Learn effective strategies for beating jet lag after moving to a new time zone. Overcoming jet lag after a move is essential for a smooth transition.
Moving to a new time zone can be an exciting adventure, but it often comes with the downside of dealing with jet lag. Overcoming jet lag after a move is crucial to settling into your new environment and maintaining your daily routine. In this guide, our sleep experts explore some practical tips and strategies to help you adjust to new time zones and beat jet lag effectively.
Understanding Jet Lag
Before we delve into the tips for overcoming jet lag after a move, it's essential to understand what it is and why it occurs. Jet lag, scientifically known as desynchronosis, is a temporary sleep disorder that occurs when your internal body clock, also known as your circadian rhythm, is out of sync with the time zone you're in. This misalignment can result in various symptoms, such as fatigue, insomnia, irritability, and difficulty concentrating.
Create a Comfy Sleeping Area
Creating a comfortable space is paramount when it comes to overcoming jet lag after a move. A cozy and inviting environment can significantly impact your ability to rest and reset your internal clock. Take the time to make your new space more comfy by adding familiar items, soft furnishings, and soothing colors that promote relaxation. Pay special attention to your bedroom; create a cozy bedroom in your new home with comfortable bedding and blackout curtains to ensure a peaceful night's sleep. A well-designed and comforting space can go a long way in helping you adjust to your new time zone and recover from the effects of jet lag more quickly.
Gradually Shift Your Sleep Schedule
One of the most effective ways to overcome jet lag after a move is to gradually shift your sleep schedule before you depart. If possible, start adjusting your sleep and wake times a few days before your move. This will help your body begin to adapt to the new time zone, making the transition smoother.
Stay Hydrated and Avoid Alcohol
Dehydration can exacerbate the symptoms of jet lag, so it's crucial to stay well-hydrated throughout your journey and after you arrive at your new destination. Limit your intake of caffeinated and alcoholic beverages, as they can dehydrate you and disrupt your sleep patterns.
Get Exposure to Natural Light
Exposure to natural light plays a significant role in regulating your body's internal clock. Spend time outdoors during daylight hours, especially in the morning, to help your body adjust to the new time zone. This exposure to natural light will help signal to your body that it's time to be awake.
Consider opening curtains and blinds in your new home to allow as much natural light in as possible. If the weather permits, take short breaks during your day to step outside and soak up the sunlight. Even a brief stroll around your new neighborhood can do wonders for resetting your internal clock.
Avoid Heavy Meals Before Bedtime
Eating heavy meals before bedtime can interfere with your sleep quality and make it more challenging to overcome jet lag. Try having lighter meals in the evening, and avoid consuming large quantities of food close to bedtime.
When overcoming jet lag after a move, opt for foods that are easy to digest, such as lean proteins, vegetables, and whole grains. These choices can promote better sleep and prevent discomfort during the night. Additionally, consider having a small, balanced snack if you find yourself hungry before bed, as going to sleep with an empty stomach can also disrupt your sleep patterns. Paying attention to your diet can further enhance your ability to adjust to your new time zone.
Use Sleep Aids Sparingly
While it may be tempting to rely on sleep aids or medications to combat jet lag, it's generally best to use them sparingly and under the guidance of a healthcare professional. Some sleep aids can have side effects and may not be suitable for everyone.
It's essential to remember that sleep aids are intended for short-term use and should not become a long-term solution. Prolonged reliance on sleep aids can lead to dependency and may not address the underlying issue of adjusting to the new time zone. Instead, focus on natural strategies to regulate your sleep patterns.
Establish a Consistent Routine
Once you've arrived at your new destination, establish a consistent daily routine as soon as possible. This includes regular meal times, exercise, and bedtime. A structured routine can help your body adjust to the new time zone more quickly.
Maintaining a consistent routine can also help reduce stress and anxiety associated with the move. Having a predictable schedule provides a sense of stability and control, which can be particularly comforting during the adjustment period. So, create a daily plan that suits your lifestyle and adheres to the local time zone, and stick to it as closely as possible.
Stay Active and Stay Awake Until Bedtime
Engaging in physical activity can help combat the effects of jet lag. Try to incorporate regular exercise into your daily routine, but avoid vigorous workouts close to bedtime, as they may have the opposite effect and make it harder to fall asleep.
Resist the urge to take long naps during the day, as this can disrupt your ability to adjust to the new time zone. Instead, try to stay awake until your usual bedtime, even if you're feeling tired. This will help reset your internal clock.
Consider Melatonin Supplements
Melatonin is a hormone that helps regulate sleep-wake cycles. Consult with a healthcare professional about the appropriate use of melatonin supplements to help you adjust to the new time zone. Using them as directed and only for a short period is essential.
Conclusion: Overcoming Jet Lag After a MoveAdjusting to a new time zone after a move doesn't have to be a daunting task. By following these practical tips and strategies, you can minimize the effects of jet lag and make your transition smoother. Remember that everyone's body is different, so it may take some time to fully adjust. Be patient with yourself and give your body the time it needs to adapt to the new time zone.
Incorporating these techniques into your routine can help in overcoming jet lag after a move and getting back to enjoying your new surroundings. With proper planning and a little patience, you'll be well on your way to a restful night's sleep and an exciting new chapter in your life.
Photo via Pexels
Design a sleep-friendly bedroom in your new home with these expert tips for optimal design and enhance your sleep quality.
