Diane Dauphinais writes about how Sound of Sleep consulting will help your family with sleep training advice.
Do you find yourself waking at night, feeling wide awake and unable to return to sleep? Did you know that approximately half of women and men suffer from insomnia, according to Stats Canada in 2017? I believe that this number is much higher during the pandemic where stress and anxiety have increased for many.
If you are looking for solutions, here are my top 4 tips for managing a night waking so that you can return to sleep more easily at night.
- Get out of bed and move to a different room in the house once 20 minutes have passed. Keep lights low, and do a relaxing activity such as some light reading. Once 20 minutes have passed or you begin to feel sleepy, then return to your bed. Doing this will allow you to associate your bed with a positive place where you can sleep easily, rather than not.
- Practice good sleep hygiene by waking up and going to bed at the same time each day. Have a relaxing bedtime routine most nights without screens at least 1-2 hours before going to bed.
- Decrease stress by controlling what you can. We may not always be able to change our circumstances, but we can move more during the day, keep healthy food on hand and breathe in the fresh air. Making positive changes to your routines will allow you to sleep more easily at night. Work with small actionable steps. Just a few minutes a day can positively impact your sleep.
- Create a list if stress and anxiety are keeping you awake. Write down everything that is on your mind at bedtime, or if you wake at night. Reading the list the next morning can help to improve stress during the night. You will always be able to find a better solution to the problem after a solid night of sleep!
Feeling ready to improve your sleep now? Schedule a complimentary call with me here.
Children are soon ending a long break from their last “normal” day at school. This is a time when I typically receive many questions about getting children back on their sleep schedule. However, this year could prove to be a bigger task than most if late nights, sleeping in, and a lack of routine have been happening regularly. Here are my top sleep tips for getting sleep back on track by September!
Get back on track now.
When does your child’s school day start and how much time is needed to have breakfast, get ready and commute to school? How much sleep is needed for your child? Make sure they are getting to bed early and receiving the appropriate amount of sleep for their age.
Have a bedtime routine.
Start working with a consistent bedtime routine each night. If bedtime has been later than it will be when school begins, start to adjust your child’s clock by 15 minutes every couple of days until you arrive at the desired bedtime.
Make sure some time outdoors with fresh air is happening regularly. The best hours will be when the school day is complete. This allows time to take a break, have some exercise, and get some fresh air. Hydrating properly, eating healthy food and having dedicated time to spend together as a family will also help maintain positive mental health for your child and the entire family. Placing importance in these areas will help your child sleep more easily at night.
Prepare you child for a different kind of school year.
Has your family decided to learn at home or attend school? Are they aware of what a “cohort” is or the importance of social distancing? Have some simple conversations about what school will be like:
- What are they looking forward to?
- Explain how the school year might look different and how some things might feel okay for them and some might feel different. Maintain a positive outlook while listening and validating their thoughts. If they are worried or concerned find ways to reassure them.
- Discuss the importance of proper handwashing and wearing a mask if it is necessary.
Keeping your child aware and keeping their mind at ease, can decrease the chance that your child will have a difficult time sleeping at night.
Have questions about sleep for your child or yourself as we approach new routines this September? I welcome you to call and schedule a free consultation here.
This has been a difficult time for many, especially children. Not only have our lives changed dramatically, theirs have as well. They are especially sensitive to the tension and stress parents are experiencing, which means they may feel more drained, and certainly more tired. Prioritizing sleep is essential for your children and family right now. Below I share four main reasons they need sleep, and what initial steps we can take to keep routines and sleep schedules on track during this time.
Children thrive with routines
Children thrive with routines, and truthfully, we all do. Even with most activities, schools and businesses closing, together with our social distancing, we can do something. We can control healthy habits, especially sleep. In a world that is feeling uncertain, having bedtime routines in place enables children to feel safe, secure, and rested. For example, if children usually go to bed at 7:30 P.M. and wake at 6:30 A.M. then stick with a similar schedule now. I also recommend eating together at regular mealtimes and maintaining a general weekday schedule. Keep a more relaxed weekend schedule for children and the entire family.
