Christina Gantcher from Good Night Sleeping Coaching works with parents of children ages 0-6 looking for a good night’s sleep. Last week, Christina found herself in the basement “meeting room” of an Upper West Side apartment building full of guys munching on wings and drinking cold “beverages.” Not your typical sleep class audience, but then again, we are anything but typical. She was the guest speaker for the NYC Dads Group. Many of us in the room were the primary caregivers of our children, myself included, while others were at home part-time or worked full-time. We were all involved dads wanting to learn more about encouraging good sleep habits for our babies and toddlers, but also how we ourselves could get more sleep!
First, she talked and we listened. Here are some of the things I learned about sleeping children
The Sleeping Brain
- The sleeping brain is still awake and still working.
- Falling asleep is a learned skill.
- Quality of sleep has a direct relation to our ability to attend or “be present” in daily activities.
- We begin REM sleep (sleep cycles) at 3-4 months
- In transitioning from cycle to cycle, we have partial arousal where the body wakes up.
- During milestones, sleep disturbances are a given.
- There are “windows” that are the right time to sleep. The body releases Cortisol (a bump in energy supplies) and the body wakes up.
- You have to catch one of these windows, so if your encounter trouble, wait 45 minutes to an hour to try for another “window.”
- Look for clues that may not always be noticeable to signify sleep time.
- Consistency is the key to success.
- Nap time you really want two 45-minute sleep cycles. So at least a 1.5-hour nap is very good.
Why do some children get up so early?
- Bedtime is too late
- Nap Deprivation
- Nap/bedtime gap is too short
- Inconsistent response. (some mornings you bring them into bed, some you get up, some you watch TV. etc.)
Then we talked, and she listened.
While each of us had our own unique issues, somehow I left the “lecture” feeling more connected to the other dads in the room. It’s always good to know that others are struggling with these issues too. We were all looking to learn more and by the end of it, we learned from each other and from Christina. If you want to learn more, I encourage you to contact Christina Gantcher at goodnightsleepcoaching.com.
About the author
Bryan Grossbauer is an actor, musician, former teacher, and full-time stay-at-home dad.