Editor’s Note: People ask us all the time what we talk about in out Meetups. With nearly 550 guys in the group, you can imagine that we all have different interests, but we all share the goal of being caring, competent, and confident fathers, so conversation often turns to our parenting struggles. Enjoy this guest post from NYC Dads Group member, Bryan Grossbauer, as he recounts a recent Meetup we hosted to discuss one of the issues almost every parent struggles with: sleep. -M.S.
Christina Gantcher from Good Night Sleep Coaching works with parents of children ages 0-6 looking for a good nights 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 care givers 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 of sleep!
First, she talked and we listened. Here are some of 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.
- 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 ares struggling with theses 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
Bryan Grossbauer is an actor, musician, former teacher, and full time stay at home dad. He is father to 22-month old Finn and has a daughter that will be arriving at the end of April. Bryan and his wife, Erin O’Callaghan, live in Manhattan and enjoy traveling, hiking, and live music. Follow his adventures at redwagonstories.blogspot.com and @bryangrossbauer on Twitter.
A version of this post also appeared on Bryan’s blog, Red Wagon Stories