By Dr. Cynthia Unuigbe MD
Sleep training has become trendy as new parents navigate their new role while being chronically sleep deprived. On this note, let’s define what sleep training is.
What is Sleep Training?
Sleep Training helps your child fall asleep independently with a relative or no dependence on the soothing of parents or caregivers. Baby Sleep Conditioning is the bedrock for developing healthy sleep habits from inception, beneficial for newborns, and preventing sleep deprivation for both parents and babies. Baby Sleep Training helps infants and toddlers with developed sleep irregularities get on a tailored sleep schedule.
The Importance of a Good Sleep Schedule/ Routine
A good sleep pattern is like a routine – active discipline, sleeping when due is likened to eating when hungry. It is developing a “work-life balance” that ensures you operate at an excellent functional level and stay healthy physically and mentally.
Newborns were accustomed to an intrauterine schedule. However, newborns learn specific codes or behaviors to adapt to their natural and potential capabilities when they arrive in a dynamic environment that operates differently from the womb.
Failure to adapt to a consistent schedule in their new lifestyle will lead to chronic sleep deprivation and exhaustion for both parents and babies, and this stressor can trigger postpartum depression, anxiety, blues, and psychosis for new mothers, to mention a few. All these negatively impact the quality-of-care parents give their newborns. Hence, baby sleep support is a lifetime investment that improves the overall quality of life of the entire family.
What is a Good Sleep?
Good sleep can be defined as adequate mental and physical rest. It can also be described as a natural extensive-rest period, mostly at night, when the body is in a relative shutdown mode.
However, sleep can also occur during the day, especially for newborns/ infants and toddlers (daytime naps) who need it for active and rapid development of the body and mind.
The Dangers of Sleep Deprivation /impairment
Chronic sleep deprivation negatively impacts our health. Some short-term problems include:
• Reduced quality of life.
• Impaired memory.
• Not able to engage in critical thinking.
• Relationship stress.
As adults, we have been able to adapt and require far less sleep than newborns. Can you imagine the short-term and long-term impact of sleep deprivation on newborns?
Inadequate sleep for newborns/infants and toddlers might result in developmental and behavioral impairment. For parents and adults, it is equally harrowing, even if better managed. In addition, chronic sleep deprivation increases stress levels and results in hormonal imbalances.
Common Challenges Faced by Parents in Establishing Healthy Sleep Habits
Many parents face challenges in establishing healthy sleep habits in their infants. The challenges include:
• Irregular sleep patterns and napping during the day.
• Dependence on caregivers soothing such as rocking or nursing to sleep.
• Difficulty establishing a consistent sleep routine.
• Difficulty getting their baby to fall asleep at bedtime.
• Frequent night waking and problems settling back to sleep.
• Confusion on when to transition from crib to bed.
These challenges can be overwhelming for parents, leading to exhaustion and frustration. Many parents try various strategies to improve their baby’s sleep, including reading books, seeking advice from friends and family, asking Google, or following online forums. With these options comes information overload, which is detrimental to providing valuable baby sleep support to families. Moreso, every baby and family dynamics are unique.
How Does Sleep Training Help?
Sleep Training or Baby Sleep Support helps parents understand the fundamentals or why, when, and how to implement evidence-based methods to restore sleep to families struggling with sleep deprivation. We advocate new parents to engage with sleep conditioning at Sleep & Cradle® to instill these healthy sleep habits from inception, which is beneficial for newborns.
At Sleep & Cradle®, we advocate a dynamic but holistic approach. We are concerned about your baby’s sleep habits, and the impact sleep deprivation has on the well-being of the parents or caregivers and their ability to cope.
Our Baby Sleep Training program creates a personalized dynamic “Sleep Cycle” for parents and newborns/infants so that neither exerts undue pressure on the well-being of the other to function effectively.
Baby Sleep Support is crucial for the growth and development of babies, and establishing healthy sleep habits from the very beginning is essential for their overall well-being. However, many parents face challenges in adequately getting their babies to sleep soundly through the night or nap. If you are a parent struggling with sleepless nights and feeling overwhelmed, you are not alone. Fortunately, there is help available. At Sleep & Cradle®, we provide expert guidance and support to help new parents and their babies sleep well and help sleep-deprived parents get their sleep back, impacting positive sleep habits and resulting in a good night’s sleep for both parents and babies. Schedule a free discovery call.
Dr. Cynthia Unuigbe MD is the Founder of Sleep & Cradle Solutions and a recognized sleep consultant.