🎄“Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house not a creature was stirring....” 🎄
words that give a magical tingle to any parent anticipating the excitement of Christmas morning when their children wake to see their stockings at the end of the bed, yet for many parents those words couldn’t be further from the truth and there has been plenty of stirring going on...
A recent poll on parenting website Netmums revealed that less than half of parents – 45.8% - say that their child regularly sleeps through the night, with more than 11% getting up three or more times, not a recipe for a well rested Mum on arguably the most hectic day of the year.
As a trained sleep expert, I can attest that uninterrupted sleep, is the most restful, healthy kind of sleep for infants and adults. Sleep that is broken with night wakes leads to daytime tiredness, a decrease in mental flexibility and attention, as well as considerable impairments of mood.
The juggling act of keeping the turkey for twelve moist, the potatoes crispy, making sure the glasses are filled and guests out of the kitchen (a fine art on the best of days!) can become a nightmare for a parent who has been up since 5am and been woken several times in the night before that ‘joyous’ moment! Add a grisly, overtired baby or toddler into the mix and the magic of Christmas starts to lose its shine somewhat.
Can you prevent this and get your child to drift off to sleep happily at bedtime and not wake until a respectable hour, even on Christmas Day?
Well I wish I could tell you where to buy that magical dust that I tell my children the big red man sprinkles on them before he comes down the chimney, sadly I can’t.
What I can tell you is that every child is capable of sleeping soundly for 10-12 hours a night and waking well-rested, attentive and cheerful, they simply need to learn how.
For many people with a child that wakes every night implementing any sort of sleep-training is a daunting task in itself and if you find yourself in that situation then possibly the best present you can give yourself this Christmas is to ask for help, something many parents are afraid to do.
The poll revealed that a third of exhausted parents lie about their children’s sleeping habits because they want to be seen as "perfect parents".
A further 61.7% have lied about how well they are coping with sleep deprivation with parents reporting incidents such as starting kitchen fires by putting sterilising equipment on the hob because they were overtired, while others said they had collapsed and been hospitalised.
If you find yourself in this position then you really are not alone and your child not sleeping is certainly not a reflection on how good a parent you are!
Sleep is a really complex issue. Any parent knows there’s no manual to the toughest and most rewarding job in the world, so do not beat yourself up thinking you’re failing if your child doesn’t sleep well. You are not alone and there is light at the end of the tunnel.
If you find yourself staying away from home this Christmas with your child then take a look at my top tips for travelling with baby:
I have more top tips for sleep that can be downloaded from my website Baby Sleep The Night which will give you the fundamental rules you need to know to get you on the right track.
Infant and Child Sleep Consultant Karen Bramall has been working with families to solve their children’s sleep problems for over a decade. She has extensive first-hand knowledge of what it feels like to be sleep deprived, having experienced it with her own three children.
Baby Sleep the Night was formed, after extensive research led her to solve her own children’s sleep difficulties and the transformation that it made to her whole family inspired her to be truly passionate about sleep.
Moved by the lack of knowledge and help available to new parents in the UK, about something so fundamentally important to health and happiness as a good night’s sleep, she went on to dedicate her career to arming other parents with the tools and knowledge they need to teach their children healthy sleep habits.
Karen takes a very holistic approach, getting to really know a family and their child, making sure absolutely no stone has been left unturned that may prevent them all achieving a great night’s sleep. She is incredibly passionate about supporting parents in a completely non-judgemental way.
Over the last decade she has worked with thousands of families, worldwide, teaching and supporting them closely throughout the entire learning process and holds a 100% success record with families who stick to her gentle caring plans; which are tailored to individual children and parenting styles.
In recent times the demand for her services has been such that she has expanded Baby Sleep The Night. On her website you can find the largest team of dedicated independent consultants in the whole of the UK extensively trained and personally mentored by her, certified to practice her gentle caring methods.
Having taken a step back from daily consulting, Karen now splits her time between training, mentoring and public speaking, offering Sleep Seminars to large corporations which are not only informative and educational, but enjoyable as well.
She is part way through writing a book, to share her methods and knowledge, which will be available soon and is developing an app to help parents through the process of teaching their children to sleep. Above all she is passionate about healthy sleep and strives to spread knowledge, which can transform the lives of families for the better, in a matter of days.
Karen can be contacted directly through her website here.