Sleep

Liz asleep in her co-sleeper

Liz asleep in her co-sleeper

There are hundreds of baby books on the market touted as solutions to getting your baby to sleep. I have read a handful and found many contradictions. My first project was to find out what the scientific research says. I shared my discoveries through this blog and podcasts. Through my research I learned a lot about sleep, and that there are many useful approaches to improving your child’s sleep. This led to the creation of the Sleep Options Wizard for 0-5 year olds, which provides you with suggestions based on your situation, so you don’t have to trawl through all the information – only what is relevant to you.

Questions I have addressed through my blog posts and podcasts are:

When can babies be expected to sleep through the night?

Not for a long time, and there is huge variation. See these posts:

Baby sleep and night wakings: http://practicalresearchparenting.com/2014/02/05/baby-sleep-night-wakings/

Baby sleep routine: http://practicalresearchparenting.com/2014/03/29/baby-sleep-routine/

My first podcast episode on baby sleep: http://practicalresearchparenting.com/2015/02/03/episode-1-baby-sleep-or-lack-of/

Sleep associations: when do they form and how hard are they to change?

Sleep associations start to form from birth but they can be changed.

For the theory see Sleep associations: http://practicalresearchparenting.com/2014/06/28/sleep-associations/

For a novel take on associations see possum sleep intervention: http://practicalresearchparenting.com/2014/08/25/feed-your-baby-to-sleep/ and The Possums Sleep Intervention Part 1 Podcast

For a combination of the two approaches, see my second podcast episode: http://practicalresearchparenting.com/2015/02/25/pr-p-002-sleep-associations/

Is controlled crying harmful to the baby?

There is no conclusive evidence that controlled crying is harmful and there is evidence that the sleep gain is beneficial. HOWEVER, there are theoretical reasons why controlled crying could be harmful, and some preliminary research suggesting harm. See my rationale under controlled crying techniques in this post: http://practicalresearchparenting.com/2014/07/30/get-baby-self-settle-sleep-training-review/

and in my response to “Self settling – what really happens?” post: http://practicalresearchparenting.com/2014/10/23/response-self-settling-really-happens-sarah-ockwell-smith/.

There are gentler methods (see below).

What other methods work?

Early intervention, scheduled awakenings, and faded bedtime routines are reviewed here (as well as cry it out and controlled crying techniques). There are also posts on:

Gradual withdrawal: A series of three podcasts, the first of which you can find here: http://www.practicalresearchparenting.com/2015/07/02/prp007-a-sensible-sleep-solution-with-associate-professor-sarah-blunden-part-1/

http://practicalresearchparenting.com/2014/10/04/sleep-training-gradual-withdrawal-method/

Positive routine management: http://practicalresearchparenting.com/2014/10/10/dream-baby-guide-review/, and PRP010: Baby Sleep Book: Dream Baby Guide Review.

Bedtime routine modeling: http://practicalresearchparenting.com/2014/08/02/bedtime-routine-modeling/,

No-cry solutions from birth: http://practicalresearchparenting.com/2014/07/17/sleep-solutions-birth/, and the

The possum sleep intervention: http://practicalresearchparenting.com/2014/08/25/feed-your-baby-to-sleep/ and The Possums Sleep Intervention Part 1 Podcast.

My first podcast episode also provides three gentle steps that can be introduced throughout the first year.

My second podcast episode explores how you can use sleep cues such as music, cue words, or humming.

The Sleep Options Wizard for 0-5 year olds selects methods appropriate to your child’s age and stage.

Sleep routines: when do babies benefit from routine sleep times?

From 10-12 weeks of age babies will begin to form routine sleep times as detailed in

This post: http://practicalresearchparenting.com/2014/03/29/baby-sleep-routine/ and

My first podcast episode: http://practicalresearchparenting.com/2015/02/03/episode-1-baby-sleep-or-lack-of/.

When can babies be expected to self-settle and how?

This is a skill that develops gradually with time and age. For details see:

My first podcast episode: http://practicalresearchparenting.com/2015/02/03/episode-1-baby-sleep-or-lack-of/,

Response to “Self settling – what really happens”: http://practicalresearchparenting.com/2014/10/23/response-self-settling-really-happens-sarah-ockwell-smith/, and

The two teaching emotion management posts:

Interpreting emotions: http://practicalresearchparenting.com/2014/09/22/teaching-emotion-management-interpreting-emotions/, and

Helicopter parenting and sleep: http://practicalresearchparenting.com/2014/08/29/emotion-management-sleep-2/.

Sometimes your baby will need your help, even if they can usually self-settle. For why you should help your baby when they need you to see

Help your baby to sleep, guilt free: http://practicalresearchparenting.com/2014/10/25/10-reasons-why-you-should-help-your-baby-to-sleep-and-not-feel-guilty/

Bedtime Refusal

Check out The First Step in any Good Sleep Intervention (that is where I’d look first)

PRP013 My Child refuses to Sleep interview with Dr Ashley Soderlund.

