By Rakhi Jayashankar
Sleep is a key factor in your child’s growth. A good amount of sleep is like salt in your cuisine. It brings together the goodness of everything together and revives the body.
Side effects of sleep deprivation:
In a survey that I conducted among mothers of kids below eight years, 14% reported that their child used to be cranky when they don’t get ample sleep. But the real trouble related to sleep deprivation does not end with crankiness.
1. Low immunity- Lacks of sleep affects the immune system of your child.
2. Disruptive behavior – Hyperactivity in kids aggravates if they don’t get ample sleep.
3. Lack of attention- This is an extension of aggravated hyperactivity termed Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disease. Child finds it hard to hold attention to anything.
4. Nigh walking and nightmares- Some kids have shown tendency towards night walking and continuously complain about nightmares if they don’t get ample sleep.
How and when to sleep train your baby:
If we go by expert opinion, you should sleep train your baby from as early as four months of age. The survey reveals that 85% mothers agree to the fact that sleep training is necessary for the child’s well being.
Dr. Priyatha Anand, Obstetrician and Gynecologist , Lister Hospital , UK states “sleep training at an early age is important as it makes them independent.”
There are several scientifically and pragmatically proven techniques to sleep train your baby.
Kerry Bajaj’s book Sleep Baby Baby has a consummated account of the techniques to be tried out while sleep training your baby.
1. Sleeping routine
33% of the mothers who participated in the survey agreed that they sleep trained their child by maintaining a routine. Creating a routine starts with a bedtime bath, and bedtime reading irrespective of the age. The best method to incorporate this pattern is given in Sleep Baby Sleep.
First it led to my own two children sleeping well, then giving tips to friends and strangers, becoming a certified sleep consultant, and working with hundreds of families on finding sleep harmony for their babies and children.” Says Kerry Bajaj, about her ‘MISS KERRY’S SWEET SLEEP METHOD’
2. Chair Method
The technique indirectly creates a habit of sleeping alone. Put a chair near your child’s bed or crib. Next day, move it a little farther. Continue thus, till you reach the door and your child learns to sleep alone. It works the best with older kids.
3. Cry it out method
This is a method to let your child cry out, till she/he sleeps. 95% of the mothers in the survey, fervently opposed this method. Apparently this method is not as bad as it seems and helps in the long run as the child gradually learns to sleep. I myself have tried this on some days and am not guilty about this. Afterall we are all human beings.
4. Ferber’s Method
This is the method of letting your baby cry out but simultaneously keeping intermittent checks and soothing them and leaving them back and slowly making the check timings longer.
Sleep Baby Sleep has a list of the progressive timings. She says “In the Ferber sleep-training method, instead of returning to the room every 10 minutes for checks, the timings get progressively longer. This method comes from Dr Richard Ferber’s book Solve Your Child’s Sleep Problems.”
5. Bedtime Fading
You can let your child sleep whenever they want but slowly you can change the bedtime to facilitate smooth sleep for the baby by preponing the bedtime slowly.
6. Ayurvedic Methods
Ayurveda as you all know has several natural solutions to all problems. Some healthy herbal concoctions can induce sleep without damaging their health.
Dr. Neha Mehta, Ayurvedic doctor, says “For kids we can use a small dose of nutmeg powder with water or brahmi powder (an ayurvedic medicine made of Brahmi plant) to mix in milk.
7. Regulated Nap Time
Try reducing your child’s naptime so that he/she would sleep in the night. There is nothing wrong in waking a sleeping baby if it helps in the long run
“Don’t wake a sleeping baby. Says who? Of course you can gently wake a sleeping baby. Especially a newborn who needs to be fed every 3 hours.” – Sleep Baby Sleep.
When to Consult a Doctor?
If you try a method continuously for two weeks and don’t get the result, you may not continue further.
My daughter had sleep issues till she was 6. I tried everything but failed. Still it took me 6 years to go to a doctor. My child was suffering from acute Adenoiditis. Post adenoidectomy, she sleeps peacefully.
My second child used to snore while sleeping. He had multiple issues- adenoiditis and tonsillitis, which was also cured with surgery. But with my third child, I could attain the goal easily with bedtime fading. Hence if you feel that your child needs expert assistance, don’t hesitate. We have nothing to lose.
About the author: Rakhi Jayashankar is a blogger, author, book reviewer, and a mother. After her masters in Biotechnology and Business Administration, she decided to follow her call of passion through her blogs while being a part of the family business. With three kids, she had experienced the sleepless nights not once but thrice and hence sharing her knowledge with the readers.