Moving into a new home in Virginia is an exciting venture, full of opportunities to infuse your personal style and preferences into your living space. One of the most crucial areas to focus on is the bedroom, where you rest and recharge after a long day. A well-designed, sleep-friendly bedroom can significantly affect the quality of your sleep and overall well-being. Join us as we explore practical and effective ways to design a sleep-friendly bedroom and craft a serene sleep oasis that promotes relaxation and restfulness.
Where to Begin
You may have been overwhelmed by the very process of relocating, even to begin your design adventure. Or if you have had proper help choosing the right local moving company and hiring local movers in Virginia, you are ready to roll up your sleeves and dive in. Unlike the moving part of the journey, designing areas of your new home will be a fun and rewarding experience for the whole family. If, however, you don’t have a penchant for such endeavors—hire someone who does! Whichever path you take, ensure you infuse your style into your sleep-friendly bedroom so you can enjoy it for years to come.
Choosing Calming Colors and Natural Elements
The colors you choose for your bedroom can significantly impact your sleep quality. Opt for soft, muted tones such as soothing blues, gentle greens, or tranquil grays. These colors have been shown to have a calming effect on the mind, helping you unwind after a busy day. Avoid bold and vibrant colors that might stimulate your senses and hinder your ability to relax.
Bringing elements of nature into your bedroom design can have a calming effect. Consider adding indoor plants known for their air-purifying properties, such as aloe vera or lavender. Natural materials like wooden furniture or stone accents can also contribute to a soothing and cozy atmosphere.
Investing in a Quality Mattress and Pillows
Designing a sleep-friendly bedroom goes beyond aesthetics. Your choice of mattress and pillows is pivotal in your sleep comfort. Choose a mattress that provides adequate support for your body and aligns your spine. Similarly, opt for pillows that cater to your preferred sleeping position to prevent neck and back discomfort.
Remember that everyone's body is unique, so take the time to test different mattress firmness levels and pillow thicknesses to find the perfect combination that suits you. Investing in high-quality bedding essentials enhances your physical comfort and contributes to a sense of luxury and relaxation in your sleep sanctuary.
Controlling Natural and Artificial Light
Lighting has a significant impact on your body's internal clock, also known as the circadian rhythm. Consider installing blackout curtains to block out external light sources that might disrupt your sleep when designing your bedroom. Additionally, incorporate adjustable lighting options to create a soothing ambiance in the evening, mimicking the gradual transition from daylight to darkness.
Declutter for Serenity
A cluttered environment can contribute to a cluttered mind, making it challenging to unwind and fall asleep. Keep your bedroom organized and clutter-free by incorporating ample storage solutions. Design a sleep-friendly bedroom by placing items out of sight and embracing a minimalist approach to decor.
A clutter-free space not only promotes physical relaxation but also nurtures mental clarity. When your bedroom is organized and free of unnecessary items, your mind can better disengage from the chaos of the day. The minimalist decor exudes a serene ambiance and encourages a sense of calm within. Consider multifunctional furniture that combines storage with style, such as a bed with built-in drawers or a sleek nightstand with compartments. By consciously curating your surroundings, you provide yourself with a tranquil retreat where you can escape the demands of the world and embrace the peacefulness necessary for a good night's sleep.
Creating a Technology-Free Zone
It's tempting to use electronic devices before bedtime in today's digital age. However, the blue light emitted by screens can interfere with your body's production of melatonin, a hormone that regulates sleep. Design a sleep-friendly bedroom by keeping technology out of the sleeping area. Instead, create a dedicated charging station outside the bedroom to discourage late-night screen time.
Prioritizing Comfortable Bedding
Your choice of bedding can make a significant difference in your sleep quality. Opt for soft, breathable, and high-quality sheets and blankets. Natural materials like cotton and linen are excellent options. Ensure that your bedding provides the right level of warmth for your preferences to promote uninterrupted sleep.
Consider investing in a comfortable and supportive mattress to complement your bedding ensemble. A mattress that suits your sleeping style and body type can alleviate pressure points and contribute to a more restful slumber. Remember, the combination of the right mattress and bedding can create a cocoon of comfort that embraces you as you drift off into dreamland.
Soundproofing for Tranquility
Noise pollution can disturb your sleep and leave you feeling fatigued the next day. To design a sleep-friendly bedroom, consider soundproofing strategies such as using heavy curtains, installing a white noise machine, or placing bookshelves against walls that face noisy areas.
Personalizing Your Sleep Space
Make your bedroom truly yours by incorporating personal touches that bring you joy and comfort. Display artwork that soothes your senses add plush rugs that tickle your toes, or hang curtains that resonate with your style. Personalization can contribute to a stronger emotional connection with your sleep space.
Consider creating a cozy reading nook in a corner, complete with a comfortable chair and a soft blanket, where you can unwind before bedtime. A dedicated space for relaxation and leisure activities within your sleep-friendly bedroom adds an extra layer of comfort and tranquility to the overall ambiance. This personalized haven will enhance your sleep quality and provide a sanctuary where you can escape the stresses of the day.
