We have a tendency as humans to forget just how bad things were once the memory of the trauma starts to fade. It makes sense, because if we didn't have this defense mechanism, many Mothers would never have another baby after the first one!
In my years of experience, here are a few of the common areas parents start to let slide after the memory of their sleep nightmare passes:
Light stimulates the release of cortisol, a stimulating hormone that can impair your little one’s ability to fall asleep, or wake them up prematurely. Keep their sleeping area as dark as you can possibly make it and avoid any light-emitting devices, such as nightlights, whenever possible.
Cortisol is also released when your child stays awake for too long, a condition commonly referred to as “overtiredness.” Staying on a consistent schedule is the best way to adhere to the ideal “awake window” and prevent overtiredness from sabotaging your little’s one’s sleep.
Setting, and sticking to, a consistent bedtime helps reinforce your child’s circadian rhythm. It also helps minimise any protest around going to sleep when the rule is clearly established and regularly adhered to.
Bedtimes aren’t the only area where consistency can save you a lot of anguish. As babies enter the toddler years, their tendency to test boundaries can become almost relentless. Although it can often seem like they’re “testing the waters,” this behavior is almost always an attempt to reassure themselves that the rules are still in effect. Knowing what’s expected of them, and experiencing predictable consequences when those expectations aren’t met, is the best way to keep your little one feeling confident and secure.
The Importance of Sleep:
Sleep is essential. It is vital for our physical and emotional well-being, and not just when we’re young. You’ve done great work helping your baby learn the skills they need to get a great night’s sleep, but sleep hygiene is just like diet and exercise. It requires an ongoing commitment to reap the benefits, and a happier, healthier life is a tremendous reward for a little extra effort.