I’m a baby sleep whisperer and there are two red flags to look out if you’re worried your child will be a bad sleeper

ALL babies go through the odd night of disturbed sleep, but if it’s happening on a more regular basis then you might be worrying your child is a bad sleeper.

If that’s the case, baby sleep whisperer Dr Chris Seton has some advice on the red flags to look out for which might suggest you need to take things further and seek some outside help.

Is your baby a bad sleeper? There are two red flags to look out for to know for sureCredit: Getty

“The two key red flags are, firstly, how do they get to sleep and how long do they take?” he explained on the Parenting As Anything, with Maggie Dent podcast.

“So if you can get your toddler or preschooler on an average night asleep within 20/25 minutes we’d say that’s good, that’s normal.”

The second red flag to look out for is whether or not your child wakes up during the night.

“If you or I wake in the night we can go back to sleep because we know that we should,” Dr Seton continued.

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“When little kids wake at night they get really excited because there is the potential of going to see mum or dad, or getting mum or dad to come to them.

“And then once they get out of bed, they are very wakeful. So what that means is that they not only lose sleep from the amount of time that they’re awake, when they do go back to sleep, they might take another hour or so to get to rapid eye movement sleep – that hour is wasted REM sleep.

“And the effect of that on toddlers and preschoolers can be profound and can drive parents crazy.”

Dr Seton also revealed that a lot of sleep issues are down to genetics.

“A little kid with difficulty going to sleep and waking during the night has got a high chance of insomnia if a mum or dad has a history of that.

“Insomnia is I feel tired, I feel like I need to sleep but I just cannot get to sleep. That’s called sleep onset insomnia and it is highly genetic.”

There’s also sleep maintenance insomnia – when a child wakes up during the night, can’t get back to sleep, calls out to their parents and goes into their room.

“And of course these little kids can’t tell us that they have trouble,” he said.

“They then develop what’s called sleep onset dependencies – they become dependent on things to get to sleep.”

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This can be a good dependency, on something like a teddy bear, or a bad dependency, on a mum or dad.

“Because if you’re a three year old and you need your mum or dad to be with you when you go to sleep at bedtime, guess what you’re gonna need when you wake up during the night, the same thing,” he explained.

It's a good idea to avoid children becoming dependent on their parents to fall asleep, as they will want you again if they wake in the night

It’s a good idea to avoid children becoming dependent on their parents to fall asleep, as they will want you again if they wake in the nightCredit: Getty


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