How Much Sleep Does My 2 Week Old Baby Need Sleep Issues for Visual-Spatial Kids

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Sleep Issues for Visual-Spatial Kids

When I was pregnant with our first child, someone gave me a card that I have never forgotten. It said, “Having a baby is nature’s way of telling you that you’ve been sleeping too much!” There have been many nights since then when I longed for an evening of children getting ready for bed without incident, dozing off in peace, sleeping blissfully through the night uninterrupted, and waking up – as a family – thoroughly rested and rested. ready for the day. From studying the characteristics of visual-spatial learners, those who think in pictures rather than words, I wondered if sleep problems were more common in these children than in their auditory-sequential counterparts. Do your visual-spatial children have trouble falling asleep at night? Are they too “over-wired” for bedtime? Perhaps now that the left hemisphere of their brains can rest from the school day, the right hemisphere is wide awake and ready to create inventions or go on imaginative adventures.

If your children have trouble falling asleep at night, I have some tips that might help. First, your children need to understand how important sleep is to their bodies and brains. They may think they are fine without getting much sleep at night. But if they were actually getting the amount of sleep their bodies needed every night, they would do better in school, sports, music—even their relationships with friends and family would improve. Everyone’s sleep needs are different, so there really aren’t any guidelines for how much sleep a person needs after childhood. However, if your children find themselves dozing off in class or unable to focus clearly, they should start an earlier bedtime.

Sleep researchers believe that sleep, especially deep sleep,

…allows the brain to review and consolidate all the streams of information it has gathered while awake. Another (study) suggests that we sleep to allow the brain to refuel and flush out waste. A third, which is gaining ground, is that sleep works in some mysterious way to help you master various skills, such as how to play the piano and ride a bicycle. (Time, Dec. 20, 2004, Why We Sleep by Christine Gorman, pp. 48-49)

Scientists have found that most mammals, including humans, transition between two different stages of sleep: REM (rapid eye movement) and non-REM. It is during REM sleep that people experience increased brain activity and vivid dreams. REM sleep is critical for humans, but you have to go through the stages of non-REM sleep to get there. In fact, “your ability to recognize certain patterns on a computer screen is directly tied to the amount of REM sleep you have.” (Time, December 20, 2004, Why We Sleep by Christine Gorman, pp. 48-49) Also, teaching children something new right before they go to sleep helps them remember the information better. So any significant studying for an exam should probably be done right before they go to bed.

Have you ever gone to bed with a problem in your head only to wake up in the morning with the answer? This is because your brain is still working and checking the events of the day even when you are no longer conscious. You can encourage your children to “sleep on” matters before making important decisions. They may be surprised to discover the solution overnight!

Once your kids understand the importance of sleep, how do you even get them to sleep, right? Here are some tips to help your children relax and rest enough to sleep well:

1. Set their body clocks by following the same sleep schedule, seven days a week. Don’t let them try to catch up by staying up late on the weekends.

2. Create an environment that helps your children sleep, not one that keeps them awake. A cool, dark and clear room should help. Shades or earplugs can also help.

3. No caffeine in the afternoon or evening. That means no soda or chocolate. They should avoid spicy foods and finish eating at least three hours before bedtime.

4. No computers, television or arguments half an hour before bed. Research suggests that the production of melatonin (which helps a person sleep) is reduced by playing computer games or watching TV.

5. Offer a bedtime snack. Certain foods naturally trigger the release of serotonin, which helps induce sleep: a glass of milk, a piece of whole-wheat toast with a slice of cheese, half a peanut butter sandwich, or oatmeal with bananas can do the trick.

6. Soothing music often helps, as do warm baths.

So let’s say you finally put the kids to sleep. How are you going to help them sleep now? Snoring is not a problem that only affects adults. Up to 12% of all children suffer from snoring problems, which can have a dramatic impact on their ability to sleep well. And when a child snores, new studies suggest, they’re more likely to do worse in school than a child who doesn’t snore. “Research now shows that snoring can cause behavioral problems, attention problems and concentration problems,” says Dr. Norman Friedman, a sleep disorder expert at Children’s Hospital in Denver.

Both my children were prone to nightmares. Do your visuospatial children suffer from nightmares that seem so real that they have trouble shaking them from their memory when they wake up? Such nightmares usually occur during the deepest part of sleep, REM sleep, the type of sleep your child needs most. You can try using a dream catcher and hang it above their bed. Dream catchers have been used for generations. Native American legend says that dream catchers sift through the dreams of a sleeping person, capturing the good dreams and sending the bad dreams through a hole in the middle. If it helps your kids fall into a deep enough sleep so that they don’t have nightmares, do it!

Of course, there are other sleep problems including sleepwalking, sleep talking, bedwetting and night terrors to name a few. According to the Children’s Sleep Information for Parents and Teachers website (www.sleepforkids.org), you should consult your child’s doctor if you experience any of the following conditions:

· A newborn or infant who is extremely and consistently fussy

· A child who has difficulty breathing or whose breathing is noisy

· A child who snores, especially if their snoring is loud

· Unusual night awakenings

Difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep, especially if you experience daytime sleepiness and/or behavior problems

Please visit the National Sleep Foundation for more information about your child’s sleep patterns. And there are many restful nights ahead!

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