Friday, August 23, 2013

The importance of good uninterrupted sleep

This post is brought to you by Pampers.

Success! It's 8 PM and both boys are fast asleep.

It's been difficult lately getting them to bed at around this time. During the day, Vito and Iñigo mostly play on their own, or Vito with Vince, Iñigo with me. It's their age difference—Vito keeps himself busy with the iPad and his Legos while Iñigo has his Lego Duplo and various household objects that still fascinate him. But at night, when the lights are out and no toys are in sight, that's when they play together. Bedtime has become so fun that it's just crazy trying to get them to sleep!
During the day, Vito plays with his Legos while...
... Iñigo is fascinated with everyday objects.

Anyway, today at the pediatrician's clinic, Dr. Cricket Chen told us that the boys' height has hit a plateau. It should be steadily rising. So while our boys get comments frequently from other parents about their height ("They're tall for their age!"), their pedia said we can't rest on our laurels. The kids need to grow consistently so she advised more meat in their diet for protein and more sleep. "They should be asleep by 8 P.M. because that's when the growth hormone is released," Dr. Cricket said. So we're so relieved and happy that both boys are now sleeping soundly even before 8 P.M. chimed.

To add to this, my new site partner, Pampers, sent me materials emphasizing the importance of uninterrupted sleep. I read this:
"Sleep is vital for babies as it helps them make sense of all their new experiences and enables full physical and cognitive development. Processes occurring during sleep help to stimulate the development of the nervous system.  
Dr. Luci Wiggs, an infant sleep expert at Oxford Brookes University in the UK, commented, 'Sleep is vital for the healthy cognitive, behavioural and physical development of your baby. External influences such as hunger, discomfort, noise and other disturbances can all affect a baby’s sleep and bring them into a heightened state arousal (disrupted sleep) even if they don’t fully wake up.'"
In the same Pampers info sheet, Mother and Child Nurses Association of the Philippines President Alicia Estiller says, “Sleep deprivation is associated with stunted growth, weight problems, low attention span, delayed learning and behavioural problems.” I did some research on what lack of a good night's rest or what interrupted sleep can do to growing little bodies. I was quite alarmed to confirm what Ms. Estiller said. According to Baby Center, these can be the results:

  • slowed or stunted growth
  • the strength of heart, lungs and immunity can be compromised
  • hormones that regulate hunger are affected causing a child to overeat or to prefer high-calorie food. This can lead to insulin resistance.
  • motor skills, concentration are affected
  • behavioral problems 

I will confess that Vince and I were feeling blue after we left the clinic today. We want our boys to be tall and strong and smart and happy. By allowing them to enjoy bedtime too much, we may actually be harming their growth and development!

Here are our steps to ensure the boys will sleep early and sleep throughout the night:

1. No stimulating activity before and during bedtime. That includes TV, iPad, tickle time, running around the house, toys, and eating ice cream and chocolates!

2. No naps after 4 P.M. so that they'll feel sleepy by the time bedtime rolls along. This is a problem with Vito actually. He likes to nap at around 3, wakes up at 5 then can't get sleepy till past 9!

3. Feed them a good dinner (sometimes they don't want to eat real food or a good amount because they're too happy or distracted or sleepy) so that they won't be woken up by hunger or thirst. Iñigo still wakes up to breastfeed. Sigh!
A relaxing bath and a bedtime story should do it!
4. Create a bedtime ritual to signal their bodies to sleep. The kids' bath time is usually before dinner but I've been thinking of moving it to after dinner since Iñigo gets all smeared up with food. Sayang lang yung ligo. Maybe the warm bath also makes them too sleepy to eat dinner. So the plan now is an early dinner (6:30 P.M.), brush teeth and bath time at 7, read a book by 7:30 and sleep by 8.

5. Use a good diaper like Pampers Comfort so that their sleep won't be disturbed by wetness. We actually do use Pampers diapers! I learned that a team of "dryness experts" at the Pampers Schwalbach Technical Centre in Germany formulated the unique 4-layers + gel technology of the diaper so that it doesn't just absorb wetness quickly, it also locks it away from baby’s skin. So the wee-wee is in contact with baby’s skin for a shorter time and it doesn't bother baby again. I won't have to check if the kids are wet because I'm sure they're dry and comfy.

Do you have other suggestions on how we can get the kids to bed early and keep them asleep till morning? We're really upset about the boys' growth news!

To learn more about Pampers and sleep, visit their website or like their Facebook page.

5 comments:

  1. Hi Frances! Thank you for sharing this article. These are just some of the reasons why Halo advocates for safe and healthy sleep. I hope this article on Mom center can give you more tips on how to get your boys to sleep. :)

    http://momcenter.com.ph/toddler/how-can-i-get-my-toddler-to-sleep

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  2. Getting my Bea to sleep on time is getting harder and harder as she grows older. And it follows that waking her up in the morning for school is becoming more and more of a challenge (torture) for both of us. hehe.. thanks for the tips!

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  3. Thank you for sharing this information.

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  4. Hi Frances thanks for this useful information. My boy is already 9 yrs old and it is a struggle to really make him take a nap or sleep early. I think that was really a challenging age for Moms.

    BTW I had been a constant lurker of your blog but it is my first time to leave my mark here....

    God Bless and keep on inspiring others thru this blog.

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  5. Ms. Frances, we have the same dilemma. i was also told by our pedia 2 months ago that my daughter is not that tall but she said that it might be genetic. (hehe, i am bit petite, 5 feet exactly)..we were advised to give vitamins at night, as you've said, to aid growth hormones at night. although she's the same height and sometimes taller compared to toddlers her age (she's 16 month old), but i don't know. i never worried that much about this height thing.

    my daughter went through a stage of NOT eating any meat but she is slowly getting over it. i just offer her meat in her plate and if she eats it, then good. i just make bawi in her next meal.

    our routine is eat early (around 6PM), then take a bath by 7PM so that we have time for downtime like read books or sing lullabies. sometimes it also helps if we dim the room while singing lullabies :) and we also make sure that she plays outside (which will make her run and be active physically) in the afternoon to exhaust her. hehehe.

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This is all pretty new to me so please feel free to share your mommy wisdom!