Ready to Sleep Better?
Podcast Episode Transcripts:
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Welcome to the kids sleep show, where we help tired parents from around the world to get their children to fall asleep independently, sleep through the night and build healthy sleep habits for life. I’m your host, Courtney Zentz. Now let’s sleep together. Hi, Courtney Zentz. Here. Thank you so much for joining the kids sleep show. I wanted to chat a bit today about false starts. I’ve definitely seen an uptick in questions in my sleep group slumber Made Simple around false starts, what it is and why they are happening. So if you’re unfamiliar with the term false start, it means that roughly about an hour after you’re putting your little one to sleep, they’re waking up. And you’re trying to figure out why they’re not hungry, they’re clean, and they’re just a bit upset. And they don’t seem to be able to call them back down or resettle. So with a false start, and when this happens, which is most of the time in babies under the age of 18 months, there’s a few reasons as to why they are happening. And a few things that you can do here that I’m going to talk about to solve those false starts. So the first thing that I want to talk a little bit about with regards to a false start at bedtime is actually around the nap duration during the daytime. Your little one has a specific amount of sleep that they need in a given day. And if it’s not properly spaced out in the day, they’re going to go into bed, overtired, which is the first reason why fall starts happen. It’s because a child is overtired, which is probably counterintuitive to what you’re thinking. But stick with me here as I kind of explain how all of this works. So with nap durations, if your nap durations are short, the naps can be non restorative. And if you go through a whole day with like a whole bunch of 20 minute naps, right? By the end of the day, your little one is super tired, super fussy, probably isn’t eating great and is going into bedtime, you know, and you’re just doing whatever you can to get them down, which usually involves some support or assistance in the form of nursing, feeding, rocking just anything at that point, right to get them to go to sleep. Okay, so the first thing you want to do is look at those nap durations and try to understand why they’re happening. Right? So short naps are typically caused by two things, one your timings off, right. So you want to make sure that you’re awake windows for your child are properly spaced throughout the day. If your child’s overtired or under tired, their nap duration is going to suffer because they’re either not ready to go to sleep. Or frankly, they’re too overtired to go to sleep, and their body’s triggering a bunch of stimulant hormones like adrenaline and cortisol. Okay, so you want to pay attention to those awake windows. And I’ll give you a great example, a four month old baby, they’re awake, Windows should be roughly about 90 minutes to two hours, okay? between six and 12 months, your awake window goes somewhere around three hours kind of at six months. And then when you hit 12 months, you’re upwards on the you know, the upper end of kind of about four hours, the last nap to bedtime, they can tolerate getting to about five hours at a max, right. So those awake windows are going to be what helps set you up for success, making sure that they’re properly spaced so that the sleep pressure is built up properly, and they go down and then have the best shot at asleep in the right amount of timing. Okay. The other thing that typically causes short naps from a nap duration standpoint is the fact that baby’s relying on you to go to sleep, right if you rock your child to sleep, and then you try to do that ninja transfer that we’ve all done, right? You go over to the crib and you try to like not move positions and you maintain the arm jiggle and then you you know, you kind of pull your arms out and transfer them as gently as possible. And then they boom, pop wake back up, right? If a child doesn’t know how to go to sleep independently, they’re going to be consistently relying on you when they’re passing through cycles to help them go back down. So they’re gonna sleep one cycle wake up and think they’re gonna get rocked or fat or bounced, whatever it is they’re looking for, to go to sleep, okay, motion sleep can be equally as dangerous. You know, parents
will often tell me, Hey, you know, my little one sleeps great in the car, they’re good. They’re good when we go for a walk or when I wear them. And I’m like, that’s motion sleep. It’s still association that kids have around the movement, right? That’s why the snoo is so popular and something that creates atrocious habits, because every time a baby makes a noise, it’s it’s moving right? And then that they get used to an association around that movement, like you can teach healthy sleep habits from the start without having to do things like that and still do it in a safe sleep environment. So you want to pay attention to you know that nap duration and then dive in a little bit. More around why it’s happening. Okay, the next thing we’re going to look at is your bedtime routine. So what is happening during the routine, a lot of times I talked with parents, and they’re still using things like tablets or technology, to get their little ones to go to sleep, the worst possible thing you can do for yourself and your child, his jam an iPad, or a phone in front of them, even if it’s to watch something like a guided meditation, or, you know, a Moshi story or anything like that, that they’re great during the day. But when you’re trying to get your child to go to bed, blue light is a stimulant. So it triggers a specific reaction in the brain that causes stimulation to occur, it’s basically your brain thinking, it’s got to wake up and start doing stuff, right. So we don’t want to do that right when we’re going to bed. So the first thing is look at that routine, and make sure that it’s creating a calm and conducive environment, their little one, their little room is a sleep sanctuary. And that it’s calm, dark, and really like and telling the body right that it’s time to go to sleep, right. So reading a nice book, doing some infant massage, singing a song just doing some cuddling and rocking totally fine. You just don’t want to do it to sleep. Okay. Also, another thing I found is a lot of parents will kind of start the routine, then they go back downstairs, then they go back upstairs, right, I would suggest like when it’s time to kick the routine off, if it means pushing it a little bit later, just push it later and stay upstairs, don’t like eat dinner, do a bath, and then come down and do puzzles for an hour and then go to bed, start the routine off and stay upstairs or stay in that part of the house where your body starts to recognize that you’re doing the same