I’m a nationally published sleep expert, journalist, and the mom of three young kids. I’ve been helping tired families sleep since 2007 (more about me here). Subscribe to The Well Rested Family for fresh news and tips on keeping your bunch happy and healthy. Thanks for stopping by!

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Monday
Oct272014

Night terror myths and facts

It's Halloween—what better time to talk about terrible things that crop up in the dead of night? In the spirit of All Hallow’s Eve, I’d love to shed some light on the murky world of night terrors.

Nightmares and night terrors are often confused by parents, and they are indeed confusing. Both happen in the middle of the night, and both can be upsetting and disruptive to sleep. When your child starts screaming in the wee hours, when you’re groggy and your thinking is fuzzy, it can difficult to know exactly what to do.

Though night terrors and nightmares seem similar, they have some distinctively different characteristics than can help you figure out which your child is experiencing.

Myth: A night terror is just an intensely upsetting nightmare.

Fact: Night terrors differ substantially from nightmares. First, a nightmare will often cause a child to wake up in the middle of the night. During a night terror, the child is not awake. Though she may get up and sleepwalk, she won’t come and find you. And in the morning, she won’t remember a thing (because she was never awake).

Myth: A night terror is a horrible experience for a child.

Fact: While a child may have some upsetting memory of nightmare, they won’t remember a night terror. The experience is probably more upsetting for the parent who is trying to comfort their screaming child, than it is for the child.

Myth: It’s best to wake a child who is having a night terror.

Fact: “Don’t try and wake them up,” says Matt Woolley, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist who often works with children experiencing nightmares and night terrors. “Be calm and comforting, offer a gentle back rubbing. Once the child calms down, you can redirect him or her back to bed and maybe offer a glass of water. But do not force a drink of water, try to make them speak to you, or make them go to the bathroom.” Remember, the child is not awake.

Myth: All children experience night terrors at some point.

Fact: While nightmares are a near-universal childhood experience, true night terrors are much less common, affecting only about a quarter of children. That’s good news, because most children won’t ever have one.

Myth: Children with night terrors have psychological problems.

Fact: Though night terrors can be intense and upsetting, they don’t indicate underlying problems. “A child can be very happy and well-adjusted and still have a night terror,” notes Woolley.

Night terrors are no fun, and I hope they don't come knocking at your place this Halloween. Here's to a Halloween followed by sweet dreams!

I’m an award-winning parenting and health journalist, sleep coach, and mom of three. My articles about sleep, health, and parenting appear regularly in over 90 national and regional magazines and on television, and I've been featured by YAHOO Shine, MSN Health, the TODAY Show, and TODAY Moms. Can I help you? Subscribe to The Well Rested Family to have sleep news, tips, and tactics delivered to your inbox or feed reader by clicking here.

I offer sleep coaching on call for tired parents ready to make a change. Take the first step by booking your session here.

Need more sleep? My e-book Ready, Set, Sleep: 50 Ways to Help Your Child Sleep So You Can Sleep Too is chock-full of mom-tested solutions to help babies and toddlers start sleeping well, tonight!

My newest e-book Sleep Tight, Every Night: Helping Toddlers & Preschoolers Sleep Well Without Tears, Tricks, or Tirades is available now!

 

Wednesday
May212014

May updates

Happy May days, people! I've been keeping busy, and not just because I have an into-everything new walker on my hands these days (Mr. C turned one May 9!)

Very exciting stuff: my article on whether multivitamins really matter is a cover story in the June issue of Women's Health magazine, on newsstands now. (Page 78 in the print edition, online next month.)

This month's Counting Sheep, my monthly column in metroparent magazine, deals with difficult toddler bedtimes and how to tell if your child is getting enough sleep.

My article "Lost and Found" in this month's ParentMap magazine covers a difficult topic: how to cope with the death of a child. The famlies I interviewed were inspirational, and I hope I did their brave stories justice.

As always, you can also find me in Carolina Parent magazine in my "Growing Up" column. This month, I talk about safe, happy airplane travel with kids (yes, it's possible!). I'm also in Mobile Bay Parents, Portland Family, and others. And, of course, on Facebook, where you'll probably be subjected to lots of photos of my little brood (fair warning).

If you're having sleep troubles and need help, let's talk. Check out my sleep coaching page or contact me about booking a coaching session. It's a quick, simple way to get back on track.

I’m an award-winning parenting and health journalist, sleep coach, and mom of three. My articles about sleep, health, and parenting appear regularly in over 90 national and regional magazines and on television, and I've been featured by YAHOO Shine, MSN Health, the TODAY Show, and TODAY Moms. Can I help you? Subscribe to The Well Rested Family to have sleep news, tips, and tactics delivered to your inbox or feed reader by clicking here.

