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Sensory Strategies for Sleeping

Written by Sleepdreams. Posted in Sleep Tips

As occupational therapist, we are specialized in sensory processing and we use this expert knowledge as sleep consultants. We view sleep through this lens to better understand how your child self-regulates from a state of ‘awake’ to a state of calm and then to sleep. Here is a little information about the senses and sleep for your baby or child.

Our sensory system allows us to process and understand the environment around us. Sensory processing is described as the organization of sensation in the brain for use related to every day life activities, such as sleeping, playing and eating. Sensory processing continues during sleep. Here are some sensory strategies to consider in order for your infant, toddler or child get a better night’s sleep. 

Our senses include smell (olfactory), taste (gustatory), vision (visual), proprioception (information from your muscles, tendons and joints), touch (tactile), hearing (auditory), and vestibular (balance).  Here are some tips you can use for some of them: 

Vision: Try to make your child’s room as dark as possible. Consider using blackout curtains, especially during the summer months. No night-lights are needed for children less than 1 year of age. When decorating your child’s room, try to keep the visual stimulations to a minimum and choose calming colours. 

Proprioceptive: Try a quick 5 minute massage prior to bedtime. If a bath is a part of the bedtime routine, give lots of big hugs and gentle squeezes with the towel to provide more deep pressure, which tends to be quite calming. Some infants and children might prefer tighter fitting clothing for pyjamas or a sleep sack to provide more deep pressure input.

Hearing (auditory): Use the same story or song as a part of your bedtime routine every time you put your child to bed. They will find comfort in the same ritual and will begin to associate that auditory input (i.e. song or story) with sleeping. A white noise or sound machine used at 50 decibels (you can download an app to measure decibel levels on your smartphone) will help drown out any sudden noises that might alert and wake your baby or child. Recent studies suggest locating the sound machine as far as possible from your child and setting the volume to its lowest setting. Never place a sound machine in the crib or crib rail and operate it only for a short duration of time.

 

Calming Strategies

Written by Jennifer Garden. Posted in Sleep Tips

Sleep Tips: Calming Strategies

Calming-image

Some sleep help for you and your baby:

When transitioning your child from co-sleeping to sleeping in their own crib you can opt for some calming strategies for your child. As paediatric health care professionals and sleep consultants we can tell you the crib should be a boring place for your little one at bedtime. You want to give the message that it is time to sleep and not to play. Try using a transitional object such as a small stuffed animal with your scent on it (provided they have good head control and can roll). You could also sleep with the crib sheets so they will take on your scent as this is very calming for a child. A white noise or sound machine used at 50 decibels (you can download an app to measure decibel levels on your smartphone) will help drown out any sudden noises that might alert and wake your baby or child. Recent studies suggest locating the sound machine as far as possible from your child and setting the volume to its lowest setting. Never place a sound machine in the crib or crib rail and operate it only for a short duration of time. 

Our services are covered under many extended health care benefit plans! If you're looking for a good night's sleep or want some extra sleep help for your baby, give us a call first and find out why our paediatric healthcare professionals who specialize in sleep will make all the difference!

New research on Naps

Written by Jennifer Garden. Posted in Blog

A good sleep consultant will emphasize that naps are very important for your baby or child.  Many parents believe that their child at 2 – 2 1/2 years of age have finished napping. What’s happening is typical toddler behaviour where they are getting a little more control and sometimes decide they are just not going to sleep that day. This is common and happens often but it’s not to say they don’t need to sleep. By providing good sleep help for your child you will find that this will change in a day or so if you stick to your learned sleep training. Give us a call if you are having trouble and a SleepdreamsTM sleep consultant will help get your kids napping again! Most children need to nap until age 4 – 5 years.  Here’s why naps are crucial: CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO 

If you are still having problems call us at 604.985.2991 local or 877.985.2991 toll free. Remember that as Registered Occupational Therapists specializing in sleep, many extended health care plans recognize and cover the costs of our services.

Breast Feeding Counsellor

Written by Super User. Posted in Blog

A quick note to recognize that Jennifer has completed the Douglas College Breastfeeding Course for Healthcare Providers. She combines her studies and personal experience breast feeding twins of her own as an additional tool to help you and your child.