The building blocks of sleep

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By Jolandi Becker – MD of Good Night

At Good Night, the basis of our methods and processes are the building blocks of good quality sleep.  The reality is that even though sleep is quite natural, it is also quite complex.  Getting your baby to sleep better, is often not just one thing but a combination of things that need to be in place.  These ‘things’ we refer to as the building blocks of sleep.

Over many years and many clients, we have also realised that not only do the building blocks matter, the sequence of how they are implemented also matters.  Some building blocks might be easier to implement, but it does not make them less important.  In fact, these easier building blocks, are the blocks that hold it all up!  

Just like a house you will start with the foundation and build your house from the ground up!  This is the most responsible way to do it, as you can cause unnecessary crying or protest.

You can’t implement a bedtime routine, without having a sleep space (environment) in place.  You can’t expect your baby to have a ‘normal’ routine and schedule during the day if they are ill (other).  You cannot sleep train your baby (creating sustainable sleep associations), if you give them Coca-cola before they go to sleep (nutrition).

Other Factors:  these are factors that can influence sleep and cause wake ups but are beyond our control as parents.  Such as if your baby is ill or has allergies.  It is always advised to first get the all clear from your paediatrician before making any major changes for your baby/toddler.

Environment:  The most important part about environment is safety!  Keep in mind the ABC’s of safe sleep: Your baby should be alone, on their back and in a safe cot. 

Nutrition:  the classic chicken-egg-scenario.  If your baby is hungry, they will be waking up at night, but if your baby is not sleeping well, it could have an impact on their feeding during the day.

Bedtime routine:  The single most important thing to implement for your baby/toddler, a bedtime routine that is not too long and not too late.

Routine and schedule:  sleep begets sleep, your baby/toddler needs enough sleep during the day to ensure that they are not over tired at bedtime, causing them to struggle to fall asleep and to stay asleep.

Creating sustainable sleep associations:  Aka sleep training, the methods we use to teach babies/toddlers to fall asleep on their own.

It is possible to implement all of these at the same time, in fact in some cases it is advisable, but whether you do sleep training or NOT, implementing the building blocks in the right way can BETTER your families sleep.