Successfully Design a Sleep-Friendly Bedroom in Your New Home
In conclusion, the design of your bedroom can significantly impact your sleep quality and overall well-being. You can create a sleep-friendly bedroom that becomes your haven of relaxation by carefully considering aspects such as color choices, lighting, bedding, and personalization. Remember that designing a sleep-friendly bedroom is an ongoing process; periodically assess and adjust your space to ensure it continues to meet your evolving needs. Your new home's bedroom has the potential to become the ultimate sanctuary for rest, contributing to a healthier and more fulfilling lifestyle. Sweet dreams and restful nights await after you design a sleep-friendly bedroom in your new home.
Photo via Pexels
Having a child can be a pretty jarring experience. From pregnancy, to labor, to life with a new little human; realizing that you are responsible for another little life is a huge reality check. We make sacrifices for our children daily out of love and sometimes necessity. But having a child does not mean that mom and/or dad need to forget about their own needs. Parenthood is like a game where you need to find the perfect combo to meet everyone's needs sufficiently, including your own. Sleep is a huge necessity for parents! All humans need sleep to function and a lack of sleep can seriously impact your mood, ability to care for your family, and your overall well being. Having your child sleep in your bed may greatly impact the amount and the quality of sleep you are getting. What do you do when your child wants to sleep in your bed?
Set a hard boundary.
This can be a tough thing to do but parenting is, quite frankly, not easy. The best thing you can do for yourself and your child if you do not want them sleeping in your bed is to simply not let them. Of course, I know this may result in tantrums and loss of sleep for the family at first. But holding this boundary will show your child that you value good sleep for everyone in the family and you prioritize taking care of yourself (which will teach them to prioritize their own needs in the future!).
If you’ve decided that you no longer want your child in your bed with you, I suggest having an honest, open mindset. Accept that this transition may be hard for a while but will be worth it in the long run once everyone is sleeping well in their own space. During the day, offer your child lots of snuggles and physical affection so they can still feel close to you. Sleeping in their own bed takes away the feeling of physical closeness they enjoyed when co-sleeping with you. As you transition your child to their own bed, stay with them in their room and comfort them. This will help them to not feel completely abandoned. As time goes on, your child will get used to being in their bed by themselves. You can decide how long to stay in the room. Try making a routine of reading them a story before leaving or set a limit for how long you will be in their room. For the first night it may be necessary to stay until they fall asleep. Figure out what works best for both you and your child, but continue to hold firm to the fact that their bed is where they are expected to sleep.
If you’re trying to transition your child out of your bed and having difficulty, book a 15 minute discovery call with me and we can troubleshoot together!
In this era of economic uncertainty, many parents searching for sleep training help for their toddlers, babies and children are coming up with creative ways to help pay for all of that support and assistance to get their children sleeping all night. Working with an experienced, knowledgeable pediatric sleep coach can be a big financial commitment.
Hiring a sleep consultant or sleep trainer can be costly depending on the sleep consultant’s experience and services offered, so make sure you now exactly what you’re getting for your money.
Since I trained as a sleep consultant 8 years ago, it’s become much more common for parents to seek assistance with sleep training, yet insurance companies haven’t quite caught up and cover it along with other insurance benefits such as lactation consultants and chiropractors.
One avenue parents have researched is how to get their medical insurance to pay for it. Now it's not guaranteed that insurance will pay for sleep training but it’s possible you can use your flexible spending account (FSA) or health savings account (HSA) to pay for it. I’ve had a few clients come back to tell me they successfully had my services paid for by their insurance.
First, check with your individual insurance carrier to see if they cover Sleep Services, Newborn Care particularly out of network Sleep Consultants. make sure that you find out exactly what you'll need in order to be paid. Sleep Consultants are considered alternative, out of network therapies, thus requiring parents to pay upfront and be reimbursed by their insurance company. Make sure that you check with your carrier to see if they cover it.
Determine the Required Documents
Your insurance company should be able to tell you exactly what paperwork is required, such as a detailed invoice, dates of service, exactly what services are being utilized or diagnosis code.
How to Pay for a Sleep Consultant
You may need to pay upfront and be reimbursed, or use your HSA debit card to pay. Either way, you’ll get a detailed receipt that you can send back for reimbursement.
Finding a sleep consultant near you that fits your family both in personality, their services and support can be a big financial decision and families should explore alternative routes.
And if you are not able to get your health insurance to pay for a sleep coach or consultant, there are a few other alternative routes including crowdsourcing, gift certificates and buy now- pay later options as well. If you find a sleep consultant that you really want to work with and feel they believe the service they offer is worth it, look at different ways of paying for it so that you and your child can get to sleep that you need.
As technology continues to progress, there is always some kind of new flashy new baby gear that claims to make your baby sleep. Registries grow and become more complicated. The choices are never ending! New parents find themselves torn over which items to buy that will give them the *most* success in the newborn and baby years. With all of the new, advanced sleep options for baby, it’s important to think long-term before rushing to purchase the newest baby gear.
Have you heard of the Snoo bassinet? The Snoo is a bassinet made by the company Happiest Baby that comes equipped with sound sensors, wifi, white noise speakers and a robotic motor that rocks your baby to sleep if your baby makes noise. Sounds incredibly fancy, right? All of that sleepy time magic comes with the price tag of $1,600. You also have the option now to rent a snoo near you at a cost of $500 per month!
Parents frequently ask me my opinion of the Snoo. I’ve worked with many clients that started out working with me when their baby was in the Snoo and we successfully transitioned to a crib. All the babies are sleeping well…now. Here are a few things you should consider before jumping in to buy or rent a Snoo.
How does the Snoo work?
