Introducing Jen Varela as My Featured GSC Coach!

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Join me in welcoming Jen Varela, owner of Sugar Night Night as my Featured Gentle Sleep Coach! She is going to be available on my Facebook Page for the next two weeks to help answer your baby sleep questions! Since 2010 Jen has been helping families have sweet sleep by achieving their sleep goals whether in a co-sleeping environment, room sharing or families with their children in a separate room.  Jen’s experience ranges from helping families with infants in sleep shaping skills to families with toddlers and/or kindergartners who are transitioning to their own room for the first time. Jen Varela is the mother of two children. She holds a B.S. degree in Human Services with an emphasis in Counseling from California State University Fullerton, California. She is a member of the International Association of Child Sleep Consultants and a Certified Gentle Sleep Coach℠ trained by Kim West, “The Sleep Lady”. Contact Jen Varela: Call:... more

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Is Light Keeping Your Children Awake?

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We depend on artificial light for work and leisure, but we seldom question whether that light is healthy or not. But new research shows that some types of artificial light can actually be dangerous to you and your family. Artificial light is something we take for granted. It’s all around us, at every moment of the day and night. When the electricity goes out and we lose that precious light for even a few minutes, our kids complain about being thrown back into the Stone Age. But do you ever really think about the amount and type of artificial light that you and your children are exposed to? Artificial light--and in particular compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) and light produced by electronic devices like tablets, phones and computers--emits a type of UV light called Blue Light, that has been shown to be very damaging to humans and animals. Exposure to Blue Light can interfere with sleep patterns, cause excitability in children and pets, and contribute to health problems like macular degeneration and breast cancer. “Light is the most important environmental input after food and water, in controlling bodily functions.” -- R. J. Wurtzman, Scientific... more

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The Truth About Tears

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What do you think of when you hear the words “sleep training” or “sleep coaching”? I’m guessing that for a majority of you who haven’t experienced The Shuffle images of screaming, crying children left alone is one of the first things that comes to mind. I hear the same fear of tears from parents who come to me for help. No one wants to listen to their baby cry-including me. No one wants to leave their child alone, especially when your baby is frustrated, scared, and overly emotional about a big change that they don’t fully understand. While cry-it-out methods like Weissbluth and Ferber work for some, they are just too extreme for me. I believe that there is a gentle, gradual solution that will help EVERY child sleep that involves far less tears…if any at all.   From Good Night, Sleep Tight: “Through my Sleep Lady system, you will learn when and how to put your child to bed when he is still awake—drowsy but still awake. And yes, you may well have some tears. But you will be able to respond to them, which is exactly what your heart and brain (not to mention all that attachment research we just reviewed) tell you to do. Hearing those cries can be hard on parents. It’s easier if you remind... more

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4 Tips to Help Your Child Sleep Well Through the Time Change

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Guest post by Erin Anderson, owner of The Sleeptime Teacher If you’re like me and you’ve shoveled more than your share of snow during these frigid winter months, you’re probably looking forward to seeing the first signs of spring soon! While it may not exactly be flip-flop weather just yet, the beginning of Daylight Savings Time is right around the corner, and a nice reminder that longer, lighter, and (thankfully) warmer days are soon to come. For most of us here in the United States, we’ll be setting our clocks forward one hour on Sunday, March 9th, 2014 at 2:00 a.m. For those of you in Europe who observe the time change, you’ll be moving your clocks ahead on Sunday, March 30th, 2014. Now, I know what some of you may be thinking... sure, warmer weather, longer days, and retiring that snow shovel to the garage sounds great…. But the idea of losing an hour of sleep, especially if you are an already sleep-deprived parent, is just plain exhausting! Whether your child is a good sleeper or not, you’ll want to have a plan in place so that this time change will be as smooth as possible.   Do nothing for the time change!   I’m talking about a “cold turkey” approach, parents! After... more

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Recovering Good Sleep Habits After Being Sick

When you’re little, being sick is hard. And I think, at least as far as routine goes, being sick is probably harder on us adults who have small children. Suddenly, the routine is out the window and we’re just doing whatever works at the moment to make sure that our children stay hydrated, get sleep, and get better. With all the worry that comes with our children getting sick, it’s no wonder that our routines (all of them!) take a backseat. For those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, this has been an especially hard winter, which means that there are lots of families out there dealing with sick children…and the sleep disruptions that can come from stuffy noses and fevers. If you’ve had a sick child, then you know that it means night wakings, short or nonexistent naps, and (quite often) a very cranky kid. But what happens to your sleep coaching?   A Note From The Sleep Lady: If your child has a high fever, vomiting, or diarehha, please do whatever you need to do to make sure that he’s cared for and comfortable. You can always focus on good sleep habits later. I would much prefer that your child gets well before you begin to sleep coach.   It’s Okay to “Pause”   If you’ve... more

