FAQs

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Why is good sleep so important?

Good sleep is considered as one of three pillars of sound health, together with a balanced diet and exercise. When children get enough sleep, everyone in the family benefits. Here are some ways in which your child benefits from good sleep:

  • Good sleep strengthens your child's immune system, so they are less likely to get sick.

  • Good sleep helps them grow: literally, through the production of human growth hormone (hgh), which is released during sleep.

  • They are more likely to maintain a healthy weight and have lower risk of serious health problems such as heart disease, diabetes and others later in life.

  • Good sleep is vital for the brain as it helps to improve memory, concentration, focus, productivity and performance.

  • Good sleep from early on contributes to a lower risk of emotional, behavioural and self-regulation problems (including depression and anxiety) in later stages of childhood.

What is the difference between "sleep coaching" and "sleep training"?

Often, the terms “sleep training” and “sleep coaching” are used interchangeably. But there is a difference: Sleep training usually encompasses techniques such as the “Ferber method”, also referred to as controlled crying or “cry-it-out”. Those approaches aim to teach baby to sleep by letting them learn to sleep all by themselves, i.e. without parental support or comfort. And while the method does indeed work (to a certain extent), attachment researchers found that letting children cry helplessly is actually emotionally traumatising (and rather than learning to sleep, they learn to "give up").

 

Like learning to read, self-settling and sleeping soundly is a skill that doesn't simply develop overnight. It is something completely new for babies and they need a process of coaching, consistency and opportunities to learn and practice so they can do it themselves. From around 6 months of age, they are developmentally ready to learn this skill. And it is best if they learn from and with you: you can be your child’s coach, you guide, support and encourage your child until they have learned to do it all by themselves, step-by-step in their own pace. That’s why sleep coaching is a gentle method: learning to sleep happens in co-regulation with the people your child trusts most – at no time will you abandon your child to cry alone. And once they have learned to self-settle (i.e. to put themselves to sleep) at bedtime, they will be able to apply this skill at night, every time they wake up.

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What are signs my baby could be dysregulated/have a regulatory disorder/be a "Schreibaby"?

It is possible that your baby is dysregulated, if she/he shows most or all of the following signs:

  • Excessive crying until about 3-4 months of age, then sleeping and feeding problems and inability to self-soothe

  • Motor agitation/restlessness paired with discontent and frequent whining/whinging

  • Irritability, (sensory) hyperarousal/overexcitation

  • Tendency to hyperextend (backward arching, opisthotonus), tactile defence (e.g. pushing away from parent)

  • Urge to be in a vertical position; rejection/avoidance of horizontal body positions

  • Need to be carried around (kinaesthetic-vestibular stimulation and visual distraction)

  • Constant demand for more stimuli („Augenkinder“/“eye children“: big eyes, want to see everything going on around them)

  • Pseudo-stability due to distraction and constantly new stimuli

  • Exaggerated fearfulness (of noises, situations etc.), anxious withdrawal, hyper-vigilance

  • Inability to relax and calm down when tired in order to be able to fall asleep

  • Accumulated sleep deficit, often with extremely short daytime naps

  • Over-tiredness and over-stimulation and excessive crying/screaming in the late afternoon/early evening

  • Lack of calm attentive wakefulness, inability to calmly occupy themselves for a little while

 

You might also be aware of the following impacts on your parent child-relationship:

  • Difficulties “handling” child due to motor agitation and restlessness and parental insecurity

  • “Normal” soothing strategies (when baby is crying) are ineffective

  • Possibility to interrupt restlessness by carrying child and constantly offering new stimuli

  • Possibility to interrupt crying episodes through intensive kinaesthetic-vestibular stimulation (e.g. "bouncing" child while sitting on a gymnastics/pezzi ball or in a motorised cradle/"Federwiege") and/or through noises (white noise, motor noises)

  • Dysfunctional interaction when trying to soothe and settle baby for sleep, often leading to frequent changes in soothing strategies and/or to rather intense and bizarre soothing strategies

  • When stimulation stops, crying resumes; often triggering an even more intense stimulation by parents

  • When held in arms, fight against falling asleep alongside motor restlessness, tactile defence and backward arching (opistothonus)

  • Development of a vicious circle (“devil circle”) of escalating mutual tension and excitation

  • Very rarely “angel circles” of intuitive harmonised “dialogues” fuelled by successful calming strategies or a state of calm-attentive wakefulness

Indications of parental strain may include:

  • Severe to extreme exhaustion, tenseness, feeling of being overwhelmed

  • Depression, helplessness, powerlessness, feeling to have failed, that nothing you do is actually working

  • Vulnerability, impotent rage, feeling of being rejected

  • Inhibition of intuitive parental competency and instincts, "clouded" senses

  • Neglect of own needs

  • Strained relationship between parents

 

How do I know this type of sleep coaching is for me?

 

My sleep coaching is for your family, if:

  • you want your child to learn to sleep without being abandoned and traumatised.

  • you appreciate authentic, competent and scientifically sound advice.

  • you are looking for a solution that has been specifically developed for your family with your personal needs and goals in mind.

  • you are in need of good quality sleep at night so you feel better the next day and are able to cope well with the myriad of tasks and demands you are facing.

  • you are craving more time for yourself during the day.

  • you are keen to take parental decisions with more self-confidence and optimism.

  • you are interested in strengthening the attachment bond between you and your child in order to give your child the best start in life.