The Snoo is an all-in-one bassinet and baby soother. It gives you the smaller space required to have your newborn sleep in your room without taking up much space, has white noise and rocks your baby to sleep. So, does it work…in short…yes! But only for a while. Online reviews rave about how well the Snoo rocks your baby back to sleep. Having the bassinet do all the work for you sounds amazing! The added sound machine and the included swaddle are both accessories of the Snoo, eliminating the need to get these separately. The biggest downside to the Snoo is the creation of a dependency on motion to get your child to sleep. When baby outgrows it or reaches the recommended age limit, you’ll need to transition to a full sized crib, mini-crib or portable crib and you’ll need to work on getting baby to sleep without motion or rocking.
What’s the cost of getting a newborn to sleep?
This first thing that jumps out at me when considering the Snoo is the price tag. $1,600 for a bassinet?! However, as a sleep consultant, I truly believe that good sleep is priceless! Consider this; a bassinet is not forever, it’s a good tool to use for a few months of life.
While a crib can be used for several years, a bassinet is typically used for about 6 months (and that’s if baby doesn’t outgrow it sooner!). All things considered, your baby will be using this bassinet for roughly 180 days. And once baby outgrows the Snoo, you’ll still need a full sized crib! For some, it’s a great tool, for others they might want to get more bang for their buck.
Will I still have to sleep train if I use the Snoo?
If you think of falling asleep like a skill that we have to learn, then yes, you will have to eventually teach baby to fall asleep without the motion of the Snoo. For instance, if a baby is constantly being rocked to sleep by a bassinet, they form a sleep habit. Once it comes time to transition from the Snoo to the crib, then this habit will need to be changed in order to teach baby how to fall asleep without the motion. The transition may prove to be harder than it would be with a standard bassinet or portable cri,b and parents should consider if this challenge is worth it.
For some babies, the change from the Snoo to a crib can be hard and will require some prior planning to manage the transition. Weaning and transitioning from the Snoo can be done cold turkey but parents should consider gentler methods to do it as well.
So what should you do?
No matter what bassinet you use, you and your baby CAN achieve good sleep. By doing a bit of research and weighing out the options, you and your partner can make the right decision for your family.
What about you? Have you ever used a Snoo? What are your honest reviews? I would love to hear your thoughts!
And if you’re not sure how to transition out of the Snoo, please reach out.
There are three key aspects to focus on in helping your child develop healthy and effective sleep habits. When working with clients, here is what I focus on first:
1. A Regular Bedtime Routine
Little ones thrive on consistency. They look to us, the parents/caretakers, to guide them in what they should be doing and how/when/where they should be doing it. This is why it is so important to develop routines. Babies and toddlers need consistent routines to orient themselves to where they are in their day and be able to anticipate what is coming next. Creating a regular bedtime routine that begins at (relatively) the same time each night will cue your baby to the fact that it is almost time to sleep. A simple bath, pajamas, a story/song, then off to bed routine can do wonders as long as you repeat the same actions in the same order each night.. Develop your routine based on what works best for you and your child!
2. Boundaries Around Sleep
If you’ve been around a toddler for more than 5 minutes you’ll know that they love to push boundaries. This is a completely normal developmental milestone, and it’s important for toddlers because they are looking to you to communicate to them what is allowed and what is not. To avoid frustration and confusion, it is important to set clear boundaries for our children, and sleep habits are no exception. Beginning when Baby is young, you can communicate that the expectation at bedtime is for them to sleep in their own bed. Other boundaries you can enforce could be keeping the baby in their room/bed until a certain time each morning (who wants to get up at 5am??) or making sure your toddler is staying in their bed all night. Decide on some healthy boundaries that will serve everyone in your household.
3. Consistency and Holding Boundaries
With both of the above tips, consistency is key. As I mentioned before, babies and toddlers look to us to orient themselves within their day and the world at large. Keeping consistent routines and boundaries allows them to know what to expect as well as how to act. This is crucial for them to be able to develop a sense of security and understand the world around them. You’ll begin to notice your toddler taking initiative when you prompt them to begin their bedtime routine. Keep it consistent and everyone will be on the same page!
What does your bedtime routine look like? What healthy boundaries have allowed your child to develop good sleep habits?
I want to take a minute today to unpack a question I get asked a lot as a sleep consultant; when is the best time to sleep train my baby/toddler?
The answer to this question varies for everyone, but it has to be when you’re ready! If your baby or toddler is sleeping well all night, you and your spouse/partner are sleeping 7-8 hours at night and you love your situation, then rock on!
If you’ve decided that your situation is no longer working for you, you’re not getting enough sleep, your child is up half the night and everyone is sleep deprived, it might be time to change what you’re doing to improve your child’s sleep.
Here are a few guidelines you need to consider before starting any sleep training method.
When your child is healthy
If your baby or toddler is having a hard time sleeping due to a cold or illness, it’s not a good time to start making changes. We want to give our child the best circumstances to succeed at sleep training, so wait until they are physically feeling their best. This applies to teething babies too or babies who have recently received vaccinations.
When you have a plan
A big mistake parents make is jumping into sleep training without having a solid plan of how they’re going to do it. Have you decided what method you’re using? Do you know what to do in different situations? What boundaries have you set surrounding sleep training? Are you and your partner on the same page? Make a plan together to make sure you are on the same page and can support one another through this transition.
