I recently worked with a client for the 2nd time, and when we started discussing her daughter’s sleep schedule she was not at all surprised by the super early bedtime recommendation. She said “Magda, I knew you were going to suggest this and I’m ready because it worked for my older daughter”. Many clients balk at the thought of pushing bedtime earlier. Understandably so, if they’ve built their schedule around a certain bedtime that they have gotten used to and that works for them. Work, after-school activities, dinner time and even an older sibling’s bedtime can get in the way of an appropriate bed time for the littler ones. But I’m here to tell you that an early bedtime is the secret remedy for many sleep issues. So bring back the early bedtime and make it a priority!
Biological Sleep Waves
Children experience naturally occurring biological sleep waves. What does this mean? That there is an optimal window for them to be put to bed where it is easier for them to fall asleep and stay asleep. If you miss that window, you risk your child becoming overtired. Overtiredness can lead to bedtime battles, night wakings and even early risings. It is important to understand that a child’s sleep needs vary by age and should be accommodated because it is what is best for them.
How early should my child go to bed?
This can depend on what happened during the (day sleep or level of activity) but sometimes, all is takes is pushing bedtime back by as little as 30 minutes to see a difference. Try pushing your bedtime earlier for at least a week to see if you get positive results.
Consistency and routine
Children thrive on routine and consistency, so having an appropriately timed bedtime at the same time every day, will help your little one adapt and accept sleep better. A consistent bedtime routine can also soothe and calm your child and give him the cues he needs to let him know it’s sleepy time. Make sure to give yourself at least 30 minutes to spend with your child to truly calm him and bonus, it gives you an opportunity for that special bonding time you may have missed during your busy day.
Give it a shot!
An early bedtime is a sleep consultant’s secret weapon, and it is often the first thing we recommend when making changes to the schedule for children with sleep issues. Children need a lot more sleep than adults and in this fast paced world we live in, many do not get enough. So try it out for a week or 2 and you may see huge improvements in your child’s sleep. I know it can be daunting to make big changes and figure this out, so please don’t hesitate to contact me if you need a coach to help you out. I work with clients on coming up with a plan that includes an age-appropriate schedule and help my clients implement that plan with consistency. It can be a game-changer!