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Episode Info: The Case:  Jake is 3 and suddenly, he can’t sleep through the night. He doesn’t want to be in his room alone and seems scared. Mom and Dad don’t want him co-sleeping but they’re exhausted from the sleep deprivation caused by getting up multiple times a night to put him back to bed. They tried leaving his door open, keeping a light on, essential oils, and even supplementing his diet with calcium, magnesium and GABA. They knew they couldn’t go on like this, and they had to get to the bottom of this new sleep-resistance. Many parents encounter sleep pattern changes with their babies and toddlers. In some cases, it can be attributed to changes to the environment or the schedule. In other cases, the cause is unknown and the solution may not seem obvious, especially if both parents are becoming increasingly sleep deprived as they deal with their wide-awake child.    The Investigation This health mystery was personal. I mean that literally. Jake, the suddenly sleep-resistant child is mine. Those bone-tired parents, that was my husband and I.  Our son had been a good sleeper but as he started to outgrow his crib, something happened. He became frightened easily, refused to go to sleep unless one of us was in the room, and then he’d wake up a few hours later and we’d have to go through the whole routine again.  The lack of sleep was making him unhappy and it was starting to affect our health. And, we started to give in to his demands. It meant we got more sleep, but I knew we were on a slippery slope.  I reached out to Kimberly Walker, a sleep consultant to help us get to the root of Jake’s sleep pattern issue. She’s the founder of Parenting Unlimited, is a licensed social worker and has 17 years of experience helping parents as a pediatric sleep consultant.    Sleep Regression When babies or kids go from sleeping through the night to struggling with sleep, it’s often called sleep regression. Kimberly says that many parents want to believe that it’s a phase; something that kids will fix on their own. However, if it’s been going on for 2 weeks or more, then Kimbely says, the child is forming a new habit and the problem won’t be solved without interaction. Plus, if it’s causing sleep disruptions for the whole family, then it’s something that parents need to take action for the health of everyone who is impacted.  A lot of parents wonder ‘What happened? Why isn’t my child sleeping through the night anymore?’ There are many things that can trigger a sleep regression but Kimberly says trying to figure out ‘why’ is pointless. You don’t need to know what caused the sleep regression in order to fix it.    Sleep Training vs. Sleep Teaching There are two common phrases used for helping children learn how to fall asleep (and fall back asleep) on their own. However, Kimberly says there is essentially no difference between ‘sleep training’ and ‘sleep teaching’; they both teach children the skill of putting th...
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