Sleep is crucial for their health
Proper sleep hygiene allows children to have better focus, improved energy, and boosts their immune system. Right now, focus on what you can do in terms of honouring healthy habits. We likely have more time than ever before, to eat more healthy, drink lots of water, and honour our sleep. Many children know we are trying to keep our bodies healthy right now. Have a simple conversation about how honouring our sleep is going to help with this, and make sure that you are doing this for yourself as well. Children will learn to value sleep when they see their parents doing this for themselves.
Use a Sleep Meditation
For additional help with sleep, there are some free online resources for children and parents. We have used these in our home.
- Calm is a free online meditation App that offers support during this time.
- Elaine Martin also shares some amazing sleep stories for children. I am a huge fan of her work!
Where to start
Implement a bedtime routine for your child starting tonight. If things have fallen off track with the whirlwind that has affected all of us in the world, just create a plan to begin now. Here is one example of a typical bedtime routine for children over the age of three years.
Step 1: Decide on a bedtime.
- Anywhere between 7 P.M. – 8:00 P.M. is ideal for most children.
- Plan your dinner time and evening to ensure this time works. Tip: Give yourself a 15-minute buffer when considering your schedule to allow for more time.
Step 2: Create a bedtime routine together.
- Create a visual chart for them to use!
Step 4: Enjoy this time.
- Now more than ever before, is the time to connect, slow down, and be present with children.
Step 5: Do your best.
- The night before, plan the next day, re-evaluate, and make changes. Allow your child to explore different options or ideas for tomorrow.
If you have any questions about getting proper sleep for your child or yourself, I encourage you to schedule a FREE consultation here.
Wishing you and your families the very best in sleep and health as we navigate through this time together.
Many parents have children at home while trying to juggle the household, work from home, and socially distance themselves. As a Sleep Consultant who works with tired families daily, I know this often creates even more demands on families raising young children.
Together with rested families in the Sound of Sleep Consulting private Facebook group, we have come up with some activities that are fun, easy and creative for babies and children.
1. Sensory play
Anything that stimulates the senses: touch, smell, taste, movement, sight and hearing.
Try play dough, dry pasta, coloured tissue paper in empty boxes, or fill up jars with soap, water, ice cubes, sparkles or anything else on hand to create a magic potion.
2. Create an invitation to play
Take a divided container (or use individual containers/bowls) where you can place some toys, playdough, and an assortment of items and let your child create using their imaginations.
3. Paint on a window
Use a ziploc bag, add some paper and squirts of paint. Zip up tight and tape it up for extra security, ensuring no leaks. Tape it to the window, and let your toddler, preschooler, and even an older child enjoy creating his masterpiece. Let your little one’s art work dry, and hang in an extra special spot!
We all need some exercise to stay healthy, produce happy hormones, and of course for better sleep! Babywear while doing a YouTube workout, or place your little one on a playmat while you interact with him. Join a local virtual workout class like FitMom, or give your child some hip hop music to dance and move their bodies too. Have older children create a workout play list on one of the many apps such as Spotify.
5. Create a band
Let your child take items from around the house to use as drums, and grab some spoons as drumsticks. In our family, we all have shirts from our annual Terry Fox run and became the Terry Fox Rock Band. We wore the shirts while working and our children created the music and performed for us.
While our stress levels can increase during this time, I notice a reconnection to more simpler times at home. Thankfully for many of us, with are home with those we love. I encourage everyone to take the time to accept the things we cannot control, love yourself and those you love. Who knows? You may even have fun doing one of these ideas, and experience a therapeutic connection.
Remember to honour your sleep as well. As a Sleep Consultant for babies, children, teens and adults, I know this will provide you with a stronger immune system. Rest and sleep will also decrease any additional stress and anxiety. This is needed more than ever during these trying times. I encourage you to schedule a free call here.
Wishing you the best in sleep and in health,
“So do you just sleep perfectly every night?”
I remember my friend asking me this. The truth is, most of the time I do. I am usually researching and helping others who are suffering with extreme sleep deprivation. I see first-hand how it directly impacts their energy, focus, relationships mental health and well-being.