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The 2-Year Sleep Regression

Many parents breathe a sigh of relief once their child hits the toddler years. But then you’re dealing with molars, budding independence, and (for some) potty training. Logically, we think that development keeps moving forward, but when it comes to two year olds, you’ll notice that there’s a bit of backsliding as they learn new skills and grow up a bit, which includes the potential for another sleep regression. You may find that your 2 year old who was sleeping perfectly every night is now up multiple times. Or your partially potty trained toddler suddenly can’t remember to use the bathroom half the time. Or maybe your perfect napper suddenly screams all through naptime. The 2-year sleep regression is enough to drive parents crazy with all of the development and changes that are occurring. In reality, it’s a very good sign! It means that your toddler’s knowledge and skills are advancing and that they are sacrificing sleep to master another skill. Frustrating as this may be, consider this:   Your Child’s Awake Time Has Lengthened   Your toddler is down to just one nap, and only needs 10 1/2 to 11 hours of sleep every night. This can take some getting used to, and also means that you... more

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Sleep is an Art

By now, you know that sleep is my passion, and it’s also important, a fact that seems to be quickly realized by many of us. In a recent article, the Huffington Post examined the 5 places around the world that seem to have “mastered” sleep. With our packed schedules that often don’t have many of us going to bed (children included) until well after 9:00 p.m., it’s no wonder that we’re tired, sick, and operating well below our potential. I’ve written before about how a lack of sleep can contribute to some serious health issues, as well as cause our children to lose focus, going so far as to be diagnosed with ADD, when a lack of proper sleep is actually to blame.   Finding Positive Sleep Habits   So where are people getting better sleep? Well, all around the world, according to this Huffington Post article. In Tokyo, naps are more common, which means that the city has even built accommodations so that its residents can fit in a daily nap. A small town in Germany is taking a record of their citizens sleep cycles (their natural circadian rhythms), and plans to create a schedule that allows them to sleep at their optimal times. Going even further, on a small island in Greece, the entire... more

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What if My Baby is Afraid to Go to Sleep?

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A very interesting article was published recently published on the NewsTalk Blog where a mom wondered if her baby could possibly be traumatized where sleep was concerned. Interestingly, there is research that suggests that babies can remember trauma…but not like we would normally assume. Babies are wired a bit differently than adults, in that they haven’t developed “memory” yet, at least not what we normally associate with memory. Instead, babies remember traumatic events through their feelings, which means that they experience sensations when something that was traumatic is repeated. A common example is children who have had reflux, which is known to cause discomfort eating and trouble sleeping, who have been treated, but still experience trouble sleeping, and while eating. Some parents are surprised to find that their baby’s reflux is also the cause of their baby’s sleep problems. When a baby with reflux eats and then lays down, it hurts. This is because reflux happens when food and stomach acid flows back into the oesophagus and sometimes out of the baby’s mouth.   Why Your Baby May Fight Sleep   Based on the research, it’s entirely possible that a baby who has had pain from... more

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Introducing Dawn Braun as My Featured Gentle Sleep Coach!

Dawn Braun, owner of Well Rested Family, is my Featured Gentle Sleep Coach for the next two weeks! This means that she will be available on my Facebook page to help answer your sleep questions (just post them on my wall http://www.facebook.com/TheSleepLady). To learn a bit more about Dawn: I’ve always been passionate about health and wellness and being well rested is a key component. I strongly believe that parents don't have to suffer through sleepless nights and that every child can learn to sleep independantly. After giving birth to my first child, I became dedicated to sharing the gift of sleep with my own children and now I want to share it with yours. I am trained and certified by Kim West, The Sleep Lady®, in her Gentle Sleep Coach program. For over 15 years she has coached thousands of families so they can sleep through the night. Now her Gentle Sleep Coach program is spreading the knowledge of how to gently teach children to sleep independently. The Gentle Sleep Coaching Program is currently the most extensive and professional sleep certification program available. The program involves over 50 hours of training, an exam and participation in case supervision with Kim West, LCSW-C who has been... more

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Deep Sleep Helps Our Brains Clear Our Minds

Sleep has always fascinated me. There are thousands of sleep studies, and while we are constantly learning new and amazing things about the benefits of sleep, much about sleep remains illusive and still requires more study. That’s why when a new study comes out that links sleep to an important cognitive function, I get really excited. In a recent study, scientists at the University of Rochester found that there is a link between deep sleep and our brain’s ability to flush toxic waste out of our systems.   Deep Sleep Helps Clear Toxins   If you’re like me, you’ll stop for a minute when you see “toxic waste” and think. And yes, your body really does produce a whole lot of waste during the day. Some of what gets cleaned out is actually a protein that can be found in clumps in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients. Scientists state that staying up too late actually prevents your brain from doing it’s nightly cleaning. This is a pretty amazing find, especially when you consider that some degenerative diseases, such as Parkinson’s, are caused by a build up of waste in the brain.   Good Sleep Habits are Learned   You may be thinking “that’s all well and good...but what... more

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