Baby Sleep Day means parents needn’t stay in the dark about sleep
Written byOliver Fry
On Baby Sleep Day, 1st March, leading sleep experts from Australia, Europe, the US, Canada and Brazil will answer sleep questions from families around the globe and present the latest research and tips on sleep on Facebook (see www.facebook.com/pedsleep and www.babysleep.com/babysleepday).
Professor Alice Gregory, who specialises in the development of sleep problems at Goldsmiths, University of London and is a Sleep Expert in the Paediatric Sleep Council said:
“As a sleep expert and a mother, I know how useful it will be for parents to have clear advice based on the very best research to date.
“Despite the fact that new-born babies can happily sleep for up to 17 hours a day, they start by showing no respect for day and night. As a new parent, my own sleep was therefore disrupted multiple times during the night by a baby who was hungry, had a full nappy or was crying for an inexplicable reason.
“When it comes to managing their own and their children’s sleep, many parents are left confused. Just go into a bookshop or Google it and you’ll be unsure as to when, if, and how you should start with sleep training. And what about personal choice? Parents want good advice, but they also want to know when they can safely ignore it.
“That is why the Pediatric Sleep Council has come together to help parents deal with their children’s sleep during these early years.”
Despite the exhaustion so often associated with having a new born baby, those newborns need to wake during the night to feed. But as babies grow older, most parents wish they would start sleeping through the night.
Functions of sleep include restoring the body, clearing toxins from the brain and helping us remember and process information. We are also better able to cope with the emotional challenges of the day after a good night’s sleep, which is essential for children who are developing social skills and establishing friendships.
Insufficient sleep was recently estimated to cost the U.K economy £40 billion a year.
Short and disturbed sleep early in life has also been associated with a plethora of later problems including difficulties with mental health, weight and neuropsychological functioning.
Celebrities including Arianna Huffington and Gwyneth Paltrow are also on a mission to spread the word that sleep matters, with the latter even hailing sleeping well as the biggest health trend of 2017.
Professor Alice Gregory specialises in the development and co-occurrence of sleep problems, and other difficulties such as anxiety and depression throughout life.