Yes, you read that correctly. After having our first two kiddos so close together in age, I felt like I was losing my mind. The sleep deprivation was getting to me. I decided to read a book that a cousin recommended called Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child, by Marc Weissbluth M.D. This book ended up being a lifesaver for my health, as I previously mentioned here.
- Although Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child is not a real “page-turner”, the sections are thoroughly titled so you can just read the portion you need at the time. Dr. Weissbluth outlines a slow sleep training method as well as the harsher “cry-it-out” method so you can decide what suits your family. I love that sample sleep schedules have been created for each month of your child’s first few years of life. This has been extremely helpful for me to reference back to as my child’s sleep pattern is transitioning. I can also reference back to see if my child is getting a healthy number of hours of sleep throughout the night/day.
- But of all of the great advice Dr. Weissbluth gives in his book, my favorite is putting children to bed early. He recommends between 6:00pm and 8:00pm. After gradually moving our children’s bedtime (then around 9:00pm) earlier and earlier, we finally settled on 7:00pm. It has been wonderful for me to have some time to do what I want for a bit, have some time with my husband, and get to bed at a fairly reasonable hour.
- You may be thinking, “I can’t put my kids to bed at 7:00pm…they would be up at 5:00am if I did!” Well, if you do a gradual transition to an earlier bedtime, they may sleep even later than they were before. Through plenty of research, doctors have found that sleep begets sleep. And now that my children have their night sleep schedule set from 7:00pm-7:30am, they actually wake up earlier when they get to bed late…they certainly don’t sleep in!
- So, even though we get crap from friends and family, we put all three of our children to bed at 7:00 every night (with the very occasional exception that we definitely pay for afterward). We are all healthier and happier for it. I hope this helps someone who is hoping to gain their sanity back! And now that my kiddos have been in bed for 2 hours and I’m done blogging, I’m off to watch a quick show with my hubby before climbing into bed. Good night!
(And for tips on how to get your baby to sleep longer, check out this post.)