Lots of mums in my groups and on my Facebook page have been struggling with long bedtimes over the past week, with Little Ones really struggling to switch off. The Little Ones are then getting overtired, which in turn can cause more night wakes and earlier wake ups. With the clock change coming up at the end of the month, the last thing you need is an overtired Little One waking up at 5am!
Remember that there is always a reason why your Little One isn’t sleeping and there are things that can also make sleep harder. It’s so blooming hard to work it out when you’re exhausted…so here is a rundown of three of the things that make sleep even harder (and especially for busy little minds)
1. Overtiredness ~ this is a massive cause of sleep resistance in lots of Little Ones. When they miss their sleep window, their body automatically releases a surge of adrenalin, which triggers a surge of cortisol. These two stress hormones then keep your Little One awake for another cycle…which we see as a second wind. During this time we’ve got no chance of getting them to sleep! A build up of Adrenalin and Cortisol not only stops Little Ones from going to sleep, but also creates more wake ups and is the biggest cause of early morning wakes!
For Busy Little Minds, Adrenalin & Cortisol make it even harder for them to switch off as it does feel like a burst of energy for both the body and mind. Long term, high levels of cortisol cause anxiety…another thing to add to a busy little mind
2. Overstimulation ~ Our Little Ones are learning ALL THE TIME and they need time and space to process what they’ve learnt. As much as their bodies need to slow down, so do their minds (you know those times when they literally can’t stand anymore, but their minds are still whirring!) Television and busy environments just before sleep are the biggest culprits for this, as they give our Little Ones way too much to think about just before they switch off.
For Busy Little Minds, if they do manage to switch off, you can guarantee that what they have been learning that day will manage to wake them in the middle of the night, where they’ll need to either talk about it or act it out!
3. Stressful Environments ~ Our Little Ones pick up on so much more than we realise, so when there’s stress or tension in the house or where they’ve spent the day, it impacts them and their sleep. To go to sleep and stay sleeping well, our Little Ones need to feel safe…a stressful environment doesn’t feel safe. Think about when you’ve needed comfort, to know that everything will be ok…was the person that was able to help you feel better stressed or calm? Life is stressful at times and we are human, so it’s impossible to shield our Little Ones from everything, but being aware of our own stress and what we do to manage it can be a big help.
For Busy Little Minds, they tend to be more sensitive to what’s going on around them, picking up on other people’s emotions and the environment around them. They then are not always able to identify which emotions and energy are their own and what is someone else’s…another thing to affect sleep!
Also remember that there is always a way to help our Little Ones sleep better, especially when we understand why they are struggling.