Why We Are Sleep Training
If there’s one thing that everyone can agree on, it's the fact that a good night’s sleep is rewarding for mother and baby alike. Today, let me give you the assurance so you can feel confident in the fact that getting your child to sleep through the night is important, safe, and beneficial to your entire family.
Benefits for children who sleep through the night
1. Sleep helps babies grow
Growth hormones are primarily secreted during periods of deep sleep. Babies need to spend about 50% of their time in deep sleep for adequate growth.
2. Sleeping helps prevent obesity
Babies who learn to soothe without feeding are less likely to be overweight and have lower rates of childhood obesity. Well-rested children are also typically more active, which helps them burn off calories and develop muscle tissue.
3. Sleep helps boost the immune system
While we sleep, our bodies produce infection and stress-fighting proteins known as cytokines. The less sleep we get, the fewer we produce, and the more prone we are to infections and illnesses.
4. Rested babies are less injury-prone
Kids who don’t get enough sleep are clumsier and more impulsive than those who do. Getting enough sleep significantly reduces the risk of injury.
5. Sleep helps babies learn
Adequate sleep has been shown to increase creativity and cognitive ability in newborns and infants. In fact, a 2010 study showed that newborns actually learn while they sleep.
Benefits for adults when children sleep well
Babies aren’t the only ones who benefit from a good night’s sleep. Mom and dad are just as likely to enjoy the advantages of getting enough shut-eye, and suffer the consequences if they don’t.
1. Sleep keeps you healthy
Adults who get less than 8 hours of sleep a night are at an elevated risk for a whole laundry list of health problems, including hypertension, high blood pressure, obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and depressive disorders.
2. Well rested parents are more alert
Getting a good night’s sleep helps to keep you focused and aware of your surroundings. A recent study from the AAA showed that even getting 6 or 7 hours of sleep a night can double your chances of getting into a traffic accident.
3. Sleep boosts memory
Learning new skills, memorizing schedules, and establishing routines are abilities that are going to come in very handy for new parents. Getting enough sleep at night will go a long way to helping them adapt to their new responsibilities and retain the vast amounts of information they’re learning on this journey.
4. Sleep helps you stay fit
Sleep debt affects your metabolism and glucose tolerance, as well as your energy levels, which can lead to weight gain and all of the health issues that go along with it.
5. Babies, require a tremendous amount of time and attention.
Sleep allows people to be the parents they want to be, happy, attentive, patient, and on the ball, rather than just surviving day to day dependent on coffee to function. This transition may appear to cause some short term stress for babies, but the research shows that it has no negative psychological impact, or effect on the relationship and bonding between parents and their children.
Scientific Proof of the Safety and Effectiveness of Sleep Training
The biggest question that parents have when they start sleep training is, “Will my baby cry?” This really isn’t the question they want the answer to, of course, because babies cry all the time. In fact, if a baby didn’t cry, it would be cause for concern. What they’re really asking when they pose this question is, “How much will my baby cry, and will I be able to provide comfort when they do?”
Naturally nobody likes to hear their baby cry, but parents nowadays are able to access a wealth of misinformation that claims if you don’t respond immediately when your baby cries, you could actually be harming them.
Back in 2012, Dr. Anna Price, a postdoctoral researcher at the Royal Children's Hospital's Centre for Community Child Health in Melbourne, Australia, conducted an extensive study that followed a group of 226 children, measuring mental health, sleep, stress regulation, child-parent relationship, maternal health and parenting styles. Five years later, she followed up with the families to see the if the one third of the children whose parents had employed some method of sleep training had experienced any of the terrifying side effects. The result…they had not. In fact, to quote the study, “There was no evidence of differences between intervention and control families for any outcome. Behavioral sleep techniques have no marked long-lasting effects.”
But critics continue to try to shoot holes in the evidence. “The sample size was too small,” is a common complaint, no matter what the size of the study might be. “We need further study,” is another, assuming that further study supports their position, which, as of yet, it hasn’t.
So in March of 2016, Pediatrics published another peer-reviewed study that showed sleep training to be both effective and safe. So the answer is yes, sleep training is safe. Sleep itself is glorious, rejuvenating, and rewarding to you, your baby, and your entire family. Focusing on your child’s sleep habits is something you can feel good about, and a commitment that will pay off exponentially.
What to Expect While Sleep Training Your Baby
Every baby is different, after all, so no manual, no set of instructions, no amount of advice from friends and family, is going to prepare you for your child in particular. And since having a baby is just about the biggest responsibility a parent can have, I feel an incredible obligation to help you get sleep training right.
Unfortunately, we don’t get any practice swings or dress rehearsals. Your first run-through is the final performance, so to speak, which only increases our dedication to solving problems before they spring up. That's why working with me means I will proactively help you each step of the way to reach your sleep goals in the quickest way possible.
In short, your baby and yourself can both sleep soundly, knowing you’ve made the right choice walking down this path together with me.
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