Make sure that you and your partner/spouse are clear in your roles and how you’ll handle things such as getting your little one to fall asleep, night wakeups and naps.
When you are ready to commit
Babies and children learn through consistency and routine. Make sure you are ready to make changes to your current sleep routine and you can commit to a sleep training plan for at least a few days. If you’re not ready, no sweat! Wait until a time when both you and your partner can fully commit together.
Have you experienced failed attempts at sleep training? Did you try sleep training on your own and it didn’t work? What aspect of sleep training doesn’t seem to be working for you? Reflecting on past experiences using these guidelines can set you up for success in your sleep training journey.
And if you need any help answering your questions, set up a free call with me to help pinpoint the issue and determine the steps you need to get your kiddo sleeping all night long.
By Evie Ebert
Tired parents are desperate to get their kids to sleep. There’s a whole industry designed to help (for a fee).
I remember when I reached my breaking point with my son’s sleep. He had faced big changes to his little life over the previous year: an interstate move, a new house, a new preschool, and the arrival of his baby sister. His routines suffered for it, and his bedtime demands had become increasingly baroque and desperate.
If my husband or I didn’t stay in the room with him until he fell asleep, he would explode with panic. “I’m all alone and I’m only 3 years old!” he wailed through a sheet of tears and mucus. If we left the room, he hurled his body against the door like a moth thumping a porch light.
This particular night, my husband was out of town, leaving me solo with both kids. Hours since I’d gotten him in his jammies, my son was still awake and his protests were threatening to wake the baby. This risk was unacceptable.
I pulled him out of their shared bedroom and into “the big bed” with me. The lights were off but his little overtired body wouldn’t stop twitching and jerking with excitement. As his heels jabbed at my ribs (“I’m just stretching”), I directed my phone’s glow away from his face and fired off a deranged missive via online form. Christine emailed me back the next morning.
“One of the top times that I get emails from tired parents is somewhere between midnight and 2 am,” says Christine Stevens, who owns Sleep Solutions by Christine. Stevens is a certified child and infant sleep consultant, a professional who offers services to families struggling with behavioral childhood sleep problems. She is one of the growing league of such professionals around the globe, a cohort of providers who fill this need for exhausted families.
Walking through a large store last weekend with my daughter, she asked to go through the Halloween section. I’ll admit I was a bit surprised but also excited that she’s starting to enjoy one of my favorite holidays! We turned down the aisle and she ran right past the candy, the girly costumes, the silly masks… then stopped cold in her tracks in the face of a creepy looking clown thing that you hang up on your front porch to greet trick or treaters. The look on her face said it all… Yikes!
In this exclusive online webinar, you will learn my 5 Simple Solutions to Help Your Baby Sleep. This is perfect for you if you spend night after night dreading bedtime, feel frustrated that your child wakes so quickly after you get them into their crib and worry that your child will never sleep through the night.
You will learn:
I often get asked by parents about my recommendations for my favorite sleep things items that are out there on the market to help children sleep at night, so I thought I’d share the Sleep Solutions by Christine list of the best items out there I’ve found.
There are plenty of lists out there telling you about the hottest baby items to help your child sleep. According to one list, all the items related to sleep totaled more than $3000! The thing is… do you know anyone who’s used them or recommended them? Are they even safe to use? I have you covered! And I wouldn’t recommend anything that I wouldn’t use with my own child or one of my clients.
My list of favorite sleep items for your child
Used all over by parents, hospitals and daycares to give babies warmth as well as a safe sleep environment, it’s a must-have for all babies under the age of 12 months. Get the one that allows baby’s arms out and free to move so they can self soothe by sucking on their hands or be able to roll if they want to. This simple piece of clothing can be easily be used as part of your bedtime routine or whenever baby sleeps to provide warmth and a snuggly feeling. Available in sizes to fit toddlers as well, they can also help keep a toddler from climbing out of the crib!
Got another child running through the house, pets that can’t seem to stop running through the house or creaky floors? A white noise machine is a great way to drown out the noise. The best one stays at a stays on all night and at a constant sound. My fav, the Marpac Dohm white noise sound machine, is simple, portable (we take it everywhere) and the noise level can be easily adjusted to whatever level you need. Be sure to keep it low enough that you can talk over it and place it in between the noise you want to drown out (such as the hallway) and the baby to act as a simple noise barrier.
Struggling with early wakeups and toddlers running through the house at 2:00am thinking it’s time to get up for the day? I recommend the Ok to Wake! color changing clock for toddlers. Even when she was in the crib, we used a clock with our daughter at 18 months to get her used to the idea that when the clock turns green, it’s ok to get up for the day. The clock is a visual reminder to toddlers for wake up time before they can tell the time. I’ve tried a few clocks and this one was by far the easiest to program. It’s so easy to set the clock and the desired wakeup time (usually 7:00am). Use it as part of a reward and consequence system to teach your child when to stay in bed and sleep and when it’s time to get up for the day.
Traveling anytime soon? You need the Gro Company Gro-Anywhere Blinds. While most hotels have good blackout curtains, what about Grandma’s house? These portable and adjustable blackout curtains can be attached to any window using suction cups to darken a room, whether it already has curtains or a cute little valence that does nothing other than dress up the window. A must if you’re going on the road this summer.
