According to a new study in the journal, Pediatrics, sleep training can help children fall asleep faster, and have fewer night time wake ups.
The study demonstrated that sleep training did not stress out babies. Babies in the sleep training group actually had lower levels of cortisol. The study also found that babies who were sleep trained had no different levels of attachment compared to other babies. They also had lower rates of behavioral problems later on in childhood.
In short, the sleep trained babies were just as happy and well adjusted than the control group, they were just getting to sleep earlier, and getting more of it!
Dr. Tracy Altmann, a pediatrician, says that sleep training can “really benefit [children] in the long run because self-soothing and sleeping techniques really stay with them throughout their entire lives.” While opponents to sleep training might say that it is stressful for children there’s one major take-away:
Babies who were allowed to cry learned how to fall asleep faster and on their own compared to the control group.
Let’s face it: babies do cry.
And of course, if you are changing anyone’s normal sleep habits there is going to be some protest.
If I came into your house and took your pillow and blanket and said to sleep on the kitchen floor you might not cry, but you’d be fairly upset with me. Keep in mind that babies have fewer lines of communication, too. Crying is just one of the ways the can express themselves.
I do not encourage a full-on, cry-it-out “extinction method”. Parents must always do what they feel comfortable with when it comes to crying. That is what I help parents with.
I encourage my families not to be thrown. Crying is baby’s way of saying “I am tired, and I just want to go to sleep.” It all boils down to consistency. If parents are consistent in sticking to changes, they will see progress. And, babies learn so fast! They learn that they’re not being abandoned. Mom and Dad aren’t going anywhere, and that they are safe. When they learn this, going to sleep becomes so much easier.