Dr Neil Stanley Independent Sleep Expert
© Dr. Neil Stanley 2013-2019
Sleep and happy families A sleep deprived child probably means there are two sleep deprived adults, indeed a child who is not getting enough sleep can negatively affect the whole family. Of course, there are things that you can do to help your child get a better night’s sleep, which will hopefully result in improved sleep for you but it is also important that you as parents seek to improve your own sleep. The key to a well slept household is to do what is right for you, your partner, and most importantly your child, not what your friends, neighbours, mother-in-law, sleep experts or self-help parenting books tell you. As a parent you need to take control of the situation and agree the ‘rules’ that work for you, your partner and child with regards to how you are going to react to your child crying in the night, or them wanting to get into bed with you or their resistance to going to sleep at a set bed-time  Then you need stick to them, neither your partner or our child should not be allowed to undermine what has been agreed, so as long as it is working don’t change it. How do you know what you are doing is working well simply if your child is if your child is happy, healthy and well behaved and you and your partner feel awake, alert and focused during the day, don’t worry? If any of you are sleepy, moody and prone to temper tantrums then the sleep you are getting needs to be improved. Some tips on How to Sleep Well 1. One thing that will help sleep is to avoid an overloaded schedule, if your child does not have the time they need to sleep then it is pretty certain that will mean you won’t either, identify and prioritise activities that allow for relaxation and sufficient sleep time for both your child and for you as parents. 2. If you feel sleepy during the day your body want sleep it does not want to be stimulated by caffeine or anything else. A 20-minute power nap will boost your mental performance and that improvement will last for a few hours. Napping for more than 20 minutes means that you risk waking in the deepest stage of sleep and that is when you feel worse when you wake than you did before you your nap. 3. Children, like adults can only sleep if they feel safe and secure. A child naturally presumes that safety and security are provided by it parents, not a glow-in-the-dark cat night-light. Therefore, if a child feels scared or insecure or lonely it will obviously want to be comforted and reassured by its parent the most natural thing in the world if they are sleeping in a sperate room is to come to their parent’s room, and perhaps get into the bed. The way you deal with this is down to you but it would probably be far easier for your partner to relocate to the child’s room or another bedroom, if available. 4. Rather than sharing the parenting duties every night, which just means that you are both maximally disturbed from you sleep, it is far better to alternate the duties so one partner gets a good night sleep every other night. It is even better, if you have the space, to have a ‘sleep’ bedroom and a ‘parent’ room, to ensure a good night’s sleep. 5. If you are disturbed during the night and you find it had to go back to sleep it is best to get up and do something relaxing, going to bed again when you feel sleepy. There is no point trying to fall asleep, the harder you try the less likely you are to fall asleep which just adds to the frustration of not getting to sleep. 6. Don’t worry about getting one bad night’s sleep because all things being equal you probably, if you are alternating the parenting duties, will get a good night’s sleep the next night. 7. Outdoor exercise during the day is an ideal way of improving both your physical and mental health and aiding good sleep, it does have to be jogging or going to the gym just a walk in the park will do you good