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!


Find Me Here!

Tag cloud
10 month old sleep 11 month old 2 year old can't fall asleep 2 year old nap 3 year old stops napping 4 month old 45 minute naps 8 month old adults adults sleep alarm clock babies baby baby bedtime baby doesn't nap baby fall back baby nursing to sleep baby rolling at night baby short naps baby sleep baby sleep positioners baby sleep routine bad bedtimes bedroom too loud bedsharing bedtime bedtime baby bedtime books bedtime child bedtime for teens bedtime problem bedtime routine bedtime snacks bedtimes bedwetting best bedtime stories for kids big boy bed blackout curtains boost breastfed baby sleep through the night bsby cosleeping bumpers caffeine child child bedtime child can't sleep child sleeping in a tent childcare childhood fears and sleep children cosleeping cover story creativity crib cry it out cultural intelligence daycare daylight savings time Daylight Savings Time kid bedtime daylight savings time sleep DHA does exercise help kids sleep dropping a nap DST early waker early waking ebook education energy equality equally shared parenting exercise and kids exercise and sleep fall back falling back families family five month old naps five month old short naps five month old sleep five year old bedtime food getting baby to bed getting dad to help with bedtime Getting kids to bed getting kids to bed during the summer getting kids to bed when it's light out getting rid of the pacifier giveaway green Harvey Karp Hawaii health heart health tips help helping kids adjust to daylight savings time helping kids get to sleep after vacation Helping kids sleep in the summer helping kids sleep through the night helping twins sleep holiday how long should babies nap how long should bedtime take how much sleep do adults need how to get rid of nightmares how to help a preschooler nap how to stop nightmares humor immune system infant sleep insomnia kids kids always get sick kids and daylight savings time kids sharing bedrooms kids sleep questions Kindle king 5 large family late bedtime learning leg cramps light math Moms moving child to his own bedroom nap nap routine napping in arms naps new sibling newborn news night terror night waking nightlights nightmare nightmares nighttime dryness nurse to sleep association nutrition one year old overtied kids overtired overtired child overtiredness pacifier pajamas nightmares parenting parentmap pediatric restless legs syndrome potty training pregnancy and newborn preschool Preschooler problem problem solving product productivity pull ups putting kids to bed questions raising a boy robotic safety safey separation anxiety setting a bedtime for kids shared bedroom shared bedrooms Shopping short naps short sleeper six month old sleep skipped naps sleep sleep and learning sleep coach sleep coaching sleep consulting sleep expert sleep for moms sleep gadgets sleep help sleep hygiene sleep pregnancy sleep questions sleep regression sleep through the night sleeping during the summer sleeping well during pregnancy sleeping while camping soundproof spring forward standing and screaming in crib stress sugar summer summer bedtime swaddle teen teen bedtime Teenage brains television time change time zone adjustment toddler toddler 4 am toddler bed toddler leg cramps toddler naps toddler sleep toddlers toilet transition transition to one nap travel with kids tryptophan twins undertired up all night violence and kids violent video games and children waking warm bedroom hurts sleep weaning the swaddle winter women heart health won't fall asleep work worries

Entries in nutrition (2)


Sugar Shakeup: Should Sugar Be A Controlled Substance?

Because this is a blog about family health, occasionally I’ll post about topics besides sleep. As a journalist I’ve written about family nutrition for a number of publications, and I’m always searching for ways to keep my brood well-fed and healthy. With a cookie-loving toddler and a highly picky 5-year-old, that can be quite a challenge.

When my first daughter started eating solid food, it seemed like we entered the world of sugar. And I got a new role: Chief of the Sugar Police. Cookies at the grocery store, lollipops at the dry cleaners, candy machines lining the entrances of every store and restaurant—it seemed like sugar was constantly on offer, and believe me, she noticed. Every day, I’d keep a mental tally of the healthy foods she’d eaten to determine whether she could have the treat she wanted. I said no more than I said yes. But I still said yes more than I wanted.

So I was interested to see the recent news that scientists are recommending societal control of sugar. Researchers would like to see sugar regulated like tobacco and alcohol, to raise public awareness of the risks of over-consumption, and to ease the public burden of obesity and chronic illness.

I’m not sure how I feel. On one hand, I believe that sugar is addictive and that our kids eat far too much of it. Tighter regulations on sugar might make people think twice about soda, candy, and other empty calories that contribute to the exploding diabetes epidemic. Here are some scary stats: According to 2011 US government reports, 35 percent of adults 20 and older and half of adults 65 and over have prediabetes.

On the other hand, I think the burden to make healthy, informed choices rests with the consumer, not with the government. More education, less access to sugary foods in school lunches and vending machines, and a greater emphasis on low-sugar snack choices for kids would be good first steps.

For more information on breaking your family’s sugar habit, see my article Beat the Sweets in Carolina Parent magazine. It features some tips from TODAY show nutritionist Joy Bauer and other experts on slowing shutting off the sugar tap in your home.

What do you think? Should sugar become a controlled substance?


Kids, Caffeine, and Sleep

Bad news for parents: kids who sip caffeine sleep less According to the National Sleep Foundation, 65 percent of women rely on caffeine to make it through the day. I plead guilty to daily coffee consumption—after all, I live in Washington, where espresso shops seem to outnumber people—but I’m as strict and strict can be when it comes to caffeine and my kids. These days, many kids are drinking energy drinks when they’re barely old enough to read the can: another recent study found that 75 percent of kids 5-12 drink caffeine daily.

This study, published in The Journal of Pediatrics, reported that the more caffeine kids consume, the less they sleep. That’s bad news, because sleep troubles in children are linked to everything from insulin resistance to irritability to impaired school performance.

Caffeine is tricky to track, because it’s not listed on nutrition labels.  So kids who drink coffee, soda, and energy drinks can exceed safe caffeine limits quickly, easily, and legally.

In their October 2011 article on caffeine, Consumer Reports recommends that children shouldn’t drink more than 45-85 milligrams per day. Many sleep doctors, however, will tell parents to aim for an even lower caffeine intake: zero. Kids shouldn’t drink caffeine, period. Especially if they’re experiencing any type of sleep problem.

Here are some quick caffeine facts:

  • Did you know Barq’s Root Beer contains caffeine, and A&W Root Beer doesn’t?
  • Did you know Diet Coke has more caffeine than Diet Pepsi?
  • Did you know that Starbucks drip coffee has more caffeine than Dunkin’ Donuts?

For more information, including hard-to-find information on the amount of caffeine in popular foods and drinks, check out the CR article. And join me in my fervent hope that caffeine will be listed on nutrition labels soon. It wouldn’t solve the caffeine-and-kids problem, but it would be a start.