The Fridababy NoseFrida Nasal Aspirator. When you have a sick baby or child, you want nothing more than to make them as comfortable as possible. This product is amazing to say the least. Compared to the silly bulb syringe that you get from the hospital, this actually sucks out the mucus from your baby’s nose. No, you won’t actually suck it into your own mouth, since there’s a handy little filter at the top of the tube so you don’t inhale green gooey-ness. It’s the best way I’ve found to clear a little one’s nasal passage.
If you add these few items to your registry or pick them up the next time you’re on Amazon, you won’t be disappointed. You can literally spend thousands of dollars on items your local baby store will tell you that will help your baby sleep. Don’t waste your money (especially on moving bassinets, which I’ll cover in another blog post) because working with a sleep consultant is WAY cheaper and lasts beyond the first few months.
Have questions about your child’s lovey or other sleep related questions? Schedule a free call with me to begin your journey to a better night's sleep!
Did you have a lovey as a child? I’ll admit that I still have my pink crocheted blanket. It’s no longer on my bed, but I can’t bear to get rid of something so dear to me that brought me comfort and happy memories.
I always ask families if their child has a lovey. You might call them security blankets, wubbies, snuggle bunnies, blankies, etc but they are all the same thing…they are an object that your child takes to bed with them whenever they sleep for comfort and security.
Loveys can be a comforting way for your child to sleep and become one of your child’s strategies for falling asleep.
I recommend parents introduce a lovey between 4 to 6 months of age.
But how do you choose which one? And what if my child doesn’t like it?
Make sure the lovey is something small, such as a small stuffed animal or small blanket, about the size of a face cloth that the child can easily find in the dark. The benefit of a lovey is that it’s something baby can find in the middle night by themselves and doesn’t require your assistance.
Their lovey shouldn’t make noise, such as a rattle or crinkle sound; it shouldn’t light up and shouldn’t have pieces that can be choking hazards, such as buttons for eyes.
You may notice that your child has a particular attraction to a small stuffed animal during playtime. Once you’ve identified the new lovey, include it in activities during the day such as tummy time and when they’re traveling in their car seat.
One of the oldest tricks in the book when it comes to getting babies to sleep through the night is the old “cereal in the bottle” trick. It’s been used and recommended by parents for generations. As adults, we know that sleeping on an empty stomach isn’t easy, so I can understand why it’s so popular.
We also know that staying awake when you’ve just eaten a huge meal is nearly impossible.
The idea that a little cereal in baby’s bottle of breastmilk or formula, will keep them feeling full for longer, and therefore help them sleep through the night, seems like a reasonable suggestion.
Now, any parent who has experienced a baby who isn’t sleeping well is probably anxious to find the reason why, and is likely to try anything they see as safe and potentially effective. Unfortunately, the vast majority of parents who use this trick find that, even if it’s successful at first, the results are only temporary, and here’s the reason why...
Once your baby reaches a certain age and weight, (I’ll just use the 6 month mark here as a happy medium) waking in the night isn’t all about food and being hungry. Sure, baby might have nursed a little every time they were offered the breast or bottle, but that doesn’t mean that they were hungry.
The likely scenario is that baby’s become dependent on nursing as a method to get to sleep.
After all, if they’ve nursed to sleep every time they’ve woken up for the first six months of their lives, it only makes sense that they won’t be able to get to sleep without that familiar routine.
Putting cereal in the bottle works on the idea that babies fall asleep at bedtime and don’t wake up until morning, assuming there’s nothing bothering them, but that’s not how sleep works. Not for babies and not for adults. We all cycle in and out of deep sleep, and at the end of every cycle, we tend to wake up. Maybe not fully, but we do attain a certain level of consciousness.
In babies, that cycle is usually about 45 minutes, so even on a good night, they’re going to wake up a lot. And if the only way they know how to get to sleep is by nursing, they’re going to cry to get your attention, and wait for you to come in and help them out.
So if it’s got nothing to do with hunger, how can you help them sleep through the night? The solution to the issue, not the “hack” or quick fix, but the actual remedy, is teaching your baby to fall asleep independently.
That might seem like a tall order for a 6 month old, but I assure you, they’re fully capable of learning this invaluable skill. It’s natural, and they typically take to it faster than you would expect. Lots of babies will babble to themselves for a bit, or rub their feet together, or suck on their fingers, or some combination of all three. Let them discover these strategies on their own, and then let them practice them a little.
I’m definitely not saying that you should shut the door and leave a crying baby to figure things out without any comfort or attention. Repeat…I am not saying you have to ignore your baby in order to get them to fall asleep. You should feel free to attend to them, let them know you’re nearby and available, but don’t rock, nurse, or bounce them until they fall asleep. Let them find a way to do it on their own. That way, when they wake in the night, they’ll have the skills they need to settle back down on their own.
Would you like to know the truth about other sleep myths? Let me know what you are interested in learning about next in the comments down below!
So whom would you say is the parent that gets the bulk of nighttime responsibility for getting up with your child? I know what you’re thinking…and yes, in my experience, it’s usually mom.
I don’t want to stereotype, but I usually don’t get calls where both parents share all the nighttime duties and everyone is sleeping like a baby all night. I usually get calls from exhausted parents who are having issues getting their babies to sleep and usually have to have something done to them to get them back to sleep at night, otherwise known as a prop. The most common of which usually is not Dad’s doing…
And the most common prop I see, by far, is nursing, which pretty much leaves Dad out of the equation.