I am also juggling life as everyone does and sometimes that means I have to have a plan to make rest a priority. Here are some of the most common ways that I see my clients fall off track and my tips for keeping sleep a priority.
- I have no time. Sometimes, this statement is true but, is it every single day? Where are the moments of opportunity for rest in your day? A 10-minute break or even taking a lunch break? What about a meditation? There are so many excellent apps to try. Breethe has some that take as little as three minutes to do. You can even listen to it while driving to create more mindfulness. FYI – I never FEEL like meditating, but I do it to take a break and calm my nervous system. Of course, to help me sleep better at night.
- My child’s schedule is too busy. Having a busy activity schedule can mean that the to-do list is left until the end of the day after the kids are in bed. This makes for a really late night.
It is important to find ways to get assistance from a friend or hired help. Perhaps you need answer only five emails, or set a timer for 15 minutes so that you can wrap up work and have time to unwind before bed. Not every night will be perfect, but by making small adjustments and setting limitations you can alleviate a lot of pressure and stress. Then you can have some time to unwind and eliminate those symptoms of insomnia.
- I want to stay up late. Life is meant to be enjoyed, and all work and no play is not the way to enjoy yourself. It is important to have nights out with friends or even watch a movie with your spouse. Our Friday nights are often movie nights before bed providing us with sometime together. Set yourself up for success by aiming for good sleep habits five nights of the week. Then the other “off’ nights will fit more easily into your plan for better sleep. If you are too rigid with your sleep schedule, you may quickly fall off track. You need to see your sleep as something precious and not a hindrance to your life.
Looking for more answers to your most common sleep problems? Schedule a free consultation with me here and start enjoying a perfect night of sleep!
Daylight savings time is coming up this weekend! I get a TON of questions asking for the best way to handle daylight savings time and children’s sleep. So what is the best way to handle it? My advice is to “split the difference.”
For “Fall Back,” my recommendation to all parents is just to leave the clocks alone so it’s not a psychologically upsetting event to see your little one up an hour earlier. Just get up at your usual time and start the day. After your cup of coffee and a bit of breakfast, then you can go around changing the clocks. It will feel much better this way, trust me!
If, for example, your little one usually takes a morning nap around 9:30 a.m., you will adjust this to 9:00 a.m. for the three days after the time change. It will be a bit of a push for your child, but not so much that it will cause much damage to her schedule. Do the same for the afternoon nap.
Let’s say your child usually goes to bed at 7:00 p.m. I recommend putting that child to bed at 6:30 p.m. for the first three days following the time change. (This will FEEL like 7:30 p.m. to your child.) And it will take about a week for your child’s body to get used to this. It takes everybody’s body roughly one week to adjust any kind of change in sleeping habits.
If you have children over the age of two, you can put a digital clock in the room and put a piece of tape over the minutes, so that they can see if it is 6 o’clock or 7 o’clock, but they cannot see the minutes, which often confuses toddlers. Also, set the clock forward half an hour so that at 6:30 a.m. it says 7:00 a.m. and let them get up a little earlier than normal, knowing that, by the end of the week, they will be back on track and sleep until their normal wake-up time.
If you are dealing with a baby, you cannot do that. Do not rush in as soon as you hear your baby waking up, because you do not want to send a message that getting up at 6:00 a.m. is okay now. So if she normally wakes at 7:00 a.m., but is now up at 6:00 a.m., you will wait till ten after the first day, and then twenty after the next, then 6:30 a.m. the next day and, by the end of the week, your baby’s schedule should be adjusted to the new time and waking up at their usual hour.
On the fourth night, just get in line with the new time so your baby is back to going to bed when the clock says 7:00 p.m. Adjust naps to the correct time on day four as well.
Remember, it takes time for all of us to adjust to the new time. Following these strategies will make sure that your little one does it smoothly and without trouble!
However, if your little one isn’t sleeping at night or napping well during day and you’re thinking it’s time to do something about, schedule a free 15-minute call with me! I would love to chat and learn more about sleep for your little one and your family.
