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Written by Lavinia
Certified Paediatric Sleep Consultant
12 January 2021

Why Sleep Gadgets Are Futile

Wouldn't it be awesome if you could buy something from the shops that would magically resolve your baby's sleep issues? There are many such products marketed to do just that. Examples are a self-rocking cradle, a vibrating mattress pad, weighted blankets, even hypnotising bedtime books. I am not making any of this up by the way. These are all items marketed to desperate sleep deprived parents looking for a quick fix. And there are many more.

I am not saying that none of these things will help your baby fall asleep. In fact, some of them might in fact do that - but this actually creates a bigger problem for you and your baby.

Consider the self rocking crib. Your baby is undoubtedly going to outgrow this, and then you are left with a child who has no idea how to go to sleep without constant motion. Imagine having a child is a few years old, who needs to be pushed around in a stroller to fall asleep (and back to sleep) every night. It's a nightmare, to put it mildly.

Consider the hypnotic baby book as another illustration. If you have children under the age of 12, you have almost certainly heard about it. It was the first of its kind to reach the top of Amazon's bestseller list.  It uses repetitive sentences and nearly continual yawning on the part of the reader to put children to sleep. Suppose you do end up buying the book and reading it to your kid, and they fall asleep quickly as your read it. You probably already know that babies, like the rest of us, don't have the ability to simply go to sleep and remain so for ten hours. Everyone of us goes through regular sleep cycles that progress from a lighter to a deeper state of sleep and back again, with periodic awakenings in between. Babies and children frequently rely on a sleep prop, to get back to sleep. The sleep prop has now become being read a hypnotising bedtime story. So you might find yourself repeatedly through the night having to "hypnotise" your child back to sleep again and again. To sleep well is an acquired skill. It's just like learning to ride a bike or swim. Babies who are lulled to sleep through the use of motion, shushing, vibration, or feeding (or a hypnotising story) may have the innate ability to fall asleep, but they aren't getting the practice they need. While they are learning to ride a bike, you are continuously holding the seat for them.

This is the main difference between a sleep consultant and these other gadgets. Your youngster will learn to sleep through the night with our help. We'll teach them the ropes till they're sleeping like champs and you are beaming with pride. That means they won't have any trouble falling asleep on their own and staying asleep all night long regardless of where they sleep, who is watching them, or whether the motor in their self-rocking crib dies.

The result is not just a well-rested child (and parents). When your child becomes a practised independent sleeper, she or he becomes great at this skill of going to sleep on her own. And this breeds a love for going to bed. They start approaching bedtime and sleep with ease, calm and confidence. After all, as with any other talent/skill, when we are good at something, we tend to enjoy it.

So to sum up, spending hundreds of dollars on self rocking cribs and other contraptions is just treating the symptoms rather than the cause of your child's sleep problems. The true and ultimate cure is teaching them the skills needed to fall asleep on their own. This is a gift to your child, that keeps on giving.

Article written by Lavinia
Certified Paediatric Sleep Consultant
Based in Singapore
Trained in the Sleep Sense Program

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