The Good Stuff

Last week I picked up few magazines for the drive to Plano. I normally go for the trashy, US Weekly stuff, but this time I picked up a magazine called Brain World mostly because it had the words “Neuroplasticity” on it in bold letters. Yes, I think that I am officially a dork now (pretty sure I’ve been there for a while).

Anyway, the magazine is great and full of really interesting brain info. I wrote down like five different topics I’d love to share with you guys.
The thing that stuck out most in my mind was an interview with a guy named John Medina who is a brain expert (there’s a very specific description on his web site if you’d like to read it, but it was full of really long words and me and scientific terminology? it’s a rocky relationship).

There was one thing that I very distinctly remember and understood and it was this: sleep is critical to learning. Critical.
Basically, when we sleep, our brains review things that we’ve learned over and over again. Disrupt sleep, and you disrupt learning.
Some kids have trouble sleeping. Charlie is just now getting through a period of insomnia brought on by switching his seizure medications. Hubby and I have spent the last three months tweaking things so that everybody in our house is getting a decent amount of sleep. I know Ellen was doing the same thing at her house recently. Turns out that’s a good thing because sleep=learning.
After MUCH experimentation, we learned the following:

1. Charlie cannot nap for more than 45 minutes or it will throw off his sleep cycle for the day.

2. Charlie must has two round of PT-type exercise in order to sleep through the night.

3. Charlie must be in bed before nine or he will have a Vesuvius-style meltdown that keeps everyone up an extra hour (or more).

Any tricks you’d like to share?
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  1. Sleep… I'm really in need of some now! Adam has never been a great sleeper. If we put him to bed at the same time every night (which is WAY TOO LATE, but that's another story) he usually sleeps well. And if he does wake up, and call for Mama (a few times a week), I usually go in right away and he goes right back to sleep. Most sleep experts wouldn't recommend that but it works for us.

    Great pics of Charlie — he looks like such a big boy! Love the Charlie Brown T, too. He's so handsome!

  2. Mamá Terapeuta says:

    Big topic over here!!! I also MUST wake her up before 45 min of nap… Otherwise, she wakes up at night from 2 to 6. Not nice…

    Also, in order for her to nap, I must wake her up at 8am in the morning…

    so…. I'm the sleep nazi!!! It bothers me to have to wake her up everyday twice, but that is much better than not sleeping (and learning!) at all.

  3. Candace says:

    Faith spent the first 5+ years sleeping terrible. She would cry for hours, throw up, wake every couple of hours. It was aweful! But last year we put her on Melatonin and it has helped tremendously! She now is in bed by 7:30 and usually will stay there until 4 or 5 am, then Carl will put her in bed with me when he gets up for work. Since she started sleeping more I definatly see an improvement in her learning and doing! NO DOUBT! Charlie you are so cute! Hugs from Faith!

  4. I'm all about Neuroplasticity lately. Especially since I just read an amazing book called "The Brain that changes itself" by Norman Doidge. You'll all love it. Totally fascinating stuff.

    It is absolutely amazing that my kid sleeps as well as she does considering just how disregulated her sensory system is. She's actually never had any sleep issues and I am beyond grateful. However, I definitely think she doesn't get enough, but that's probably all about me wanting more more more of the good stuff that comes with sleep (regulation, learning, etc).

  5. A "normal" kid book helped us out. It's called the No Cry Sleep Method. Routine, Routine, Routine are the big pointers, but little things like NO nightlights and if you have to use a light use a blue one. It just had a bunch of tips like that.

    Caleigh now sleeps 12 hours a night and takes 1 45-60 minute nap per day.

    I know I don't learn or function without sleep :-)

  6. We stuck to a routine from day 1 and luckily for us, Oia is a dynamite sleeper. We also read some sleep solutions books before she was born. She has always slept in her bed, same bedtime, same naptime and a pacifier is a must for her. She sleeps 10-11 hrs per night and a minimum of 1.5 hr per nap.

    Thanks for sharing the info found in the mag…very interesting.

  7. Sounds like you have his sleeping pattern down to a science!

  8. Luke has sleep issues due to his sensory issues. He just can't calm down or maybe he just doesn't know where his body is or maybe… (not that it really matters) There are several things that I do — he is on melatonin and tenex 1 hour before bedtime, plenty of blanket options (from a weighted one all the way to a sheet), rotating, calming lights on the ceiling.

  9. I was blessed with two kids who LOVE to sleep. As a toddler, Graham would BEG to go to bed, for naps and at night time… he'd clap and cheer when we put him in his crib. Even now at 7, whether it is the official bedtime or not, when he's tired, he announces that is time to sleep.

  10. My husband says complete darkness promotes the best and restful sleep you can try that as well. Meaning no tv, no night light etc. I found that a little dim light works better for the young ones, because if they turn and cant see that freaks them out. Well I should say two of mine freak out two of them are good with the darkness.

    When I do get sleep the complete darkness does work.

  11. White Hot Magik says:

    Too true, for my kids and for me!

  12. CountryCouture says:

    What great info. I think this shows sleep is important for EVERYONE! Your mention of a 45 min. nap reminds me of an article I read in Reader's Digest a few years back. It said that if you are going to take a nap, you should force yourself (by alarm, etc.) to wake after either 40 minutes or 4 hours! Apparently, after 40 minutes, the brain hits "pause," and if you don't wake up then, the brain then goes into a much deeper lull that, if woken from, will leave you feeling groggy! The next "pause" occurs at the 4 hr. mark, I think.

  13. Baylee and Blair's page says:

    Baylee has never been a good sleeper! She STILL wakes up every night at some point and makes her way to our bed. It doesn't bother me as long as she starts off in her bed. Blair… she is a piece of cake. She goes to bed around 7:30-8 and will sleep about 12 hours. We never really rocked her when she was little because of her belly. So, she has no problems just being laid down to go to bed.

    We always rocked Baylee when she was little… I don't know if that's the difference or what?!

    Hugs – Tiff