There are six essential elements for creating great sleep in young children. If you aren't optimizing each of them, your child is probably not getting all the high-quality sleep she needs. Inadequate hours of sleep, or sleep at the wrong time or in the wrong place or with too many wakings all lead to an overtired child.
Overtired children have trouble falling asleep and staying asleep. Their naps are too short and they wake up too early in the morning. It's a vicious cycle.
Overtired children also tend to be wound up and hyperactive. They usually are not sleepy. This is because their bodies produce a stress hormone, cortisol, when they don't get enough high-quality sleep. This stress hormone helps them stay awake but makes it hard for them to focus effectively on their play -- their work -- or to fall asleep when naptime rolls around.
If you optimize these six elements, you can guarantee better sleep for your child. They are as follows:
I know reading the suggestions here, or in a book, isn't the same as actually putting them into practice. Doing so can be intimidating, especially when your family is already exhausted. Let me help. Schedule a free call and change your family's life forever.
Abby Wolfson is a pediatric nurse practitioner, certified child sleep consultant and former NICU nurse. She divides her time between Brooklyn, NY and San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.