I offer sleep coaching on call for tired parents ready to make a change. Take the first step by booking your session here.

Need more sleep? My e-book Ready, Set, Sleep: 50 Ways to Help Your Child Sleep So You Can Sleep Too is chock-full of mom-tested solutions to help babies and toddlers start sleeping well, tonight!

My newest e-book Sleep Tight, Every Night: Helping Toddlers & Preschoolers Sleep Well Without Tears, Tricks, or Tirades is available now!

 

Friday
Mar072014

Why "Sping Forward" hurts sleep, and how to help

This year, the clock jumps forward on Sunday, March 9. Ironically, “spring forward” can actually set you back, at least when it comes to your child’s bedtime.    

When the clock moves forward in the spring, the most common complaint from parents is that kids won’t go to bed “on time.” It’s not hard to understand why: When the clock reads 8 pm, your child’s body thinks that it’s 7. When 9 or 10 p.m. rolls around and kids still aren’t tired, parents get understandably grumpy.

Here's where the trouble starts: if a child sleeps until his body's regular wake-up time (say, 7 a.m.) on clock-change day, the clock will read 8. If you try to put him to bed that night at 7 p.m., his regular bedtime, only 11 hours have elapsed since he woke up, and he’s not likely to be tired enough to go to sleep. This is especially true if he slept a bit later than normal that morning. DST occurs on a weekend, so that’s not uncommon for parents to let their kids sleep later than normal. Sleeping in on weekends isn’t a big deal, but when you add the time change, things can quickly go awry.

Ready to change this yearly pattern? Here’s how.

(For this example, I use a boy with a 7 p.m. bedtime. Kids' bedtimes vary, so adjust as needed for your family's situation.)

The key to preserving your child's regular bedtime after DST is waking him up earlier in the morning. Beginning a couple of days before the change, start waking your child 30 minutes earlier in the morning, and putting him to bed 30 minutes earlier at night. Make corresponding adjustments to nap(s) by moving them 30 minutes earlier as well. In this example, that would mean waking your child at 6:30 a.m. and putting him to bed at 6:30 p.m. It may sound extreme, but remember, it’s only for a couple of days.

On the morning of DST, wake your child at his normal wakeup time. If he normally wakes at 7 a.m. Standard time, wake him at 7 Daylight time. (This will actually be 6 a.m., according to his body clock, but you’ve prepped him for this change already with a couple days of early wake-ups.)

Offer nap(s) at the normal times. No need to make adjustments here.

After waking at 7 a.m., he’ll be ready for sleep at his normal bedtime. No DST adjustment required.

If you’re starting last-minute and you don’t have time to prep your child a couple of days before the time change, no problem. Just remember to wake your child at his normal wake-up time on clock-change day. He will be tired, because he “lost” an hour of sleep. But he’ll be ready to snooze at his regular bedtime and the whole family can greet “spring” with a smile.

I’m an award-winning parenting and health journalist, sleep coach, and mom of three. My articles about sleep, health, and parenting appear regularly in over 90 national and regional magazines and on television, and I've been featured by YAHOO Shine, MSN Health, the TODAY Show, and TODAY Moms. Can I help you? Subscribe to The Well Rested Family to have sleep news, tips, and tactics delivered to your inbox or feed reader by clicking here.

I offer sleep coaching on call for tired parents ready to make a change. Take the first step by booking your session here.

Need more sleep? My e-book Ready, Set, Sleep: 50 Ways to Help Your Child Sleep So You Can Sleep Too is chock-full of mom-tested solutions to help babies and toddlers start sleeping well, tonight!

My newest e-book Sleep Tight, Every Night: Helping Toddlers & Preschoolers Sleep Well Without Tears, Tricks, or Tirades is available now!

Monday
Feb032014

Announcing Sleep Coaching On Call!

After years of requests for sleep coaching services, I'm thrilled to roll out my new Sleep Coaching On Call service. I look forward to helping more readers find healthy sleep in 2014.

Sleep Coaching On Call!

Phone coaching designed for your busy life.

Ready to move beyond exhaustion toward a harmonious, thriving, rested family? Ready to give your child the gift of healthy sleep? Ready to view your child's sleep in an entirely new way?

Since 2007, I have helped thousands of families achieve healthier sleep. I'm an award-winning parenting and health writer and coach who contributes regularly to over 90 national and regional parenting magazines. My advice is frequently featured on television and in publications and news outlets including Women's Health magazine, Pregnancy & Newborn, YAHOO Shine, MSN Health, the TODAY Show, and TODAY Moms.

