, there are seven of them and the guy is a pediatrician, not a poet.
So the first three have nothing to do with sleep training. You can bond with your baby as much as you want, breastfeed until
you’re blue in the face and wear your baby in a sling everywhere you go, and as a pediatric sleep coach, I would tell you that’s all fine and dandy.
It’s the next three items on the list that tend to give attachment parenting advocates pause when they think about sleep training.
Sleeping close to your baby is another term for bed sharing, which Dr. Sears is a big fan of. It’s a common myth about pediatric sleep coaches that we’re firmly against bed sharing, and I won’t act like I don’t know where that came from. The consensus from
most of my colleagues is that babies sleep better, and so do their parents when they aren’t in the same bed as you. More people in bed means more movement, more movement means more wake-ups, and more wake-ups mean less of that rich, delicious, deep sleep that we love to see everybody getting.
So is this a deal breaker when it comes to sleep training? Well, yeah, pretty much. Teaching babies to fall asleep independently isn’t really feasible when Mom is within arms’ reach at all times.
I’ve heard a lot of parents say they get better sleep when they bed share with their little ones, and that’s 100% wonderful in my book. If your family is all sleeping in the same bed and you’re all sleeping well, I say keep doing what you’re doing.
However, if your definition of bed sharing is that one parent is sleeping on the couch and the other is sleeping in bed with baby, waking every 45 minutes to breastfeed back to sleep, that’s not what I would call “quality sleep.”
For anyone who wants to keep their little one close but would rather not wake up to baby’s toes in their nostrils ten times a night, I suggest sharing a room instead of a bed. As long as your baby has a separate space to sleep, like a crib or a playpen, then sleep training is once again a viable option.
What about crying?
Crying is how babies express discontentment, no question about it. Whether it’s a wet diaper, general discomfort, or just wanting something that they don’t have at that particular moment, babies cry to express that they want something.
You may have noticed that I specifically avoided saying that they cry to express a “need,” because let’s face it, not everything a baby cries over is a requirement. If you disagree, I urge you to take a look at these hilarious examples of kids crying for nonsensical reasons". He met Bill Murray” is my personal favorite, but they’re all pretty great.
A lot of my clients are surprised when I tell them that sleep training does NOT require them to let their babies cry until they fall asleep. In fact, I typically don’t recommend waiting longer than about 10 minutes before responding to a crying baby.
I do suggest giving your baby a few minutes to see if they can fall back to sleep on their own. But the idea that sleep training requires parents to close the door at bedtime and leave their little ones until the next morning, regardless of the intensity or duration of their crying, is, in scientific terms, bogus.
So we’ve managed to get to the last two of the seven B’s without any real conflict. However, this next one is going to be tough to navigate.
Beware of Baby Trainers.
So let me just level with you here, okay? I can’t speak for everyone in my profession, but as a Certified Sleep Sense Consultant, I am part of the largest collaborative network of pediatric sleep coaches in the world and we all have one thing in common.
We’re passionate about helping families.
We’ve been through this issue ourselves, we’ve found a solution, and we’re devoted to helping others the same way we helped our own babies because we know, first hand, the difference it makes in people’s lives.
And for anyone who might be thinking, “They’re just in it for the money,” I implore you to try working with exhausted parents and overtired babies for a few nights and tell me about how easy the money is. If this job were just about turning a profit, we would all find something else to do, believe me.
We work with people in their most frazzled, desperate moments, and it is challenging work. The reward is in the results; the smiles of those happy babies and the relief in the eyes of the parents who are feeling reinvigorated and re-energized about raising kids now that they’re getting enough sleep.
My only other issue with the attachment parenting style outlined by Dr. Sears lies in the last of his seven rules.
“Wear your baby everywhere, breastfeed on demand, respond immediately to every whimper, sleep next to them, and hey, remember to take some time for yourself, because it’s all about balance.”
I completely agree with the fundamental principle of balancing your parenting responsibilities with your self-care. Being a mother is a priority. It can easily be argued that it should be your main priority. Many people would tell you that it’s your only priority, which I would disagree with, but let’s say for a minute that it’s true.
If you’re going to be the best mom you can be, you absolutely, inarguably, need to get regular, sufficient rest.
Motherhood is incredibly demanding and getting it right requires that your body and mind are working together as a finely-tuned, well-oiled machine. You have to be patient, understanding, energized, empathetic, entertaining, and focused to be the best parent you can be.
Now ask yourself, how many of those qualities do you possess on three hours of sleep?
One of my favorite quotes on parenthood is Jill Churchill’s heartwarming reminder that none of us bat 1,000 in this sport.
“There’s no way to be a perfect mother and a million ways to be a good one.”
It reminds me that we, like our babies, are unique. Parenting recipes need to be tweaked and adjusted to suit the individual needs of our family.
So if attachment parenting is your thing, more power to you. The best parenting strategy is the one that works for you and your family. But if your little one isn’t sleeping and bed-sharing isn’t solving the problem, I urge you to consider bending Dr. Sears’ rules a little and getting some help.
I won’t tell him if you don’t.
Have questions? Contact me today, at email@example.com
And be sure to sign up for my "7 Best Sleep Tips For Sleeping Through The Night".
Sleep issues are epidemic in our society. Many of us go through our days feeling tired and rundown. Often, we feel fine until we hit that dreaded afternoon wall of exhaustion and end up in a long line at a coffee shop for a hit of caffeine to power through the rest of the day. We might even joke about how little sleep we get, maybe even take pride in believing we're able to function well on only five hours of sleep while we’re working on an important project or studying for college exams.