Every day I have the privilege of working with families to have better sleep not only for their children but for their entire family.
I recently worked with a lovely family who was battling sleep deprivation with both their one year old daughter, as well as their six year old son. There is help as you will soon see after reading my recent interview with mom.
Diane: We worked together such a short time ago. Can you describe what sleep was like before we met?
Mom: Before Diane came into our lives, sleep seemed like a mission not even Ethan Hunt’s IMF team from Mission Impossible would accept, let alone successfully complete if they dared. Our 13 -month old would be nursed to sleep for naps and at night. She would always be placed in her crib asleep. At night she would wake after two hours screaming and I would stumble into her room (from our six year old’s room where I had passed out) and bring her into our bed for the rest of the night. She would nurse constantly. Our six year old fought us tooth and nail at bedtime. Each night I would fall asleep in his bed. Sleep would happen for everyone as a result of sheer and utter exhaustion.
Diane: What lead you to consider working with a Sleep Consultant for your children? Was there a significant moment where you felt that things needed to change?
Mom: I had heard about Sleep Consulting from friends of ours. I was curious…and desperate. Exhaustion can make you crazy. In preparation for heading back to work, I knew we had to try something different. I also wanted our bed back! I like the idea of having a coach – whether in sports, career wise or for sleep. My husband and I have terrible sleep habits and I didn’t want to pass this on to our kids. So, I hit up my good friend, Dr. Google, and found Diane. Her website was almost as fabulous as she is. Without a moment’s hesitation, I booked a consultation.
Diane: Did you face some challenges during the process? Was it easy and please be honest!
Mom: Absolutely. Naps were killer. At night my husband and I faced the new routine together with our 13 month old. For naps I was it. Diane was there to support and encourage me every step of the way. Without her, I would have given up. Even on days where my daughter did not nap, I made it through because of Diane’s patience, kindness and words of wisdom.
With our son, nights were tougher than ever before. Diane prepared us well with his new routine and anticipated every challenge we would face. Each day she helped us resolve the challenge, and reaffirmed we were taking the right steps to move forward.
Diane: Please describe what sleep for your children looks like now. Are they happy going to bed and waking up in the morning?
Mom: Our 13 month old (now 17 months) is a joy to put to sleep. Her grandparents regularly put her down for nap. She loves her routine, and goes to bed in her crib all smiles and waves us goodnight. We greet her at 6:30 the next morning after her brother takes her out of her crib. She wakes up babbling happily and then calls for him. She even gives him a kiss when he takes her out of her crib. Cuteness overload!!
Our son challenges us lots. He is seven now, and the challenges are typical at this age. The predictability has helped him anticipate what is next in the evening. He knows when reading happens and that he will get cuddles with Mum. This has given him security. I am now able to leave his room. He is asleep within 20 minutes and wakes up happy (for the most part) at 6:30 in the morning.
Diane: I always tell families that improving sleep for their child goes far beyond sleeping through the night. What changes have you noticed since sleep has improved for your family?
Mom: It has removed a lot of tension for the four of us at bedtime. Hubby and I have our bed back and have time to talk to each other after the kids are asleep. The kids’ sleep routines gave the adults predictability too. The battles with our son are fewer. Hubby and I even have a weekly date night! The routines have been invaluable for our babysitter too. The routine can easily be taught to others who care for our kids from time to time.
Diane: Every parent has valid questions when it comes to implementing a sleep plan for their child. Is there any advice that you would share with a parent who is struggling with sleep for their child and family?
Mom: Most parents plan on giving the gift of education to their kids. It takes planning and diligence to save for such an important part of your kids’ lives. Sleep is no different. It is a wonderful gift you can give your kids now that will last their lifetime AND make the education investment all the more profitable. Sleep is something you can give your kids (and yourself) now. All you have to do is call Diane. What are you waiting for?
If you can relate to this family’s experience and want to find out how I can help, connect with me for a free 15-minute call. I would love to chat and learn more about sleep for your little one and your family.
