So why bother calling in a Sleep Consultant? After all, a child with the strongest sleep skills will NEVER sleep straight through the night?
Yes, you read it right. Your baby will never sleep straight through the night. Neither will you, for that matter.
No Sleep Consultant can make that happen.
Everyone (who isn’t heavily sedated before going to bed!) can expect to wake up multiple times in the night.
This isn’t due to stress, caffeine, lack of exercise, or any other factors that can contribute to a lousy night’s sleep. It’s a normal, natural part of the human sleep cycle.
We’re all familiar with the various stages of sleep from our own experience. You might not be able to put a name to them, but you’ve certainly felt the difference between waking from a light sleep and a deep one.
Simply put, when we fall asleep, we spend a little while in a light stage of sleep and gradually progress into a deeper one. We then stay in a deep sleep for a little while, and then gradually re-emerge into the lighter stage. It’s when we are in this lighter stage of sleep, that there’s a good chance we’ll wake up.
That all sounds great, right?
You fall asleep at eleven or so, hit that deep stage by midnight, hang out there for six hours or so, and then start to come back to the surface around 6:00 or 7:00, gradually waking up refreshed and ready to face the day. Right? Wrong.
The whole process takes about an hour and a half.
That’s right. From start to finish. Going from light sleep to deep sleep and back again takes between 90 – 110 minutes.[i]
Luckily, the process repeats itself pretty easily. Either we’ll wake up for a minute or two and fall right back to sleep, or we might not even really break the surface at all.
Ideally, this happens five or six times in a row during the night. We get a restful, restorative snooze in the night, and we reap the benefits of it throughout the day.
Enough about us grown-ups. What about our little ones?
Infants, despite their increased need for sleep, have a much shorter sleep cycle than adults. On average, an infant goes from light sleep to deep sleep and back again in an astounding 50 minutes.[ii] So whoever coined the term, “sleep like a baby” was clearly misinformed.
This is where the essential element of sleep training comes into play. A Sleep Consultant doesn’t teach your child to stay asleep, or spend more time in any one stage of the sleep cycle. What we do is teach your baby to fall asleep independently initially AND when they wake up after each sleep cycle.
That’s it! That really is the heart of what we do. We help your baby to accept these wake-ups as a non-event.
Once they’ve learned the skills they need to fall back to sleep on their own, they’ll wake up after a sleep cycle, their brain will signal them to go back to sleep, and that’s exactly what they’ll do.
So in a nutshell.
A Sleep Consultant works with parents to teach their little one to stay calm and content when they do wake up.
Giving them the ability to get back to sleep without any help. No help from Mum, or a dummy, or any other exterior source like rocking.
Most importantly, we will help to ensure that they get the sleep they need to be happy and healthy.
So although your little one is going to wake up numerous times during the night, every night, they can quickly and easily learn the skills to get back to sleep on their own. It will only seem as though they’re sleeping straight through the night, which we love of course!
Note: This blog is specific to babies no longer feeding at night