But chronic sleep deprivation is no laughing matter. In fact, it has been linked to diseases like diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and depression. I have said this many times, but it bears repeating: sleep needs to be a priority. You know your body won't function at its best when you don’t eat regular meals, right? You also know the opposite is true, that your body doesn’t function at its best when you overeat at mealtimes. You know that the right balance of regular, healthy meals throughout the day is crucial to your health and survival.
Getting good sleep is just as crucial because sleep is about restoration. It’s when your busy brain can finally rest its neurons and create proteins that help repair cell damage while your immune system produces infection-fighting antibodies to battle bacteria and viruses. And in children, the brain releases growth hormones during sleep. It’s absolutely vital that you get enough rest so your body can recover from your day and prepare for the next one.
We all know that when we don’t get enough sleep we can feel foggy, spaced out, emotional, irritable, and we have trouble focusing. And if it continues long enough, this lack of sleep can lower your body’s defenses and put you at risk of developing a chronic illness.
Here are some conditions that are known to be caused by ongoing sleep deprivation:
According to the Centers for Disease Control, research has found that sleep duration and quality can be predictors of levels of Hemoglobin A1c, an important marker of blood sugar control. Recent studies suggest that the better you sleep, the better able your body is at regulating your blood sugar.
Sleep apnea is a common cause of insomnia, and people who suffer from it have been found to have an increased risk of hypertension, stroke, coronary heart disease and irregular heartbeat. According to Harvard Medical School, for people with hypertension, one night without enough sleep can cause elevated blood pressure all through the following day.
The link between depression and sleep is complex. It's a bit of a "what came first, the chicken or the egg” problem. Is the person depressed because he can’t sleep, or is it that he can’t sleep because he’s depressed? There is research that shows that people suffering from both depression and sleep apnea experience a decrease in depression once the sleep apnea has been treated and they start sleeping well again. The National Sleep Foundation claims that people with insomnia have a ten-fold risk of developing depression compared with those who sleep well.
It's easy to brush aside the importance of sleep as we navigate through our busy lives. Getting quality sleep is just as important as eating well and exercising. The good news is that if you’ve been sleeping poorly, you don’t need to worry that the damage is already done. It’s never too late to start sleeping well, and your body will do its best to repair and restore itself while you’re getting the rest you so desperately need.
I'd love to help you with your sleep struggles so you can get the healthy rest you need. Book a complimentary call with me today!
This week I wanted to talk with you about the number one bedtime mistake I see parents making when they put their baby to bed.
Visit any baby site on the Web, search for “my baby won’t sleep,” or any phrase you would use, and you'll discover that almost every single site will tell you about the importance of a bedtime routine.
So will I.
I think a bedtime routine is a crucial first step in creating predictability for your baby. It teaches her that it’s time to make a transition from day into night.
Even adults have our favorite bedtime routines, right? Most of us prepare for sleep in the same orderly fashion every night before we climb into bed. Without these routines, we would feel a little uncomfortable and worry about whether or not we would fall asleep easily.
Our adult bedtime routine is important to us. So imagine how important it is to an infant or small child who is still learning how to do everything the right way. And this is where parents keep making the number one bedtime mistake.
Most of the time parents skip right over it. “Oh, a bedtime routine, right. Sure. Next problem?” because we’ve heard it so often.
But the biggest mistake that parents make is that somewhere in the routine, the baby sleeps!
I bet you’ve heard that your baby should have a bath, so you’re going to do a bath, you’re going to get jammies on, you're going to read a story, and then you’re going to do a feeding.
There, right there, that’s the snag.
You feed your baby to sleep, either on the breast or with the bottle.
Most people turn off the lights when it's feed time, get the environment nice and cozy, and that becomes your child’s cue that it’s time to start relaxing into sleep.
Stop right there. This is your number one bedtime mistake. Why?
If you nurse or bottle feed your baby to sleep and then transfer them to the crib, guess what? Your baby won't sleep through the night. Don't be surprised to find that 30 to 45 minutes later baby wakes up. And you’ve got to start her bedtime routine all over again.
Bath, great; PJs, great; feeding fine. It’s totally acceptable to feed a baby before bed. In fact, I encourage it, but keep the lights on high enough that it helps keep her alert. Don’t let her start to fall asleep.
Right now, you’re thinking “What? Don’t let her fall asleep? Isn’t that the point of the bedtime routine?”
Again, if you think of sleep as a journey, I don’t want you to allow your baby to start the journey too soon. When your baby start the sleep journey it looks like doziness, heavy blinking, closing the eyes and opening them. Don’t allow that to happen during the nighttime feed.
You want to keep your baby’s eyes open. You want to teach her that food is a nice step in the bedtime routine, but it is not for the purpose of sleeping. That comes next.
If your baby has a really strong association between eating and sleeping, I suggest you break it up with an extra step right after the feed. So feed her first. Then sit baby up on your lap, maybe read a short story together, just to help interrupt that mental connection between feeding and sleeping.
Then place your baby into the crib while she is still awake. This is how you start The Sleep Sense Program. I’ll teach you how to do it right so that it feels natural. It's the number one way your baby is going to learn the skills she or he needs in order to start sleeping through the night without any upset or restlessness.
So think about your baby's current bedtime routine. Even though you have one that was working, I'll bet you're noticing it isn't as effective as it was when your baby was much younger. And I'll bet you and your baby are both ready to make a healthy change and upgrade that bedtime routine to one that will last a lifetime.
If you want to know more about helping your baby learn to sleep through the night, I’d love to help. Just schedule your complimentary call with me today and you and your baby will both be getting a good night’s sleep in no time!
Jo Anna Inks
I help tired, frustrated parents get their babies sleeping through the night and napping well so everyone in the family can get the rest they so desperately need!