Have you ever received conflicting advice regarding your child's sleep? Here are some myths that you would benefit from knowing about the subject.
A baby who eats cereal before bed is more likely to sleep through the night
False. No scientific study has been able to demonstrate a link between a baby's diet and the duration of his nocturnal sleep. The temperament of the child, his degree of maturity and his environment will, among other things, determine the time at which he will sleep. It is not recommended to give cereal to a baby under 4 months old since his digestive system is not ready to assimilate solid food. The irritation caused by food could cause food allergies or intolerances to develop. In addition, the child is more likely to develop diabetes and obesity if the introduction of foods is started at a very young age.
When the child sleeps, his body is almost inactive
False. During sleep, many beneficial actions are triggered inside the child's body. Among other things, his metabolism reserves energy, his body grows, his immune system regains strength and his organs regenerate. When the child sleeps, his brain classifies the information he has integrated during wakefulness, regulates emotions and mood. It is particularly active during REM sleep, this period when the individual dreams. It is therefore wrong to believe that sleeping is a waste of time!
Abolishing the child's nap in the afternoon will make it easier to go to bed at night
False. The nap is all the more important for children who have difficulty going to bed at night. A little one who has not rested after dinner will risk being exhausted at the end of the day. He will tend to be overexcited, irritable and oppose. Making sure to maintain a pleasant and peaceful atmosphere before bedtime will be much more effective than suppressing the nap. A repeated routine night after night will lead your child to be calmer before bedtime.
Doing strenuous physical activity before bed promotes sleep
False. Physical activity actually allows the child to spend his energy and thus have a more restful sleep. On the other hand, it is recommended to plan periods of intense activity at least three hours before bedtime, either in the late afternoon or early evening. Otherwise, the child could be more feverish in the evening and his sleep could be disturbed. To relax your child, you will benefit from offering him calming activities such as playing with modeling clay, coloring, doing puzzles, looking at books, practicing yoga postures, taking a bath, etc.
Relaxing in front of the television before bed will predispose my child to sleep
False. Listening to a television program, seated comfortably on the loveseat, seems very restful. The body is indeed relaxed, but the brain is bombarded with information. In addition, the light from certain screens reduces the production of melatonin, the hormone predisposing to sleep. All screens combined, television, cell phones, computers, video game consoles and tablets should therefore be avoided before bedtime. Reading a family story or looking at a photo album before putting your little one to bed will be just as relaxing and will help solidify the emotional bonds that unite you.
Letting music play while the child sleeps will lead to peaceful sleep
False. Music, even if it is only instrumental, can actually interfere with the sleep of the little one. Melodies continually challenge the brain. As a result, it can lead to less restorative sleep. In the long term, the child may show signs of fatigue during the day. In addition, if he wakes up in the middle of the night, when he is used to falling asleep with music, he could develop difficulties to go back to sleep independently. Used regularly during the pre-bedtime ritual, soft music allows the child to prepare mentally for going to sleep. To allow his brain to surrender to deep sleep, it is best to stop the music as soon as the childgoes to bed.
Sleeping more on weekends compensates for the lack of sleep accumulated during the week
False. Between 10 and 12 hours of sleep per night are generally necessary for young people under the age of 16. When the lack of sleep is persistent, the child develops a sleep debt that is difficult to eliminate. Recurrent fatigue could harm his he alth and lead him to develop behavioral problems. Setting bedtimes and wake-up times will stabilize his biological clock and allow the child to be fully rested. According to a recent study1, children who regularly go to bed at the same time have better memory skills. This statement particularly affects three-year-old children, for whom cognitive development is in full swing.
As there is so much conflicting information out there about sleep, it's easy to get lost. You will benefit from verifying the accuracy of this information. Above all, know how to listen to your child's needs and use your good judgment!
1 He alth log: Regular bedtime makes the brain plasticity