Make Sleep a Priority in 2023
Happy 2023, everybody! It’s a whole new year full of potential and opportunities!
If you’re like me, when the calendar flips over, you set some lofty new goals to improve your quality of life.
Get more exercise, eat healthier, land a new job, save some money, and spend more time with family; there’s no shortage of resolutions we can make to make ourselves and our families happier and healthier. Creating a “New Year’s resolution” has been around for hundreds of years.
Sadly, around 88% of people seem to fall short of their resolution goals, but I have a great strategy to help you join the happy minority who set their intentions on January 1st and succeed.
How? Well, you probably won’t be too surprised to hear that it involves sleep. (Surprise!) But don’t get the wrong idea! I’m looking at four of the most common, non-sleep-related new year’s resolutions and explaining how a good night’s sleep can scientifically maximize your chances of achieving each of them.
So check it out! Here they are, along with the percentage of people who swear they’re going to achieve it on an average New Year’s Eve.
Lose Weight - 40%
If you’re not getting the recommended 7 hours of sleep per night, it might be affecting your ability to lose weight.
That may seem a little counterintuitive to some people. After all, the more time we spend awake and active, the more calories we burn, right?
The problem is that sleep plays a crucial role in moderating two vital hormones called ghrelin and leptin. Ghrelin sends hunger signals to your brain, and leptin does the opposite, signalling fullness and suppressing hunger.
A 2004 study found that ghrelin levels were almost 15% higher in people who didn’t get enough sleep, and leptin levels were 15.5% lower, causing them to feel hungry more often. So if you’re determined to lose weight this year, getting enough sleep can go a long way to helping you reach that goal.
Get more exercise - 52%
Getting in shape is always an admirable goal. Getting your heart rate up, staying active, improving flexibility, and building strength are all excellent ways to help you stay healthy and feel your best.
But if you’re not getting the sleep you need, getting motivated to hit the gym or go for a run can be a much more significant challenge than it needs to be. You’re likely to get tired out faster and not see the results as quickly as you would if you’re regularly enjoying a good night’s sleep.
Sleep is the body’s regeneration phase, so even if you work out vigorously during the day, your muscles won’t regenerate bigger and stronger if you don’t get the recommended amount of sleep at night. Or, as the gym fanatics would put it, “You ain’t gonna see those gains, bro!”
In short, getting the biggest return on the effort you put into your workout requires a good night’s sleep. Seeing those results is an excellent way to stay motivated.
Spend more time with family - 37%
We’re all looking to make the most of our time, but we also obviously have responsibilities that must be attended to. Whether you’re working a 9-5 job, running a small business, or a stay-at-home mom, by the time you’ve tackled everything that needs to be done in a day, there’s hardly any time to just get together as a family and enjoy each other’s company.
We can’t increase the number of hours in a day, but we can increase our productivity, freeing up time to do the things we love, and to do so, all you need to do is get to bed on time.
According to Dr. Michael Grandner, director of the Sleep and Health Research Program, “Many people believe that in order to get more done, they need to sacrifice sleep.” However, this study shows that, quite to the contrary, poor sleep is associated with lower productivity in general, and specifically across a wide range of areas.”
So, simply put, even though you may be getting to bed earlier, that extra sleep will increase your productivity to the point where you’ll actually have more time during the day to spend doing the things you love.
Eat Healthier - 50%
Check this out. A 2013 study found that sleep deprivation led to significantly higher cravings for foods high in fat and/or sugar.
You can check out the article for all the science-y stuff, but I’ll let the study’s authors explain it in layperson’s terms.
“What we have discovered is that high-level brain regions required for complex judgments and decisions become blunted by a lack of sleep, while more primal brain structures that control motivation and desire are amplified.
These results shed light on how the brain becomes impaired by sleep deprivation, leading to the selection of more unhealthy foods and, ultimately, higher rates of obesity.”
So, getting enough sleep can actually make it easier for you to eat right. How great is that!?
