Obviously, if you’re dealing with serious sleep issues, an appointment with a professional is in order. Relative to Beat the Too-Tired Crabbies, we’ll just hit what we see as highlights put into our own words.
1) Some aspects of sleep are genetically determined:
- Total sleep needed
As a guide, the average combined hours of night-time sleep plus naps are:
Infant (0-12 months) - 14-18 hours
Toddler (13-36 months) - 13 hours
Preschooler (3-6 years) - 12 hours
School-age (6-12 years) - 10-11 hours
- Timing of sleep as in ‘night owls’ and ‘early risers’
- Bottom Line: fighting straight up against genetics is going to be a hard Too-Tired battle to win. Think in terms of thoughtfulness and gentleness to work through your child’s realistic sleep needs and sleep times.
2) Less sleep than one’s genetic need invites trouble.
- Sleep deficits don’t just go away. They add up!
3) Lighting matters:
- Decrease evening light
- Avoid ‘screen time’ too close to bedtime – seriously, this matters
- Increase bright light exposure for waking
4) “Let ‘em cry it out!” to force falling asleep is not the answer.
5) Consider the ‘gradual extinction method of sleep training’ (doing a search on this will provide you with very helpful information).
6) Sleep onset and early waking problems might actually be a sign of something else:
- Milk-protein intolerance
For the complicated stuff - this is why we have doctors!