Are the sleep training methods that we have heard frequently lately really effective? If it is not effective, what solutions should parents resort to for sleepless nights?
From the birth of the baby to the age of starting school, parents face many sleep problems. They are trying various sleep trainings, which are an effective method in a short time at the speed of the developing world. However, making unrealistic expectations by making the child cry or knowing the needs of his age wears out both the child and the parents. Although sleep training may seem like a solution in the short term, it can become worse than before in the long run. That’s why I’m going to give you a few tips for your children to get a healthy sleep suitable for their age.
What do you expect from your child’s sleep?
We all have a picture in our minds about how many hours a day the child will sleep at what age. But is this realistic? Sometimes we unconsciously expect our children to sleep more or not wake up at all during the night.
0-3 month old babies sleep between 14 and 16 hours a day. In the first month, while the baby wakes up three or four times a night, this situation may decrease from month to month.
It is seen that babies aged 3-6 months continue to wake up frequently at night. When they are 6 months old, they sleep an average of 14 hours a day. It is seen that babies aged 4-6 months sleep for about 3 hours during the day.
Babies aged 6-12 months sleep approximately 13 hours a day. Note that this time may be less or more. The given time just shows us the average. Towards 12 months of age, night awakenings may increase in infants compared to the situation around 6 months of age.
1-2 year olds go on to sleep for about 13 hours a day. However, daytime sleepiness begins to decrease gradually, and the majority of sleep begins to take place at night.
2-3 year olds sleep about 12 hours a day. Nighttime awakenings may still occur, but daytime sleepiness may be reduced to about 1 hour.
3-5 year olds sleep about 11 hours a day. While a 3-year-old child may need daytime naps, they generally do not need daytime naps by the age of 5. Nightmares and night terrors are common in this age range. Bedwetting is also common in this age range. Situations like these can affect children’s sleep.
Setting a Bedtime Routine
Everyone has a bedtime routine. Many things can be counted, such as brushing your teeth, taking a shower. Creating a bedtime routine for children helps children know what to expect and makes it easier for them to fall asleep. Reading a short story before going to bed at night, brushing their teeth, taking a warm shower are the first things that come to mind for children’s bedtime routine. You can create a routine with arrangements suitable for you and your child.
The Effect of Nutrition on Sleep
Breast milk is a very easy food to digest. This is why breastfed babies get hungry more often. Conversely, formula is a food that is more difficult to digest. For this reason, sometimes mothers may prefer to give their babies formula to wake them up less at night. However, contrary to popular belief, babies do not wake up only when they are hungry. Since babies do not have a regular daily sleep rhythm, they may continue to wake up at night whether they are formula or breast milk.
Studies have shown that switching to solid foods before 6 months carries risks such as asthma, eczema, allergies and digestive problems. This shows us that it is the healthiest to feed the baby with breast milk unless it is necessary before 6 months. Another study shows that high tryptophan intake increases sleepiness. Tryptophan is found in high protein foods such as meat, cheese, eggs, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, fish and poultry.
The Effect of Technological Tools on Sleep
Children meet at a very early age with television, tablets and smart phones that have entered our lives in our age. There are many apps, games and content for kids to enjoy. In this case, the time spent by children with these vehicles may increase with increasing age. However, besides entertaining children, technological tools also have many disadvantages.
According to a 2013 New Zealand study, 50% of children watch television for half an hour an hour and a half before bedtime. It has been observed that children who watch television an hour or two before bedtime sleep later than those who do not. Similar effects apply to children playing games on a computer or smartphone. For this reason, technological tools should be turned off 2 hours before bedtime and should not be used. For the same reasons, there should be no television in the bedrooms.
Tips for a Comfortable Sleep
– Make sure your child gets daylight outside for at least 20 minutes a day. Studies show that babies who get natural light, especially in the afternoon, sleep better.
– Avoid artificial lights (white light, especially energy-saving led bulbs) as much as possible. In the evening, keep the light as low as possible in your child’s room and use red light if possible.
– Keep away from devices such as television, tablet, phone for two hours before going to bed.
– Sleep with the curtains open during daytime naps. This is important so that it does not lose its daily rhythm and does not interfere with the perception of day and night.
– Wear an old outfit several nights in a row, then let your child take it to bed, cuddle it.
– Massage your child before bedtime with lavender oil or something else, which can be a bedtime routine. Studies show that lavender has a relaxing effect on babies.
– Sing a lullaby for your baby before going to sleep. Sing songs you know or made up with older children.