When Is Sleep Training Needed?
Sleep training isn’t necessary because something’s wrong with your parenting or your baby. Not at all.
Sleep training is needed when you’ve done everything you know how to do and you’re still exhausted and simply need some help. It’s not a reflection of your ability as a mom or on your child’s future or anything like that. It’s simply support and a solution to your baby’s (and your own!) need for sleep and your desire to make it happen peacefully, simply, and relatively quickly.
So if you’re looking at your current sleep routine and thinking it needs help, that’s when sleep training is needed.
What Is Involved In Sleep Training?
Well, first of all it is going to take patience and dedication. As much as you’d like to call your sleep consultant and then sleep for a consecutive 8 hours, it doesn’t work that way.
It’ll take a little bit of time, but if you’re patient and committed to the process, sleep training does work.
And then it takes consistency. You’ll have to show your little one, consistently, that you are dedicated to this process by sticking with it every day. Consistency is crucial.
5 Benefits Of Sleep For Children
Sleeping through the night offers a myriad of benefits. Truly, sleep is so important for everything from play to health to behavior.
Sleep Boosts The Immune System
That’s right, a child who sleeps well has an advantage in the staying healthy department.
Your body produces cytokines during sleep and those are necessary for fighting stress and sickness. So when your child gets enough rest, their bodies are more able to fend off illness. (1)
Sleep Helps Baby Grow
The majority of growth happens during sleep, too. And to grow well, your sweet little one needs to spend about half the hours of the day sleeping. (2)
Sleep Helps Babies Learn
This might seem obvious because it’s hard to learn anything when you’re over tired, but it’s more than that as well. A 2010 study shows that babies actually learn while they’re sleeping, too! (3)
Sleeps Aids In Preventing Obesity
Babies who learn to soothe without food will be less likely to grow into older children who soothe with food and this will help them not be overweight or have to fight with childhood obesity.
Also, well rested children are more active, and activity helps keep bodies healthier and less obese. (4)
Sleep Helps Avoid Getting Hurt
That’s right…sleep even helps kids avoid injuries. Tired toddlers are clumsier and more likely to hurt themselves. Also, sleep and impulse control are tightly linked and a well rested little one will make less daring choices. (5)
Sleep Is Good For Parents, Too!
Your little one isn’t the only one who is going to benefit from getting more sleep; you will, too.
Just as sleep is equipping your child’s body with the needed tools to stay healthy, it will do the same for you. To be the absolutely best parent you can be, you need a healthy body, right?
That same sleep that keeps your child’s immune system boosted, helps them learn and grow, prevents childhood obesity, and helps them avoid injury will do the same for you.
When you prioritize rest for the both of you, you increase your ability to be alert, respond quickly when needed, and make quick (and wiser) judgement calls than you would if you were exhausted. These are essential for parenthood.
You’ll also be able to fight off sickness better, recover more quickly when you do get sick, and handle stress better because a lot of those building blocks are created during your sleep hours.
So while it might seem stressful spending time training your child to sleep well, several days to a couple of weeks of work will pay off in a lifetime so healthy sleep habits.
- J Sleep Res. 2014 Apr; 23(2): 133–142.
- Sleep. 2011 May 1; 34(5): 641–650.
- Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2010 Jun 1; 107(22): 10320–10323.
- Curr Opin Endocrinol Diabetes Obes. 2015 Feb; 22(1): 41–47.
- Sleep. 2008 Jan 1; 31(1): 71–78.