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Vital Times Newsletter
Newsletter Spring 2011

Welcome to the "Sleepy Spring"
Vital Times Newsletter...

It's not new news, but it is important to be reminded about our sleep. Both adults and children can have sleep issues and ultimately it can have a detrimental effect on our health and well-being if we are not getting enough uninterrupted sleep each and every night.

So I have asked "Sleep Sense" consultant Sukki Sandhu, M.ed to contribute an article with some good sleep tips for babies and children. And for adults, I have contributed a few thoughts on why we might not sleep well and listed some possible adaptations to our lifestyle that may help.

We wish you a restful spring!

In This Issue:

• Why is Sleep So Important for Babies and Children
• 5 Important Tips
for Baby's Sleep
Good Sleep Hygiene
A Sample Sleep Schedule
Being Present & Mindfulness, Boundaries & Multitasking


Treatment Centre

302-1842 Oak Bay Ave
Victoria, BC V8R 1C2

Ph: 250.370.1020

Monday to Friday
8:30 am to 7:00 pm
Saturday & Sunday
8:30 am to 5:00 pm

Why is Sleep So Important
for Babies and Children
by Sukkie Sandhu, M.Ed, Licensed Sleep Sense Consultant

When I was pregnant with my first child, I envisioned my child becoming accustomed to MY lifestyle. I fantasized about having no disruption to my dinner parties, long afternoon excursions and decedent coffee dates with my husband and friends. My child would simply adjust to this way of living, wouldn't he? He would easily become accustomed to eating "on the fly," sleeping "on the fly," essentially living "on the fly" (as long as he was with me!) and everyone would be happy. Months later, baby arrived and CRASH, BOOM, BANG... REALITY!

It didn't take me long to realize the importance of consolidated sleep for my child; meaning, not fragmented and uninterrupted. And if he didn't get it, he was a grumpy and irritable little bugger making my dinner parties, long afternoon excursions and decedent coffees a nightmare! When sleep deprivation sets in, life in general becomes less rewarding for both parents and children.

In fact, research shows that children who don't get enough sleep can often present as overactive or hyper, impulsive, emotionally liable and moody. Their attention span and concentration is compromised, making it difficult for them to retain information and take in stimulus.

Children who are well rested present as happy, alert, interested and ready to soak up information. Additionally, as we sleep, growth hormones, growth factors and immune regulators work together to repair tissue, conserve energy and bolster our immune system. For a baby, sleep provides the developing brain with much more nerve stimulation than he or she would simply get from sensory stimulation.

After reviewing the research, it was an easy decision for me to get my child the optimal amount of sleep he required in order to function properly. And, without saying, the days of sleeping "on the fly" ended abruptly. Studies show that up to 30% of babies have sleep problems and that 75% of parents would like to change their babies' sleep habits.

5 Important Tips for Baby’s Sleep:

Choose an early bedtime. The best time to put your baby or toddler to bed is sometime between 6 and 8 o'clock in the evening. This ensures that your child will be able to get a solid 11-13 hours of sleep during the night. (And yes... that is how much sleep children should be getting every night up to age 10).

Put your child to sleep in the same place every night. Whether your child has a room of their own or shares a room with parents or siblings, it's important that you put your son or daughter to sleep in the same place every night (and for naps during the day as much as possible). Putting your child to bed in a familiar place lets them know they are safe and that they are in a place where sleep is expected of them.

Create a predictable bedtime routine. Consistency and predictability are really important to babies and toddlers. When they know what to expect at bedtime, it makes it much easier for them to make the transition from waking to sleeping.

Put your baby to bed awake. If you've been rocking, nursing or otherwise soothing your baby to sleep, this is going to seem like a tough one... but it's actually the most important step! It's only by letting your baby fall asleep WITHOUT your help at bedtime that he or she can learn the skills necessary to stay asleep through the night.

If your baby wakes during the night, wait a few minutes before intervening. Sometimes parents intervene too quickly, when in fact a baby may be fussing because they are simply learning how to go back to sleep on their own. They also may be fussing as they switch into different sleep stages. Wait and see. If the crying doesn't stop go in and offer reassurance.

If you are worried about your child's sleep, feel free to contact me. I offer individualized support as well as seminars on how to get your child sleeping through the night.

Sleep Peacefully,
Sukkie Sandhu, M.Ed, Licensed Sleep Sense Consultant
phone: 250.857.1408

Good Sleep Hygiene
by Beth Atkinson

Most of you may say, "I sleep pretty well," but the vast majority are having restless, sleepless nights. Chronic sleep disturbances will affect your physical and mental health over time. There are a myriad of reasons for sleep problems. To name just to name a few: stress, illness, medications, hormones and anxiety.

