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Common Child Sleep Myths

Common Child Sleep Myths

Friday, January 17, 2014 - 19:20


There are many misconceptions about children and their sleep – by understanding the truth about sleep, you can begin to address your child’s sleep problems.


Myth: Putting my child to bed later or cutting out naps will help them sleep better

“Sleep promotes sleep”, which means a well-rested child sleeps better and longer than an overtired one. Overtiredness actually makes falling asleep more difficult and causes disturbed sleep, with more frequent night and early morning wakings.


Myth: My child can’t be tired at bedtime, as they have loads of energy

Unlike adults, children who don’t get enough sleep at night typically become hyperactive, irritable, and inattentive during the day, with increased risk of injury and more behavioural problems. Sleep debt is alarmingly common during childhood and may be misdiagnosed as attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder.


Myth: My baby is just a poor sleeper – there’s nothing I can do about it!

Some children are naturally better sleepers, but the ability to fall asleep independently and self-soothe during the night is a learned skill, not something we are born knowing how to do. By taking steps to help your children develop good sleep habits, they can avoid sleep problems that may otherwise continue throughout their lives.                                                          


Myth: My child will grow out of their sleep problems

Around 10% of children under the age of three experience sleep problems. Recent research suggests that sleep problems in infancy are likely to continue into the toddler and pre-school years, if the underlying issues not directly addressed.


Myth: My child is just an early riser

Pre-school children need 11-12 hours sleep per night, plus naps during the day, depending on their age. The most common reason for early morning waking is over-tiredness at bedtime.


Myth: My baby will sleep through the night when they reach a certain weight

When a baby will sleep through the night depends on the maturity of their nervous system AND their ability to fall asleep without help. A baby may weigh 12lbs, 15lbs or more and still not sleep through the night, if they are unable to self-soothe.



About the Author:

Pam Clark is a Certified Sleep SenseTM Consultant and the founder of the Child Sleep Company

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