Gifted children need less sleep claim scientists
posted on January 18 2019
We ran this article on our Facebook feed and it was the single most popular post that we have ever had with over 100,000 people relating to the post in some way. It's a big claim, could interrupted sleep mean your baby is gifted? People laughed, commiserated, related and scoffed as well.
What is it about sleep?
It's absolutely part and parcel of being a new parent to be shattered from interrupted sleep. That sweet little bundle of yours has been known to turn into a terrific alarm clock in the middle of the night. Recently a customer told us the least amount of times her little one awoke during the night was eight. Eight was a good night! This became the topic of conversation where through the store we were all joining in trying to find a solution for her. Because we all know how horrific sleepless night can be.
What if we told you this interrupted sleep means you might have a genius on your hands. Professor Peter Fleming from the University of Bristol, who... to put him into context is the one who made the recommendation babies sleep on their back to reduce the risk of cot death-- specialises in infant health and development and now has discovered that babies who wake often are associated with higher levels of intelligence and better mental health. Well that's a relief, at least they're intelligent more than a thousand customers commiserated when we posted about this on our Facebook Page!
This super cute baby is lying on an Aden and Anais swaddle, made breathable and super soft they make caring for your baby at sleep time a real treat.
This certainly makes some of us feel better but doesn't take away from the need parents have to get restore their inner energies.
Along with some humorous relief came a wave of critique-- 'he's a man promoting attachment parenting that generally exhausts only the mother' was one complaint we heard on the original Buzzfeed article.
My mum who has looked after babies for 30 years knows from experience that when a baby wakes up crying they have not had enough rest. Often parents rush to their babies thinking they can help. But in fact, my mum recommends keeping a safe distance and not making eye contact, they might cry and then fall into sleep again.. The carer's job is to check if they need burped, a nappy change or are hungry. But whenever possible the baby is encouraged to go back to the land of nod and when they wake up gurgling, you'll see such a difference in their mood.
Prof Fleming claims that sleeping through the night is not a primitive instinct, that in fact it's more natural to sleep and wake every two hours-- and that in most parts of the world is kept with the mum for most of the day. So he's saying all this waking through the night is essentially to be expected.-- but we also know that human brains adapt to their surroundings and the world we have created benefit from continuous sleep for both parents and children. A smooth household is one where the family finds harmony allowing and encouraging everyone's primal needs to be met alongside each other, like sleep.
The problem is the cycle that lack of sleep creates, when you are tired you are irritable and this anxiety is present and contagious between people who love each other. So a baby's lack of sleep makes them and their parents grumpy and the genetically engineered cry in the middle of the night to reach the deepest sleepers amongst us is so upsetting that we blindly run to our little ones to make sure they are safe and try to sooth them. Sleep training we think, well it's still a subject shrouded in mystery.
I can pass on what I know and my mum in her job has helped thousands of families find peace.
Find the invisible line that as a parents you don't want to cross. This is different for everyone. For me I knew I wanted to accustom my daughter to sleep in her cot and through the night, so if she cried when I put her down, I did not lift her. I stood beside her and caressed her and sang. I would make sure the lights were out.
And when she was quiet I would removed my hand from her tummy and slowly start to walk out of the room. If she cried I would leave her for a couple of minutes to see if she got used to me being outside of her room. After a few minutes I would come back and rub her tummy again and say sleepy time. Maybe give her a comforter to sooth her cheek and walk out again. Repeating the cycle until she stopped crying and fell asleep.
Be prepared they may wake up after 40 minutes. This is how long their REM cycle last and we need to help the baby connect two REM cycles by encouraging and showing them that quiet and relaxations will lead to more sleep.
This took a lot of time and a lot of patience, like months and months. But I didn't pick her up unless she had a dirty nap and she soon learned a ritual. I suppose it's about creating family habits that you are comfortable with, whatever they may be. We'd love to hear your experience of how your baby sleeps? Any tips, thoughts and stories?
This baby is sleeping on his tummy but the recommendation these days is to place baby on their back to lower the risk of cot deaths. Also associated with the new positions of babies sleeping on their backs are lower muscle development in the babies back which means lots of babies hate tummy times which can lead to skipping the crawling stage and going straight to walking.