As you approach the end of September, it is normal to feel tired! It has been close to a month since your summer holiday season has ended. There are new routines that have begun since Labour Day, with the beginning of extracurricular activities, back-to-school and day-care. Fall is the time that you might be craving a little bit more sleep so that you are better equipped to deal with the busier days ahead – BUT is your child prepared? If your child has not yet gotten back into the groove of his regular sleep routine, now is the time!
Here are four great sleep tips to get you and your child back on track with sleep so that he can feel more energetic, focused for learning new skills, and be healthy – after all, sleep is the best medicine!
Educate About Healthy Sleep
Starting to teach our children about the benefits of sleep now is key! We easily speak with them about healthy eating, drinking lots of water, and exercising. Sleep is incredibly important for their well-being too. Discuss how sleep will allow them to play a favourite sport better, learn how to play a favourite instrument, and be more creative with art. Providing examples of the consequences when parents do not get enough sleep is also helpful. Perhaps our mood or patience levels change or we are more likely to get sick. This helps them to understand the benefits of sleep and reasons why they will want to reach their sleep goals. Understanding why is incredibly important!
One-on-One Time Before Bed
Include undistracted time with children after dinner time and before the bedtime routine begins. Eliminate all electronics, television, cleaning supper dishes and instead, spend time together. This creates time for families to slow down and see one another at the end of a busy day. Even just 15 minutes every day can make a big difference in eliminating stress and impatience at bedtime, creating a calmer, more relaxing bedtime routine and sounder sleep throughout the night.
Plan Your Week as Much as Possible
The more organized we are going into each week, the less time it will take to get ready in the morning. Being prepared for the next day allows us to feel less stressed at bedtime and get more hours of night time sleep, helping parents and children feel more rested!
Use the following strategies to help you plan for the next day
Determine a time that bedtime needs to happen so that children are getting the proper amount of sleep for their age (9 to 12 hours for children under the age of 10 years old).
- Use bedtime and morning routine charts that your children can easily follow.
- Spend 10 minutes on the weekend planning weeknight meals.
- Plan outfits for the week while folding and putting away laundry.
- Pack bags the night before for day-care, school and work.
- Have a family calendar hanging where everyone can see it.
Lead by Example
By showing children that we are prioritizing our own sleep needs, we help them want to do it for themselves also.
I have realized that many adults too are suffering with poor quality sleep. If parents are struggling with their own sleep goals, speaking openly to children about their sleep challenges and what they are planning to do to make improvements will help. This allows parents and children to make positive changes together. Remember, children are always learning by example through their parents. Some examples of how you can make healthy changes to your own sleep patterns are:
- Shutting down electronics an hour before bedtime.
- Creating a bedtime routine for yourself each night.
- Honouring your own bedtime hour (the ideal time for adults to go to bed is 10:00 p.m., waking at 6:00 a.m.)
Remember to stay on top of healthy sleep for you and your child! Everyone in your family will benefit.
Looking for more help with sleep for your children? Follow Sound Of Sleep on Facebook or schedule a free consultation here to chat more about your own child’s sleep!
With the last long weekend of summer coming soon, the countdown is on for back-to-school! To ensure that our children feel rested and at their best when the bell rings on the first day, it is important to make sure that they are receiving the proper amount of good quality sleep.
If summer time took your children way off track with their sleep schedules (ie. they are sleeping until noon but are no where near the teenage years yet!) here are my essential sleep tips for getting sleep back on track, starting tonight.
Start an early bedtime now.
There is no time like the present to get your children into an early bedtime routine before the first day of class. Start now – make sure that children are going to sleep no later than 8:00 p.m. so that they can get 9-11 hours of much needed sleep! Children will go through 5 sleep cycles, 5-6 times per night and each one is essential to help them focus, be creative, solve problems and be in a good mood at school. Not getting enough night time sleep means being forgetful, grumpy, impatient and can cause difficulty listening to teachers. For children that are in their first or second year of Kindergarten (as young as 3 or 4 years of age in Ontario), be prepared for overtiredness. If they are showing signs of fatigue, such as having more melt downs than usual, then moving bedtime earlier by even just 15 minutes can help them become more rested.