Now, this is a problem for a couple of reasons. Obviously, if baby’s waking up six times a night and demanding Mom come in to nurse her back to sleep, that’s taxing on mother and baby. But there’s another person who tends to suffer in this scenario, and that’s Dad. It might be hard to imagine, some of you may be reading this in the middle of the night while baby is having a party, and you know your husband is in dream land in the next room.
But let’s not wish him to share in our pain just yet.
Dads want to be great dads. They want to have an active role in bringing up their kids, and they love it when they feel like they’re succeeding in that role. But because Mom is the one with the magical breast milk, touch and smell, Dad often feels powerless to help out in the sleep department, which means Mom’s up every time baby cries, and Dad, can’t do much but go back to sleep.
This can lead to some hostility from a sleep deprived Mom, who feels like she’s doing more than her share, and some defensiveness from Dad, who gets to feeling attacked for something he has no control over.
But here’s the good news for both of you…
If you’ve decided to give sleep training a try, I often recommend that Dad takes the lead… at least for the first few nights. That’s right! Go sleep it off, Mom. Dad’s taking point on this one. So when it comes to breaking the association between sucking (bottle, pacifier or breast) and falling asleep, baby tends to learn quicker and respond better when Dad comes into the room during the first few nights of baby learning to fall asleep independently. He can even give baby a bottle if you're still doing night feeds.
Here’s the funny thing. Whenever I drop this little tidbit on couple I’m working with, Mom lets out a big ‘yeeaaah’ and teases Dad about how he’s much fun he’s going to have getting up six times in the night.
But then, night one, as soon as baby starts to cry, Mom shoots out of bed and goes straight into baby’s room. Or even more regularly, Mom stands in the doorway instructing Dad on the right way to settle Baby back down, and corrects him every step of the way.
I have actually sent full-grown women to their rooms during overnight support packages.
If Dad’s going to get involved, he and Baby have to find their own rhythm, and Mom has to be able to let go of a little control. And as much as moms always say they’ll have no problem letting their husbands take the wheel, when it comes down to the moment of truth, many women want to jump back in.
So remember, Dad might just be the magical solution to your baby’s sleep issues, but give him a chance, he might just surprise you. Most of my clients see dramatic improvements in their baby’s sleep in just a couple of nights, so you won’t have to worry.
After that, you and your partner will have the evenings back to yourselves, and your whole family can get back to sleeping through the night.
Tired of being tired? Schedule a free call with me today and learn how to get started.
Christine Stevens has been recognized as one of the top sleep consultants in the U.S.
Christine Stevens is a Sleep Consultant for exhausted parents who want a solution that works for their parenting style. The want to reclaim their beds, their spouse and their sanity but they don’t know how to begin.
Interested in getting started? It's easy to schedule a free call to ensure we're a good fit.
I often meet parents who say their child doesn't nap and it's one of the major reasons that nighttime sleep doesn't go well either. Ensuring your child is getting enough age-appropriate daytime sleep is a key component of good nighttime sleep... so how do you know?
First, newborns up to 3 months of age should be taking 4-5 naps per day, babies 3-6 months 3-4 naps, babies 6-11 months 2-3 naps and babies 12 months and older usually take 1 nap per day. Naps should be around an hour in length.
The clocks changed Sunday morning…now what
First, don’t panic! The end of Daylight Savings time can be a dreaded time for parents of young children because they start waking up way too early! Adjustment takes about 1-2 weeks on average because children tend to be more structured in their bedtime and wake up around the same time each morning.
However, there are some things you can do to help make the transition to the new time go a little smoother. My recommendation is to leave your clocks alone Saturday night. Wake up Sunday morning, have breakfast, then go around your house and change your clocks. Psychologically, it will feel much better for everyone if you wait until Sunday morning to change the time.
My best advice for children to help them with the change is to split the difference with the old time and the new time. How does that work?
For babies less than 6 months old, if their bedtime and naptimes are not predictable, simply jump to the new time Sunday night as if you were traveling to a new time zone and use their wake time window (awake time between sleep periods) as your guide.
Infants (ages 0-12 mos): If bedtime is normally 7:00 p.m. move bedtime 15 minutes later each night until you reach the normal time again. So the first night you would put him down at 6:15 p.m., the second night 6:30 p.m., and so on. On the fourth night you should be back to 7:00 p.m. Do the same thing for naps. Start 45 minutes earlier than normal and move them 15 minutes later each day. So if morning nap is at 9:00 a.m. normally, start with 8:15 a.m. on Sunday, 8:30 a.m. on Monday, 8:45 a.m. on Tuesday and then 9:00 a.m. on Wednesday. Do the same for the afternoon nap.
For toddlers/school aged children (ages 12 mos and up) On Sunday, the first day of the time change, put your child down for his first nap 30 minutes earlier than normal. If baby usually naps at 9:30 a.m., put him down at 9:00 a.m. do the same with the afternoon nap if he takes an afternoon nap. For bedtime, if his normal bedtime is 7:00 p.m., you would put him down at 6:30 p.m. Do this for 3 nights after the time change and then on the 4th night, put him to bed at 7:00 p.m. and on 5th day move naptimes back to normal time. So if your child naps at 9:30 a.m, put him down at 9:30 a.m. and so on with the rest of the day.