What classifies as good sleep?
It is definitely different for each person, but let's go with 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep. So, now half of you will say, well count me out because I toss and turn, I drink water in the night or go to the bathroom. Quiet interruptions in your sleep are not classified as giving you a bad night's sleep as long as you can get back to sleep fairly quickly.

Is there an easy solution to sleep issues?
First, talk to your doctor. A simple blood test could give you some answers. Anyone out there who has experienced sleep issues knows there is no cure-all. If there was, we would all be doing it. I recently had the pleasure of doing a case study for a patient who has sleep disturbances and we came up with some really good coping methods. Perhaps some of these will give you some insight.

Upon the start of the case study we devised several adaptations to her day (listed below) and I also did several relaxation massages with her over a number of weeks.

A Sample Sleep Schedule

We adjusted this schedule to accommodate the patient's lifestyle. For example, wake and wind-down times were adjusted by about a 30 minutes to an hour later, but the point was to stay in a routine so we could identify some possible triggers.

  • Active awake time is 7:00 am to 7:00 pm
    Wind-down time is 7:00 pm until 10:00 pm
    Sleep 10:00 pm thru until 7:00 am (wake 6:30-7:00 am)
  • Drink only one cup of coffee (or none) after 10:00 am.
  • Exercise at least 30 minutes per day and try to achieve a sweat. No strenuous exercise after 7:00 pm.
  • Don't engage in any stressful situations past 7:00 pm.
  • Take some time in the day breathing (10 minutes), each time trying to not control you thoughts.
  • Journal if you have a really busy mind, right before bed – think of this as a dumping off the stress into the journal and it's out of your head.
  • No TV or reading half an hour before bed, unless it is very relaxing reading that would put you to sleep.
  • Do not have big meals after 7:00 pm and no snacks 1 hour before bed.
  • Hydrate well during the day, but stop drinking fluids a couple hours before going to bed.
  • No napping in the day! Night time will come soon enough and you will make it through the day.
  • If you wake up and find after a few minutes you are struggling to get back to sleep, find a focal point like a candle and get out of bed and do some relaxation breathing and visualization. Don't lie in bed thinking, "argh! I wish I could sleep, etc." It is what it is and fighting it only makes it worse. Accept it and think positively or practice some basic meditation. Tomorrow will come and you probably will be tired, but at least you had a nice moment while you weren't sleeping instead of a cranky one.

After doing this for a while, the patient adapted some of these things into her life and I think is more aware of the triggers to a possible bad night's sleep. One thing that the patient found particularly important was to not nap during the day.

Writing down her daily activities was also important for this patient. Important questions that arose for her included: What time she ended up going to bed, or having a snack? What was her state of mind? What did she drink? How much time was spent at the computer?

She would relate this to the suggested schedule outlined above and then record her sleep habits at night. She noticed that keeping this diary helped her to recognize the effect her day had on her sleep that night. Consequently this helped her change some detrimental habits.

Sleep issues are usually chronic and therefore take time to correct. Keep trying and journal your results. When you look back at the results, I hope you will see a steady improvement. Finally, here are some points that I believe can contribute greatly to alleviating sleep problems:

Being Present & Mindfulness: Most of us function thinking about tomorrow. Try to take some time for yourself and register what is going on right now. It is amazing how little we know about this present moment.

Boundaries: Demands on us are high, but are we setting boundaries for ourselves? We complain about having too much to do but why do we? Who has said "yes" to these demands? Are they really so important that we need to lose sleep over them?

Multitasking: With the dawn of the cell phone and "apps" we are expected to be able to produce more results so much faster than before. We also make ourselves available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. So when do we stop accepting projects, surfing the web, Facebooking while making dinner, supporting a friend in need, and watching the Oscars, while thinking about getting a puppy all at the same time? That's a tough one and really up to you, but I will tell you something that we did and maybe you could try it too. My husband turns off his "Crackberry" at least twice a week in the evening. If anyone truly needs him, they can phone him. My daughters and I really appreciate it and have reconnected with him so much more then when he was texting someone while giving horsey rides!

Happy Slumbering!

Vitality Treatment Centre is a multi- disciplinary health treatment centre located near the Oak Bay Village of Victoria, BC, Canada.

Modalities We Offer
Massage Therapy
Manual Lymph Drainage
Cranio-Sacral Therapy
Trad'l Chinese Medicine
Myofascial Release
Hot Stones Therapy

Gift Certificates Available

Please feel free to contact us regarding this or any of our other therapies.
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