Common Sleep Myths

August 10th, 2011  |  Published in Infants, Parenting News, Preschoolers, Toddlers

MYTH: Healthy sleep habits develop automatically.
FACT: The process of sleep is a learned skill. Some children learn this skill more readily than others. Parents can help or hinder the development of healthy sleep habits.

MYTH: Crying signifies pain.
FACT: An infant cries to communicate a wide range of feelings and needs. Crying does not always mean a child is in distress. Infants cry out of protest, as if to say, “I don’t want to do this” or “I don’t like this.”

MYTH: Protest crying at bedtime causes longterm emotional or psychological problems.
FACT: The research is clear that there is no evidence crying results in long term health issues for the child. In fact, the opposite is true. The ability to be alone is a vital sign of maturity in emotional development.

MYTH: Children outgrow unhealthy sleep habits.
FACT: As stated previously, healthy sleep habits are something that must be learned. There is no magical age or developmental time where children make a switch to autonomous sleep on their own.

MYTH: Removing a nap means longer night sleep.
FACT: Sleep begets sleep. A child will sleep longer at night without night wakings when s/he has healthy naps during the day.

MYTH: Later bedtime equals later wakeup time.
FACT: It is counterintuitive, but an earlier bedtime can result in a later wake up time.

MYTH: Feeding solids to infants affects sleep.
FACT: Sleeping longer is due to maturation, not diet. Hunger has little to do with how a baby sleeps.

MYTH: Teething causes child sleep problems.
FACT: Teething by an infant should not disrupt sleep significantly.

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