And there you have it, people. If you want to set yourself up for some new year’s resolution success, there’s one habit you can focus on that’ll make all the others much easier to achieve. Get to bed on time, turn off those screens at least an hour before you hit the hay, leave your phone in the living room, and take the time to wind down before bed.
And if you’re not sleeping well because your little one is waking up at night, we should talk! Solving your baby’s sleep issues is the first step to solving your own, and I’ve helped hundreds of families do exactly that.
Book your Free 20 Minute Sleep Evaluation now.
Erin Neri - Certified Pediatric Sleep Consultant and Owner of To The Moon and Back Sleep Consulting since 2016.
The holidays are almost upon us, and I absolutely love this time of year!
Why? More than anything, it’s the opportunity to reconnect with the special people in our lives who we might not have seen in a while. Of course, everything about the holidays is special to me, but the people are what really get me excited.
Friends, family, neighbours, and acquaintances take this occasion to visit one another in person, which I’m sure we can all agree is more valuable to us this time after the pandemic caused so many missed opportunities to reconnect.
For many of you, this may be the first time your friends and family members get to meet your new baby, which is such a magical moment for everyone involved. Babies bring us together in an extraordinary way.
Now, I don’t want to sound like a grinch here, but if you’ve been working hard to teach your baby some independent sleep skills and they’re finally sleeping through the night, I just want to warn you that even though this is a wonderful time to celebrate and spend time with the people you love, it’s also an absolute minefield of potential sleep sabotage.
I’m going to single out grandparents here because they’re the most likely to be staying with you and the most likely to take liberties with your rules around your little one, but the same strategies apply to anyone who might be nudging you to ease up on bedtime and naps so they can visit with your baby.
Common examples of this “nudging” include…
All of these things are said with the best intentions, of course. Grandparents are usually more than willing to get up and tend to their grandkids. You can’t really fault people for wanting to spend time with your adorable babies, can you?
Intentions aside, though, sticking to your guns when people ask you to push back your little one’s bedtime can be tough, but I assure you, it’s necessary.
One late night is often enough to leave your baby overtired, making it tough to get them to sleep, causing less restful sleep when they eventually do go down, and often resulting in nighttime and early wakeups, all of which leaves your baby tired and irritable the next day.
And whose problem is it then? Well, yours, obviously. The first thing most people do when a baby starts to cry is hand them back over to their parents, thinking they know how to get them settled. Then the bad night’s sleep leads to a tough day of naps, leading to another rough night, and here we go again, just in time for the holidays.
I’m not trying to be an alarmist, but things can get out of hand pretty quickly, so today, I wanted to give you some tips for politely but firmly putting your foot down when your houseguests ask you to hold off on putting your baby to bed.
Be confident in your decision.
Remind yourself of what you and your baby were going through when they weren’t sleeping well, and ask yourself if you can go through it again, especially during the holidays. Remember that you’re doing the right thing for everyone involved, and that’s never selfish.
Explain the situation.
If people understand the struggle, you’ve undertaken to get your baby sleeping well. They’ll be much more likely to accept it when you insist on strict bedtime and nap schedules. So let your guests know that you’re right about teaching your baby some sleep skills and that they’ll need to go to bed at specific times, with no exceptions.
Highlight the rewards.
This is really the best method I’ve found for appeasing houseguests who don’t know the value of sleep. When they’re pushing for you to let baby, say, skip a nap, ask them, “Would you rather spend three hours with a crying baby or two hours with a happy one?”
After all, it’s tough to bond with a baby when they’re fussing and irritable, so remind Grandma and Grandpa that it’s a choice between forming those cherished memories of their grandchild laughing and cooing in their arms or significantly more forgettable ones of them fussing, screaming, and reaching for their parents because they’re tired and miserable.
Take deep breaths.
