Welcome, right now:
Are you tired, feeling guilty, and unsure how to help you or your child sleep?
Are you struggling with bedtimes and sleep right now?
What do all families have in common when they come to a sleep consultation?
- You have read lots on the internet and in books, tried sleep training, and failed.
- Many of you may have bedtimes that are more than an hour-long duration.?
- You are missing time together as a couple.
- Some of you will have tried for three days and then given up.
- Has this made you feel guilty and caused your child a little more resistant?
You are in the right place. I offer gentle evidence-based sleep advice for parents and children from 7 months to -18 years of age. I specialise in children who suffer from anxiety. Be a proactive parent; help your family with evidence-based advice and sleep information.
What signs to look for if your child is Sleep Deprived.
Click below to listen to the Sleep Workshop I offered in Lockdown ( For some unknown reason, my voice seems to be much lower on Zoom).
Why is Sleep so Important?:
- Recovery – rest for the body, cell growth, housekeeping for the body
- Protection – keeping quiet and still reducing risk from predators
- Energy regulation – use less energy when asleep
- Memory consolidation – formation of long-term memories and learning.
- Growth Hormone is stimulated ( yep, sleep helps children to grow)
Why can it be so tricky getting my baby/toddler to sleep? A bit of the science
Babies are not born with a 24-hour wake/sleep cycle ( Circadian Rhythm). It can take up to six months. You must try to help your baby develop the right cues for sleep.
Here is an excellent tip from Gwen Dewar Parenting Science to help your baby/child now ( a great Website)
Studies show that babies adapt more quickly when parents provide them with the right “zeitgebers,” or environmental cues about the day (Custodio et al. 2007; Lohr et al. 1999; Tsai et al. 2012). Expose your baby to natural daylight, and involve your baby in your daytime activities’ stimulating the hustle and bustle. When evening falls, protect your baby from exposure to artificial lighting. ( Remove lights on the blue spectrum, and replace them with lights on the red/Amber Spectrum).
I offer sleep consultations from 7 months to -13 Years and workshops below.
Reasons your baby may not sleep:
Parental Stress: Picking up on Mommy and Daddy stress, your child may be picking up on your anxiety or low mood and may need more reassurance at night ( the sleep state is a long time to be away from mummy and daddy if the day has been fraught)
- Inability to self-soothe: Babies often fall asleep easily when held, rocked, etc., by their parents, but wake up right away when set down. Babies may still be learning to self-soothe.
- Daytime and nighttime reversal: As young babies have not yet developed circadian rhythms, they may not have night and day straight yet. Some get them mixed up, sleeping all day and then wanting to stay up at night.
- Sleep regressions: During specific periods of development, babies may be especially sleep-challenged. They may have more trouble sleeping as they develop motor skills, grow teeth, or learn new things.
- Night-time feedings: Most babies won’t sleep through the night until six months or older. Very young babies will need multiple night feedings — exhausting but necessary. Most babies expect one to two-night feedings, but three or more may be excessive.
- Night-time stimulation: While feeding or changing your baby at night, they can get stimulated. This may make them more fully awake and cause difficulties falling back asleep. Parents should take care to avoid entirely rousing babies at night.
- Separation anxiety: Young children can develop separation anxiety, often expressed as needing one or both parents at night. This is normal, and they should grow out of it, but if this is not the case, then do contact me.
Common Sleep Problems I work with pre-schoolers to age 12:
I see many parents who struggle to help their children with anxiety and nighttime fears. Fears and worries are widespread at night. It is usual for children to feel scared about monsters, ghosts, the dark, noises, and intruders. Before the age of six, children struggle to distinguish between fact and fantasy. These fears are genuine to them, and until you recognise and address the concern, sleep training ( relearning) will be ineffective.
Here is a sleep meditation I wrote for children who struggle with anxiety. I hope it helps you and your child.
In addition, children who suffer from daytime anxieties—about school, separation from parents, or other concerns—are more likely to fear the dark and fear sleeping alone (Gregory and Eley 2005). If you help your child with daytime worries, then it is expected that their sleep will improve. ( Gwen Dewar Parenting Science)
Concerning anxiety, Sleep is an extraordinary phenomenon. In western society, children sleep in isolation. This means they are away from us for a very long time. Sometimes it is not only our children who can be anxious, but you can also be. You may fear something may happen to your child during sleep. Reflect on how bedtimes and separations were negotiated in your childhood. Was there a death or accident in the family? Do you notice that you hold on and feel unable to let go?
Helping your child sleep in their bed.
Moving children from cot to bed or co-sleeping to their bedroom can be problematic. It is important to do small stages gently and include your child.
Often parents struggle with a consistent bedtime routine; it should be straightforward and 40 minutes maximum.
Resisting going to bed.
If your child is suffering from anxiety, they are likely to resist going to bed, stall or seem “wired”. They may beg for a snack and want another story, and they may even have a meltdown or tantrum. Be consistent, and you will need to manage the ” fears” for the sleep training ( relearning) to be effective. This is where most parents go wrong.
Self-regulation ( self-soothing) is the capacity to manage your emotions and behaviour following the demands of the situation. It includes reading others’ emotions and having the power to calm/self soothe when you get upset or be flexible to change an expectation or routine. Children are not born with the ability, and it is something that they develop over time. “Letting go into sleep” is one of the first regulations. I see many parents whose 6-year-old need mummy or daddy to sit, stroke, or be there with them whilst they go off. It’s tough for everyone and cuts into the evening for couples.
Night wakenings up
It is a myth that children or we do not wake at night; we all do. Some children wake up due to anxiety, nightmares, or other issues. If your baby or child can self-soothe, it will be easier for them to return to sleep.
How do you work?
Sometimes one consultation with me will be enough to get you or your child on the right track. But these things can take time, especially if your child cannot self-soothe, is anxious, or has a history of trauma.
What happens in a consultation?
Step one – consultation
Before a session, if possible, I will request a sleep diary of at least three days. This will include details of naps and feeds. My focus is on gentle strategies in combination with building solid and secure attachments. Your child must learn to self-soothe. My methods are not about disguised controlled crying. I find a successful outcome that the family feels comfortable with, making it easier and safe for your child. Please note I cannot diagnose medical disorders; you may need other treatment from your GP or Paediatrician.
Step two – Consultation and design of the sleep plan
We meet or talk via the telephone or Zoom. I take a complete history, birth, developmental, and what’s worked or not. We agree with a plan tailored to your family’s needs. It’s vital that whatever your child’s age, they learn to self soothe, manage their anxiety, and then sleep relearning is more likely to be effective. Often parents do not attend to these needs first.
Step three – follow-up
Depending on which option you choose, face to face in the clinic, Zoom, or telephone follow-up will be included as part of your cost, or you can pay as you go. A gentle approach can take longer, so this is important to consider if you want to choose to work with me.
- A one-off consultation ( face to face in the clinic, telephone or Zoom) for an hour and a half – £125 ( paid in advance via PayPal, it is not refundable, but happy to rearrange if you give me 48 hours’ notice)
- For talks within your company or a group (don’t hesitate to get in touch with me for fees)
- Further Sessions are at the hourly rate, or you can book six for £375
I can provide a free 10-minute call to discuss your issues, which can be booked in advance
Contact me if you would like to book a sleep consultation.