A great thing about this time change is that there are more hours of darkness which helps make this transition a little easier. If your child wakes up too early, walk them back to their room and tell them it’s not time to get up yet. If your child wakes up too early and is in a crib, be sure to help his body understand it isn’t morning time by keeping him in his crib in the dark room until normal wake time.
Note for Toddlers/School-aged children: If you have a toddler or an older child who relies on a clock to know when their “morning time” has arrived, set the clock one half hour ahead of the new time so that it reads 7:00 a.m. at the new time of 6:30 a.m. Allow your child to wake a bit earlier than normal (they will think it is 7:00 according to the clock but it will be 6:30 a.m., new time). This will only be temporary as your child adjusts to wake at their usual 7:00 a.m. time after about one or two weeks.
It may take children and babies a bit more time to fall asleep, this is normal, since the time is different initially they might seem tired earlier. It usually takes about a week for children and babies to completely adjust to the new time, some children it can take up to a month. Be patient and stay very consistent, it will happen.
How much sleep does your child need for optimal health? Check out the latest recommendations from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.
When you’re considering where your baby should sleep, the obvious answer is ‘a crib’. What you put in that crib important…and I’m not just talking about the baby.
Baby stores, social media and online decorating boards show beautiful huge cribs with lots of bedding, stuffed animals and fluffy-ness all over. While it’s really cute, are those beautifully decorated cribs the safest place to put baby? When my husband and I were shopping for our daughter’s crib, there was a crib in the store decked out in all white with cushy bumpers, a sparkly mobile and soft sheets. My first thought was…what if she spits up? Who wants to try and clean spit up out of white sheets? Not only that, but the crib bumpers were nearly 6 inches thick!
Babies move, even the little ones just a few weeks old. They squirm and wiggle all over the crib so you want to create the safest place for them to sleep. Yes, they need to sleep in a crib or bassinette…not in your bed on the soft mattress, not on the couch or a comfy chair. Don’t use positioners either. If your crib height is adjustable, start it at the highest position, but as soon as baby starts to push him/herself up on her hands, lower the crib mattress height.
Bare is best when it comes to decorating cribs. Cribs should have a firm mattress, with a waterproof cover and a single sheet. Bumpers can become suffocation hazards. Also, don’t put mobiles, toys, stuffed animals, projectors or mirrors in their cribs. Not only can the toys become hazards, but we want baby’s crib to be a place for sleep…not playtime.
Dress baby in one piece pajamas to sleep and make sure nothing covers baby’s head. If you feel like they need to stay warmer, use a wearable blanket, such as a sleep sack. Do not use loose blankets.
Lastly, baby should be put to sleep on his/her back. It may not be the way that you were put to sleep or what you hear from your mom but since the Safe to Sleep campaign (formerly known as the Back to Sleep campaign) was implemented, SIDS deaths are down 50%. Once baby is old enough to roll, it’s ok to let them.
Making sure that your baby has a safe sleep environment is important, not only for parents, but also for all caregivers. Make sure you communicate to anyone who cares for baby about these safe sleeping practices.
We as parents know that frequent hand washing and cleaning heavily used surfaces like doorknobs and light switches can go a long way to preventing the spread of germs, but what do you do when your little one wakes up with a stuffy nose and a cough?
Usually your baby is a great sleeper, but now she has what looks like a cold and consequently isn’t sleeping well. Have no fear! I want to give you some tips for handling sickness so that your baby doesn’t pick up bad habits that will persist long after the germs have gone. Here are a few things to keep in mind.
Expect that your sick child is going to have some nighttime wakeups. Anyone who is ill does not sleep as well as they normally do. They may have one, two, five or even more nighttime wake-ups…it’s how you handle those wake-ups will make a big difference.
One of the big mistakes people make is that they start to intervene in their child’s sleep skills. Meaning they go in, they try to rock or they start to feed again. They try to lull baby to sleep in their arms or go back to all their old sleep props. I understand why people do that because you want to comfort your baby when they’re sick. I’m not saying don’t comfort baby…you can absolutely go in. Have a short cuddle, wipe her nose, give her a drink of water, whatever you need to do to offer some comfort, but don’t interfere with her sleep skills.
You’re not going to rock her back to sleep. You’re not going to feed her to sleep. You’re not going to do any of the things that you normally wouldn’t let her do. The only time you would ever go back to a nighttime feed, obviously, is if your doctor or pediatrician suggests it. If she’s had a high fever for several days, she might need some extra fluids through the night.
You want to make sure that those only happen for a few nights. Three is kind of my rule of thumb. If anything happens for more than three nights, then there is the danger that the baby is going to now expect this and start waking up looking for feeds, rocking, etc even once the sickness is gone.
Another big mistake people make is that they bring their baby into bed with them. Again, I understand it. My daughter seemed to come home from daycare with a new sickness every other week. I’d get sick, then she’d bring home something new. It was a vicious cycle. I understand where that desire comes from. Again, you want to comfort your sick child. If you’re really concerned about your child in the night, it is much better for you to go to them than to bring them to you.
If you’re really concerned, throw down an air mattress on the floor of baby’s room. Spend a night or two in his room to keep an eye on him. Again, remembering my rule of threes, try not to do it for any longer than three nights or you might find yourself six months later still sleeping beside his bed. If everything falls apart, cut yourself a bit of slack. Sometimes it happens. Know that as soon as your baby is well again, just get right back on track with good sleep skills. Go back to your normal routine and baby will remember those great skills that she used before the sniffles came.