Why Sleep is Important

Written by Jennifer Garden. Posted in Sleep Tips

A baby's daily activities may seem simple but they are still very important activities. Babies wake, eat, play (which is key to learning and development) and sleep. They are learning all the important ways in which to move their body, to communicate with you and to have their needs met. Your infant / baby / toddler / child needs adequate sleep as it's a foundational activity of daily living. When you suffer a sleep debt, all facets of activity suffer as a consequence. We know as adults, if we don't sleep well we can be moody, irritable and unable to think clearly. To give you an idea as to how much so, consider the following: Having less than 5 hours of sleep on two consecutive nights means your thinking, judgment, reasoning and decision making are equivalent to having a 0.08 blood alcohol level.

Sleep is essential for normal growth and development, and current research shows that 25-30% of children are not getting enough sleep. Development for a child means they must learn gross motor skills (e.g. learning to roll, sit, crawl, walk and run), fine motor skills (e.g. learning to feed themselves, play with a rattle, and manipulate toys) and social and language skills (e.g. learning to communicate and socialize with others). Healthy development stages are served better with an appropriate amount of sleep.

Sleepdreams professionals help babies get the sleep help they need. Remember that as Registered Occupational Therapists specializing in sleep, many extended health care plans recognize and cover the costs of our services. 

 

 

How Long Should your Child Sleep?

Written by Jennifer Garden. Posted in Sleep Tips

SleepdreamsTM professional sleep consultants are a research based practice. We provide sleep help based on current sleep data compiled by experts in the field of sleep research.

Results from study completed by Iglowstein et al (2003) reporting total  quiet time in crib/bed up to 16 years of age. Data only provided to 5 years of age in this chart. Data are separated into total sleep, daytime sleep and night time sleep at different ages. Numbers in + are reported as one standard deviation (e.g. representing 68% of population). Please note, at 1 month of age, data are variable.

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) and 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 minutes 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.

 

Sleep Tips Circadian Rhythm

Written by Jennifer Garden. Posted in Sleep Tips

According to research, external cues such as light from outside are a major contributor to circadian rhythm sleep disturbances. Use blackout blinds to eliminate light coming into your baby or child’s room during naptime or night-time sleep. This helps program your child’s circadian rhythm to provide him or her with the sleep needed.

Calming Strategies

Written by Jennifer Garden. Posted in Sleep Tips

CALMING STRATEGIES

Calming-image

As sleep consultants, we offer sleep help in the form of calming strategies that work with an individual baby. When transitioning your child from co-sleeping to sleeping in their own crib you can opt for some calming strategies for your child. The crib should be a boring place for your little one at bedtime so you are giving the message that it is time to sleep and not to play. Try using a transitional object such as a small stuffed