Use bedtime/morning routine charts.
Bedtime routine charts are an excellent tool to help re-establish that bedtime routine that may have been lacking or non-existent during the more flexible days of summer vacation. Creating one with children is easy by talking about the different steps in their routine, using clip art for a visual and posting it in their bedroom.
Morning routine charts are also an extremely useful tool to help with getting back in the groove for busier mornings. Having a list for children with important steps like, brushing teeth, getting dressed, and packing their lunch will eliminate frustration and that rushed feeling before heading out the door. Having a chart is both a fun checklist that children enjoy using each morning and a mental checklist for parents to refer to as well!
Implement school wake-up time.
In order to set children up for success on the first day of school, begin implementing the morning wake-up time now. If children are still sleeping in later than they will on a school day, then it is time to push bedtime even earlier. Getting enough sleep means waking up easily on their own and feeling rested without an alarm or wake-up call from parents.
Completing as many tasks as possible before school mornings is crucial to help the morning flow more easily. Decide on school-safe snacks to keep handy in the pantry along with grab and go fruits and vegetables, label all clothing and shoes before the first day, and select 5 days of school outfits with your child on Sunday night. Making a list of simple and nutritious dinners such as pasta, vegetables, and a protein or a taco night will minimize the after school dinner rush too. Decide on the weekend and refer to your list each morning!
Parent’s sleep needs.
Taking care of our own sleep needs as parents is essential to enjoying and succeeding in the awesome role of raising children. Be kind to yourself and make sure that you are getting 7-8 hours of uninterrupted sleep too. Turn off all electronics at least 1 hour before bedtime, and create your own bedtime routine to help yourself stay on track with sleep, along with your child, during the busy and fun back-to-school season!
Looking for more help with sleep for your children? Follow Sound Of Sleep on Facebook or schedule a free consultation here to chat more about your own child’s sleep!
Who doesn’t love summer with barbecues, the beach and holidays?? There is so much to enjoy and look forward to. But with little ones who thrive on sleep routines, it can really throw a wrench into those carefree summer days.
Who wants to mess with nap times or bedtime? Certainly not this Sleep Consultant or many of my clients who are now track. As a wife and mom myself who loves routine and in working with families, I have learned that there is a balance that needs to be considered concerning bedtimes and families having fun together. Here are my top tips to help keep your child’s sleep routine on track while enjoying some much needed flexibility.
1. Plan ahead
If you have a family holiday or weekend event planned when your child will be out past his bedtime, be prepared and plan ahead! Look at your summer schedule a month, as well as a week, in advance. Decide which events and outings will likely happen and plan strategies that will make this more manageable.
- Make sure that your child is well rested beforehand by planning less exhausting days with built in rest periods and “downtime”.
- If your child’s bedtime is going to be much later than usual, consider asking if there would be a separate room or space for your child to sleep while you visit. Bring the “pack and play” and a sound machine (if used at home) to help your child fall asleep with some familiar pieces. Plan ahead and bring the necessary and reassuring items from home.
- Use room darkening shades. Gro blinds are a wonderful product that you can bring with you and set up anywhere to create a perfect environment for sleep!
As we know, consistency is important as it gives structure and reassurance to kids. Some tips to perhaps keep in mind.
- Do not put your child to bed later than 30 minutes past his bedtime. If you are staying out very late, plan a place where he can sleep.
- Replicate the bedtime routine or at least most of it. This is a strong cue to your child that it is time to wind down and prepare for sleep.
3. Get Back on Track
Summer is a season when families can quickly and easily get derailed with maintaining a solid sleep routine. When you are back from vacationing and returning to more regular days at home, it is important to return to your tried and true sleep routines. You may need to put your little one to bed 30 minutes earlier for a week following a very busy holiday so that everyone (yes, parents may also need an early bedtime!) can get caught up on much needed sleep!
4. Enjoy the Flexibility of Summer
Summer days come and go so quickly. Soon we will be rushing back to our usual routines in the fall. So make it a priority and enjoy this very special time!
Set up a complimentary 15 minute call with Diane for more solutions for your child’s sleep!