Yesterday I began reading Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child by Marc Weissbluth, MD. I think this should be required reading for all parents.
I certainly wish I’d had this book when my 3-year-old was a baby. There is a ton of research behind this book, so I feel confident that I’m reading more than just someone’s opinions.
One thing that’s struck me is that my instincts to protect my children’s sleep (naptimes, bedtimes, the whole works) are dead on. In an earlier post, I wrote about “Sleep Rehab” for my 3-year-old. Imagine my surprise when I was reading along and came across a description of the EXACT cycle that we had been experiencing. (This problem has been improving, by the way, and the key has been to put my son down for his nap around 1-1:30 p.m., not 2 p.m. or later. He falls asleep faster at night, sleeps sounder, and wakes up in a much better mood in the morning.)
The author also writes about children who have a harder time recovering from disruptions to their sleep schedules. BINGO, this describes my son perfectly. I feel more confident than ever in my assessment of him as a sleep-sensitive child. So what if my friend’s preschooler can go to bed late and have no repurcussions? Each child is different, and I know what my child needs.
In addition, I am even more committed to getting the sleep that I need. Being well rested is the foundation for everything that is important to me: being a good (patient) parent; being a cheerful person & wife; having the gumption to stick to healthy goals (I have 30 lbs to lose); having the gumption to stick with pumping breastmilk 6 times per day; and so on. Sleep is not a luxury, as so many in our culture are apt to think.
Again, FlyLady is right-on in telling all of her flybabies to Get to bed!