Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Establishing Healthy Sleep Patterns

There is a great way for you to influence your child's intelligence to help him excel later in life. Teach him healthy sleep patterns while he is a baby. This is one of the best ways to influence your child's intelligence.

The author of Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child, Dr. Marc Weissbluth, uses the research of Dr. Lewis M. Terman in his study. Although Dr. Terman's research was completed in 1925, it is still widely quoted and used today. Dr. Terman used the Stanford-Binet Intelligence Test to test over 3,000 children. In the children who were found to have superior intelligence there was one thing in common. They all had healthy sleep patterns at night.

Tiredness can cause your child to experience colic-like symptoms, crankiness, irritability, fussiness, hypertension, and poor focusing and eating habits. Some studies even suggest that there is a link between fatigue and the increasing diagnosis rate of ADHD.

Now that we understand how important it is to establish good sleep patterns, we will learn about some things that may hinder your child learning good patterns.

1. Using nursing as a way to get your child to sleep is not a good idea. This causes your child to have a dependence upon nursing to get to sleep and they do not learn how to fall asleep on their own.

2. Rocking your baby to sleep is setting yourself up for problems down the road. Using a rocking chair used to be the norm, but now many parents will put a baby's bouncy seat on the dryer or take them for a ride in the car to help them fall asleep. These methods work, but as soon as your baby wakes up you will have to do it all over again. Your baby does not learn how to fall asleep on its own.

3. Putting your child in bed with you puts them at a risk physically and mentally. Sharing your bed may increase the risk of SIDS and your child could develop a sleep disorder. A research study at the University of Massachusetts Medical School says that there is a link between co-sleeping and children who have sleep disorders.

What do you do to help your child learn to fall asleep? You first need to put your baby to bed while they are still awake. In this way, he can learn to self-soothe and he will fall asleep on his own. Feed him, rock him, and cuddle on him before your put him to bed. You will be glad you did!