The Sleep Options Wizard Video below:

Can the time of night predict the reason for waking?

I am not aware of scientific research on this. There are common times when babies sleep cycles end and they are likely to wake up. If they can’t self settle, they’ll let you know about it. The Dream Baby Guide helps to diagnose the cause of waking based on the time of night. This is based on the author’s experience.

Book reviews

So far, I have reviewed the Dream Baby Guide and the No-Cry Sleep Solution. I intend to do a few more book reviews soon.

If you have any scientific journal articles on the topic that you would like me to read, critique, and interpret, or any more questions on the issue of sleeping through, please email them to me at Nicole@PracticalResearchParenting.com.

This is the first of many issues I plan to tackle. Email me if you have questions that you would like to see the research on. I can send you leads and add the question to my to-do list.

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My Child Won’t Sleep!

child won't sleep image

Has your child started refusing to sleep at naptime? Or bed time? Are you spending hours trying to settle a child who won’t sleep? These problems arise frequently in the first 5 years, and there are many possible reasons. A very common cause is detailed in the video below.   …

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Controlled Crying: What does the research say?

Controlled Crying Image

Mouths of Mums has published my article “Controlled Crying, the truth, mostly the truth, and some opinion“: Ever felt like a bad Mum for trying controlled crying? Or not doing controlled crying, but leaving you and your child constantly sleep deprived? Me too. Here’s what the research says so you …

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PRP021 Snoring Children: Sleep Apnoea – Don’t ignore the (gasping) snore

Snoring Children, Sleep Apnoea image

Show Notes: Snoring Children: Sleep Apnoea – Don’t ignore the (gasping) snore 5 in 10 snoring children have sleep apnoea. If left undiagnosed, the resulting lack of quality sleep can lead to learning, behavioural, and mood difficulties. It is important to have it diagnosed and treated early. Listen to Dr …

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PRP020: Possums Sleep Intervention Part 4

Show Notes: Possums Sleep Intervention Part 4 Dr Koa Whittingham (A collaborator on the Possums Sleep Intervention – www.possumsonline.com) shares her thoughts on the use of dummies, and dealing with separation anxiety and sleep for young toddlers. Summary Dummy use The Possums Approach is that use of the Dummy is …

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PRP019 Possums Sleep Intervention Part 3

Show Notes: Possums Sleep Intervention Part 3 Dr Koa Whittingham (A collaborator on the Possums Sleep Intervention – www.possumsonline.com) shares some wonderful information about the Possums Sleep Intervention including how to co-ordinate baby wearing and feeding to sleep with multiple caregivers, a new perspective on sleep association, tired cues, incorporation …

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PRP018 Possums Sleep Intervention Part 2

Possums Sleep Intervention

Show Notes: Possums Sleep Intervention Part 2 Dr Koa Whittingham (A collaborator on the Possums Sleep Intervention – www.possumsonline.com) and I discuss the goals of the Possums Sleep intervention. Koa shares some great tips on optimising sleep biology for parent and baby. Summary Possums sleep intervention 0-6 month olds – …

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PRP017: The Possums Sleep Intervention Part 1

Show Notes: Possums Sleep Intervention Part 1 Dr Koa Whittingham (A collaborator on the Possums Sleep Intervention – www.possumsonline.com) shares some wonderful information about the Possums sleep intervention, and how it differs from typical behavioural approaches, and normalising approaches. Summary Behavioural interventions in the first 6 months have very limited …

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PRP013: My Child Refuses Sleep

Refuses Sleep Image

Show Notes: My Child Refuses Sleep Has your child become an expert at stalling bedtime? Have you gone through patches where your child refuses sleep? Most parents have been there. It is a most frustrating time, when long anticipated peace and quiet is just around the corner. Dr Ashley Soderlund, …

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PRP010: Baby Sleep Book: Dream Baby Guide Review

Baby Sleep Book: The Dream Baby Guide Image

Show Notes: Baby Sleep Book – Dream Baby Guide Review This episode provides practical suggestions from the Dream Baby Guide by Sheyne Rowley. The Dream Baby Guide is not just another baby sleep book, it is a blueprint for establishing a trusting, kind but firm relationship with your child. To …

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PRP009: A Sensible Sleep Solution with Associate Professor Sarah Blunden Part 3

Show Notes: A Sensible Sleep Solution with Associate Professor Sarah Blunden Part 3 This is the third of a 3-part interview with Associate Professor Sarah Blunden. In this one we learn about Sarah’s book for 3-8 year olds, The Boss of My Sleep Book, as well as discussing sleep solutions …

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  • Sleep Options Wizard (for 0-5 year olds)

    Take steps towards solving your child’s behavioural sleep issues now. The Sleep Options Wizard (for 0-5 year olds) specialises in addressing bed-time struggles, night-wakings, extended night wakings, waking too early, and transitioning to a bed or a separate room. Suggestions are tailored to your child’s age, your situation, and your family. Answer the Wizard’s questions about your child’s sleep, and your family preferences, and he will give you suggestions on the spot.