I know that sounds facile, but deep breathing really is an effective method of calming your brain and body down in moments when, let’s say, just as an example, your mother-in-law goes to “check” on your baby after they’ve been napping for 15 minutes and then emerges from their room holding a tired, bleary-eyed baby in their arms, claiming that baby was already awake when they walked in. Y’know. Just hypothetically. Not like your mother-in-law would dream of doing such a thing.
Take a few deep breaths, seriously. Before you say anything, just smile, breathe deeply in through your nose and out through your mouth, and remember that they’re just head-over-heels in love with their grandchild and didn’t do it to overrule or defy you. Give it a minute, and once you’ve cooled off a bit, calmly tell her that you’d like to see if baby can get a slightly longer nap and take her back to her crib.
Be the Boss.
Above all, remember, this is your child, and you know what’s best for them, so don’t let other people’s suggestions or experiences influence your judgment. You may hear things like, “We always let our little guy stay up late on Christmas Eve so he’d sleep late on Christmas morning,” or “You’ve got to make exceptions during the holidays.”
None of those people know your baby like you do, so all of their opinions combined don’t hold a candle to your knowledge and proficiency in this arena. You don’t need to be a tyrant, but you should never forget that you’re in charge because you’re the expert! So rock that title and do what you know is right.
The great news is, this is usually a one-time ordeal because once your family and friends see how well your little one sleeps, they quickly learn to appreciate why you take it so seriously.
After experiencing first-hand how delightful it is to be around a well-rested baby, they won’t be asking questions when they come back next year. Instead, they’ll just enjoy the experience and quietly marvel at how awesome you are at raising kids.
So happy holidays, everybody! Have fun, enjoy the season, and sleep well!
Erin Neri - Certified Pediatric Sleep Consultant and Owner of To The Moon and Back Sleep Consulting since 2016.
As a mother myself, and a sleep consultant, I've come to the inescapable conclusion that babies, as a rule, are complicated creatures. Matthew McConaughey’s quote on newborns always gives me a chuckle, "They eat, they crap, they sleep, and if they're crying, they need to do one of the three, and they're having trouble doing it. Real simple." In a way, he's right. A baby's vital needs essentially break down into sleeping, eating, and pooping. Their only real form of communicating any issue is through crying. Identifying the fact that there is a problem with our babies is far easier than solving the problem, and as parents, isn't that all we want?
As a pediatric sleep consultant, there are a few questions I’ve grown accustomed to hearing. People are understandably curious about whether or not their child is going to cry, and if so, for how long. They want to know how long it’s going to take before baby starts sleeping through the night, and when they’ll be able to do the same.
And even though they never come right out and say it in so many words, they want to know if there’s some kind of magical solution that will solve the problem instantaneously without any effort, crying, or protest.
Infant Mental Health Training
Holders of the Child Sleep Institute IMH Badge have completed a university-level course in Infant Mental Health. This course is offered periodically by the Infant Mental Health Program at the Ontario Hospital for Sick Children.
By signing up through the Child Sleep Institute, class participants also have the opportunity to discuss the course with other class members. This results in greater knowledge retention and understanding.
The CSI IMH badge is only awarded to members of the Child Sleep Institute Program who have provided a copy of the Completion Certificate awarded by the Infant Mental Health Program.
Certified Sleep Sense™ Consultants undergo an extensive 3-month training program and are required to attend several “continuing education” events each year in order to maintain their certifications. Because of this extensive and ongoing training they are fully qualified to give all the tools, guidance, and support that you will need to get your child sleeping through the night - and napping well during the day!
The Sleep Sense Program has been around since 2003 and has helped over 100,000 parents find a quick gentle solution to their children's sleep problems.
Hiring a Certified Sleep Sense™ Consultant gives parents the peace of mind that you will have support and guidance through the process with you every step of the way!
To The Moon and Back Sleep Consulting
Providing families the tools & support they need to get their little ones sleeping through the night and napping like champs! Everyone has more fun when they are well rested!
Visit Wollino - Discount Code: TOTHEMOONANDBACK10