Sleep Facts, Sleep Myths: 10 Things Every Parent Needs to Know

Almost nothing is more precious to parents than their children's ... sleep! Here's what you need to know.
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Sleep facts, Sleep Myths: 10 things Every Parent Needs to Know

Almost nothing is more precious to parents than their children’s … sleep! Here’s what you need to know.

-Elizabeth Pantley,

A mother in bed with her child

Sleep is by far one of the most confounding issues for parents with small children. Many grasp at straws searching for the right way to get their kids to sleep through the night but often find conflicting advice and many misperceptions. Here, our Parents Ask expert, Elizabeth Pantley sets the record straight on sleep.

10 things you need to know about kids and sleep:

1. Poor sleep causes crying, tantrums, whining, and fussing.
True: Beyond the frustrating parenting issues involved in sleep problems — your child’s sleep habits can affect every single waking moment of every single day. A sleep-deprived child is simply not as happy as one who gets adequate sleep every day.

2. One in three children wakes up at night.
True: As frustrating as it is to parents, night waking is normal. All human beings wake up five or more times each night, when shifting from one stage of sleep to another. The issue is not for a child to sleep all night without waking up, but for a child to be able to fall back to sleep – totally on his own – each time he does wake up.

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3. The first five minutes of naptime reduce tiredness.
True: The first few minutes of a nap eliminate tiredness for the moment. If woken just after falling asleep a child can’t return to sleep easily. Yet — at least an hour long nap is important to refresh a child for the remainder of the day.

4. Early bedtime means better sleep.
True: The majority of children have a natural, biological bedtime that is early in the evening. Most babies, toddlers and preschoolers respond best with a bedtime between 6:00 and 7:30 P.M. Most children will fall asleep easier at this time and then actually sleep better and longer when they go to bed earlier.

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