[Day Four] The Sleep Thieves - Intellectual Thieves of Sleep
Hello lovely mums
Welcome to day four of Sound Sleep Week
Over the last 3 days we’ve talked about journaling and awareness of your situation. And how looking at behaviour and activity and asking questions can help you find the cause of your little one's struggles Sleep wise.
Then we covered Physical & Emotional thieves of Sleep and talked about how some reasons for sleep difficulties may fall into these categories and what to look for in your journals so far?
Have you recognised any patterns in your little ones activities over last few days?
I know a few of you have had a lightbulb moment or 2!
Today I'm going to be talking about the intellectual Thieves of sleep.
When I'm helping mums figure out if sleep struggles are on an intellectual level I look at
Personality & temperament
Developmental leaps and milestones
Habits & sleep associations
I ask what a little one's personality is like when talking to mums. it can help me figure out why a little one may struggle with sleep and also the best way to approach in solving the issue so that we have happy little ones who love sleep rather than fear or resist it.
How your little one behaves when they are awake can also determine how easy or difficult they will find sleep. Understanding your little one's personality can help you identify how they cope with everyday life experiences and can show you what to focus on when helping your little one learn to fall asleep independently.
In the Baby Whisperer book Tracey Hogg groups the personalities of little ones into 5 categories, Angel child, Textbook child, spirited child, Touchy child & grumpy child.
Characteristics of The Angel child.
The Textbook child
The Spirited child
•Extremely active, feisty ,high energy. They dive into any situations/experiences without fear or concern.
•Acts on impulse/ easily distracted
•Can be reactive, may have difficulty sharing with peers although loves to interact with peers and adults, can sometimes be aggressive
•Vocal, excitable and vibrant they love action but can easily overdo things leading to overstimulation and subsequent meltdowns/tantrums which can be hard for them to recover from.
•Mood: “I want it & I want it now!” mentality, can be stubborn, opinionated and can swing from happy to sad to happy again
•Described as social butterflies, the life & soul of the party & often a real handful, can get overexcited hyperactive and then find it difficult to calm down and relax, they are fearless and fun!
The Touchy child
•touchy, sensitive and cautious in unfamiliar situations and environments – needs parental encouragement and support through changes.
•Get frustrated or easily overwhelmed by bright lights/noisy environments or strangers. •Reactive, irritable and easily upset.•Prefer to play in small groups or by themselves and weary of new face or experiences. Need encouragement to explore or try new things.
•Interaction with peers is minimal but will respond well to preferred peers and adults.
•Low energy yet observant of surroundings.
•Can be described as a cry baby, needy fussy and impatient a child who needs to know what’s happening next in order to feel secure & always right behind mum holding her leg or sitting on her lap.
The Grumpy child.
•Focused, independent but impatient. Grumpy kids are low energy but highly reactive kids who prefer to play independently or with select peers ( they don’t warm to many people or peers easily)
•If they’re engaged in an activity they can really focus but hate to be interrupted and will let you know they’re not happy about it either.
•Sticklers for routine and familiarity they don’t cope well with unexpected change or deviation from their routine without preparation.
•They need to be prepared for change which they won’t always welcome or may protest against. Real creatures of habit they like what they like and they like it just so.
•Can be described as grumpy impatient sourpusses child who needs routine & structure. Straying from what they know or are familiar with is asking for trouble. If they’re not happy with something boy do you know about it and calming them down can take forever.
These descriptions are not absolute, your little one may demonstrate traits from various different personality/temperament types. These are just to give you an idea of your little one and typical behaviours they might exhibit. These can also help you understand why your little behaves they way they do and how you may be better able to accommodate their individual wants and needs when helping them get ready for bed or wind down to sleep.
All children can experience overwhelm or overstimulation but I have found children who are spirited or touchy tend to suffer with overwhelm or overstimulation the most. Being aware that your little one can get overwhelmed easily and find it hard to switch off and wind down is a massive help. How your little one responds to overwhelm can be similar to overtiredness without the hormone release so it's often easier to help them calm down before sleep. Having a predictable and regular wind down process before naps and bedtime routine will be really helpful for helping an overwhelmed little one switch off.
It's also useful to bear in mind if you have touchy or grumpy personality types they will struggle with overwhelm when dealing with sudden changes. Or noisy or stimulating environments. If you've had a busy day out and about with your little one and they are of touchy or grumpy temperament type they may struggle to switch off or wind down in the moment and later in the day and evening too. Impacting on their thoughts and emotions. Do you ever look at your little one and just know the “cogs are churning” in their minds.
Little ones who use lots of tablets and computers in the afternoon and evening running up to bed can be overstimulated too.Limit access to screen time in the run up to bedtime as the blue/green tones backlight for tvs computers, tablets and smartphones are not only very stimulating but can interfere with melatonin production. ( melatonin is the sleepy hormone.)
So have a think, you may already know and recognise your little one's personality. If not make notes on how your little one responds in various situations. Do they get excited in noisy bright colourful environments or do they cling to you and recoil?
Are they easily calmed when they get upset or does it take a while and lots of distractions? Can they handle changes to their routine or way of doing things or do they freak out and struggle?
Don't worry i will cover journal analysis later in the week
Thats it for Day 4 of #soundsleepweek
See you tomorrow for Day 5
Charmaine Walters is a mum, night nanny, infant sleep coach and the creator of The Soundly Sleeping Club. Her online resource and members club for sleep deprived parents. To learn more about The Soundly Sleeping Club and how joining can help you not only get more sleep but help you better understand why your little one can struggle with sleep at times (and what you can do about it!) click here