thing every night. And that they’re ready to go down from a sleep standpoint, my kids are six and four. And I have literally done the exact same routine every single night for six years and four years respectively with maybe five times where I’ve deviated in six years, right. And my kids are like little robots. And they know it. And there are nights where we’re out at a friend’s and we stay out a little later than we normally should. And all I do is tell them look, if you want to stay out a little bit and play with your friends, that means no book tonight. And to be honest, they don’t care, it kind of gives me a break because it’s usually on a weekend. So I just bring them home, pajamas on, they brush their teeth, and it’s boom right in bed. Okay, so you want to look at things like that around your bedtime routine to make sure it’s conducive, and also set up properly. From a timing standpoint, if there’s one time during the day where you can stretch the awake window a teeny tiny bit as they start to get older. It’s the last nap to bedtime window. And again, it’s kind of as they get into that first to second year, where you have a little bit more flexibility. Okay, the next thing that causes those fall starts is how a child goes down. So I touched a little bit on this with the naps, right? If the only thing your child ever knows how to do to go to sleep is to rock or nurse or bounce or feed or wear whatever it is right. That’s all they know, it’s a skill set sleeps a skill, right? If we teach our children how to have the skill to do it themselves, then they actually possess the capability to do it naturally. Right. And it’s such a beautiful thing because sleep can be taught, you know, it’s one of those things where I’m so amazed every day in my profession, because I work with families that are like I feel hopeless, I am exhausted. I’m not sleeping, they’re not sleeping, we’re all miserable. I’m fighting with my spouse. Life just stinks. And especially now like we’re all quarantined right now, you know? And it’s hard, right? Like we’re trying to figure out like every day and what to do, and I still work full time. So, you know, it’s
it definitely is a stress reliever when you know that you can place your child in bed, say good night, and they go to sleep and they do it forever, right? Sleep regressions go away, teething goes away sickness for the most part goes away, right? I mean, obviously, if there was like a stomach bug and your kids upset and puking, they’re not going to sleep through the night. But like most of those other little common annoyances that we we equate to the reason why our child isn’t sleeping is actually the root issue is more of an association, right? So work on getting your child down independently. The most success you’re going to have is making sure they’re not overtired. So it’s something that you want to practice. And if you have questions about that, I do a live Facebook q&a. every single Friday in my facebook group, it’s called slumber Made Simple. Every Friday 11 o’clock in the morning East Coast, I am in there live, you will see my brightened shining face with soon to be much more gray hair since I can’t get it colored. And we talk we talk about everything that’s going on in your family and I give you a ton of advice like I’m a giver. I am somebody who believes in service and I want to serve my clients, even if they’re not paying clients, right like you’re all in this together and I want to help you in any way that I can because you may just need, frankly a swipe a slight tweak to get things working well for you. Okay, the next problem I see with fall starts is off. In that there’s an early waking associated with it right, which again is generally overtired. So it’s again, the opposite of also what people think, oh, if I keep them up later, they’ll sleep in later. Not the case, right? If anything, you should put them to bed earlier, because nine times out of 10, they’re actually going to sleep in later. early mornings are, challenge around a couple of reasons. One is that if they’re overtired, they’re going to wake because their body’s basically a little bit messed up balanced wise, from a hormone standpoint. The next thing is light in the room. So between four and 6am, it’s your lightest stages of sleep. And children are often the most susceptible to things like light in a room, night light, the garbage truck outside whatever may be going on between four and six in the morning, the dog barking, the heat kicking on, and frankly, a sound machine being too loud can also be annoying. So just a couple things to keep in mind. Like from an early morning waking standpoint, you want to validate that your timing is correct, that they’re not overtired, that they’re just not looking for you to come in and do something to get them back to sleep. Sometimes you do have to give them a few minutes to resettle on their own, so that they understand it’s not actually the time to get up. A lot of times I see this when kids come off of a cold because parents at 5am run in there. And then all of a sudden the cold goes away. But the 5am waking stays because they’ve gotten used to thinking that that’s the time to get up. So sometimes you just got to give them a couple days and a few minutes to get used to the fact that you know not happening and we’re not you know we’re not getting up right now. 5am is not an appropriate time to get up so so that is what I wanted to chat a little bit about today. From a false start standpoint, I definitely see an uptick in folks that are struggling with it. So if you are struggling I really encourage you to jump out search slumber Made Simple and Facebook and we will see you there thanks so much for tuning in to the kids sleep show. hope everybody stays home stays healthy and we get through this crazy time together and I am always here should you decide you want to move forward with some help, especially since you are currently quarantined at home? no time like the present. Thanks so much. Stay tuned and we will chat soon. Bye for now. Hold on one more thing before you go. As a valued listener of the kids sleep show. I want to help you build a great sleeper not just in the times you’re listening to the show. But all day every day. Every week of the year. I have a new Facebook group called slumber Made Simple. It’s a place to gather with other parents looking for sleep support, laughs and the latest in sleep research to build a family that is rested and at their best day in and day out. If you want to be part of the community where you can get free sleep support, weekly training sessions, unbelievable content and so much more. Head on over to tiny transitions.com forward slash community that’s tiny transitions.com forward slash community or head over to Facebook and search slumber Made Simple. drop me a note and let me know when you join. I can’t wait to see you there.