I recently finished a really interesting book by ‘sleep coach’, Nick Littlehales.
Nick has worked with everyone from Cristiano Ronaldo to the GB cycling team to help them reach optimal performance through sleeping better.
It is a great read for anyone who wants to work out how to get a good nights’ sleep…how many of you parents have just clicked straight through to Amazon!
Back with us? Good.
So, the whole basis of the book is the fact we sleep in 90 minute cycles where we enter different stages of sleep. If we wake up inside a cycle we will get that ‘groggy’ feeling and if we wake up between cycles we should feel more refreshed.
Nick also talks about the fact you don’t need a really expensive mattress and how 30 minute naps through the day can also be great (if only!) to help us get the amount of rest we need.
Perhaps most interesting was the fact that we don’t necessarily have to sleep for long periods every night. He advises to pass through several 90 minute cycles but, let’s face it, life sometimes gets in the way in some way, shape or form.
Reassuringly, Nick says that as long as we stick to the 90 minute cycles, and wake up between them, we have a better chance of being more alert through the day. The idea is that we must try to at least get a good few cycles of sleep a majority of the week but that a couple of nights where we sleep less than we’d like doesn’t mean the next day is a struggle.
It got us thinking about the benefits this could have on children and how some sleeping routines may actually hamper their chances of being more alert for school, sport etc.
We hear from parents that sometimes they need to pretty much drag their child out of bed on a morning yet on other days they are absolutely fine. This might have something to do with the fact they are waking up inside or between cycles.
Nick advocates sticking to a routine but says we should count back in 90 minute slots from the time we want to wake up i.e. if you want your child to wake up at 7am the best times to fall asleep would be 7pm, 8:30pm, 10pm or 11:30pm.
The earlier the better but if, say, you have a family evening out and miss bedtime, it could actually be better to keep your child awake until they reach one of the above times.
Following the books instructions, if you get home at 9:15pm it would be better to let your children fall asleep at 10pm rather than rush them straight to bed.
If your child struggles to get out of bed on a morning check the hours and maybe give the strategy a try.