I'm available on a limited basis for personalized sleep coaching sessions designed around you and your child. My coaching embodies my philosophy of Compassionate Sleep Supportto enable parents to resolve sleep problems quickly and gently, gain new insight into their child's needs and temperament, and support healthy sleep long-term. 

My advice has been featured by:

I offer two options for coaching:

30-minute Mini Coaching Session

Personalized phone coaching designed to get your child's sleep on track. To book a session, please use the button below and follow the instructions in your confirmation email to schedule your session. Sessions are generally scheduled within three days.

$45

 Buy Now

 

For immediate help within 24 hours:

SOS (Save Our Sleep!) Emergency Coaching Session

Need help now? Personalized 30-minute phone consultations on call, for situations requiting swift coaching support. To book a session, please use the button below and follow the instructions in your confirmation email. I will contact you the same day to schedule, and your session will take place within 24 hours.

$75

Buy Now

 

What you'll get: During our session, I'll put my vast sleep knowledge to work for you. We'll tackle problem areas and come up with a workable plan that fits your family's needs, goals, and parenting style. You'll come away with the confidence to make positive changes, starting now.

 

Please note: I recommend that clients review at least one of my books before working with me, to make our session more productive. For babies and children ages 0-3, I recommend Ready, Set, Sleep: 50 Ways to Help Your Child Sleep, So You Can Sleep Too. For toddlers and older children, I recommend Sleep Tight, Every Night: Helping Toddlers and Preschoolers Sleep Well Without Tears, Tricks or Tirades.

 

What real parents say:

I wanted to thank you for all of your help. You've given me a priceless gift of knowledge that has changed the way I look at my boys' sleep patterns. I have learned to identify when my boys are actually tired and make the shifts needed to have the day flow more smoothly. I've noticed a difference in their moods. Life is different now! Thank you.

Kristine S., mom of two

Following your advice gave us progress and hope. Suddenly I could hear my intuition again! I'm back in tune with my daughter, picking up on her needs and gently encouraging her. It was so important to me that her transition from co-sleeping to crib sleeping be gentle, and you helped us find the individual solution we needed!

Kira M., mom of one

Malia’s sleep support was a great common-sense approach that didn’t overwhelm an already overwhelmed new and worried mom. She helped me make sense of all of the confusion and helped me get my little sleepless boy back on track.

Colleen Y., mom of one

I’m an award-winning parenting and health journalist, sleep coach, and mom to three wonderful children. My articles about sleep, health, and parenting appear regularly in over 90 national and regional magazines and on television, and I've been featured by YAHOO Shine, MSN Health, the TODAY Show, and TODAY Moms. Can I help you? Subscribe to The Well Rested Family to have sleep news, tips, and tactics delivered to your inbox or feed reader by clicking here.

Need more sleep? My e-book Ready, Set, Sleep: 50 Ways to Help Your Child Sleep So You Can Sleep Too is chock-full of mom-tested solutions to help babies and toddlers start sleeping well, tonight!

My newest e-book Sleep Tight, Every Night: Helping Toddlers & Preschoolers Sleep Well Without Tears, Tricks, or Tirades is available now!

Monday
Jan062014

Pump Up Your Power Center, Women's Health Jan Feb 2014

Happy New Year! If you’re like me, you begin each January with a few healthy-living pledges. This year, I’m prioritizing heart health for my entire family. My article “Pump Up Your Power Center,” on page 64 of the January February 2014 issue of Women’s Health Magazine, details why women need to start paying attention to this overlooked, overworked organ, and the latest science-backed exercise and nutrition tips to help keep your ticker in tip-top shape. The layout, with sleek glass art depicting the heart and arteries, is absolutely stunning, too.

I have a few more exciting things in the works for January. Readers have been asking for more personalized sleep coaching, and I’ve been listening. To help you keep your family sleeping well, I’m opening up new, personalized sleep coaching slots, very soon. Stay tuned.

Here’s to a happy, healthy 2014.

I’m an award-winning parenting and health journalist, sleep coach, and mom to three wonderful children. My articles about sleep, health, and parenting appear regularly in over 90 national and regional magazines and on television, and my advice has been featured by YAHOO Shine, MSN Health, and TODAY Moms. Can I help you? Subscribe to The Well Rested Family to have sleep news, tips, and tactics delivered to your inbox or feed reader by clicking here.

Need more sleep? My e-book Ready, Set, Sleep: 50 Ways to Help Your Child Sleep So You Can Sleep Too is chock-full of mom-tested solutions to help babies and toddlers start sleeping well, tonight!

My newest e-book Sleep Tight, Every Night: Helping Toddlers & Preschoolers Sleep Well Without Tears, Tricks, or Tirades is available now!