Archive for Sleep Experts on Getting Kids to Sleep

Sleep Is Key for Parents and Children from Difficult Beginnings

The Attach Place

The Attach Place
Center for Strengthening Relationships

Dear Parents,

I know you are well aware that your sleep and your child’s sleep are super important to a happy home. Do you know why?  And, do you know how to set the stage for getting the best sleep?  If you know, don’t read on.  If you are curious, here are the basic facts and a few tips for getting the most out of slumber.


There are 5 Sleep Stages:

  1.  Stage one is that delicious, half awake time when one is easily awakened, and moving in and out of sleep. Eye and muscle activity slows and some people experience sudden contractions followed by a feeling of falling.
  2. Stage two prepares the body for deep sleep by dropping body temperature and bringing eye movement to stillness.  There only a few spurts of rapid brain waves and the heart rate slows.
  3. Stage three takes you deep into sleep where slow delta brain waves are active with short bouts of faster brain waves.  During this stage, the body repairs and regrows tissues, builds bone and muscle, and strengthens the immune system. This is also the time of parasomnias–night terrors, sleepwalking and talking, and bedwetting.
  4. Stage four gets a person into deep sleep where the brain is producing exclusively slow delta waves. If roused from this state, people feel disoriented and have a difficult time placing where they are.
  5. Stage five is called REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep when brain waves most resemble the brain waves active during waking periods.  The first REM cycle begins after about 90 minutes of sleep and lasts for 10 minutes or so. REM cycles repeat several times throughout the night with the longest lasting for about an hour. This is where the emotions and events of the day are sorted out through dreams that likely will not be remembered.  Fun fact: Babies spend about 50% of their sleep in REM, while adults do only 20%.

Full sleep cycles occur about  4 or 5 times during a night.  If REM gets interrupted for any reason, the body will try to get more the next night to make up for it.


TIPS for Sleep:

Ce’s Soap Box: Turn all screens off 2 hours before bedtime.  Yep, phones, iPads, iPods, TVs, computers, laptops–OFF!  Create a calm home an hour before bedtime and everyone will fall asleep sooner and stay asleep longer.  Actually, reduce screentime overall for a healthier lifestyle.


  1. Try to go to sleep and get up at the same time every day.
  2. Avoid sleeping in—even on weekends.
  3. Be smart about napping.
  4. Fight after-dinner drowsiness. …
  5. Expose yourself to bright sunlight in the morning.
  6. Spend more time outside during daylight.
  7. Don’t read books on a backlit device.
  8. Use full spectrum light if you are indoors all day, every day.
  9. Sleep in a dark room.
  10. Keep light low when you go to the bathroom in the night.


Foods that encourage sleep are Tryptophan-rich. Dairy, nuts, seeds, bananas, honey, and eggs. A small amount of good carbs before bed will help one fall asleep faster:  bowl of low sugar cereal with milk, half a turkey sandwich, bread and cheese, or nuts and crackers.

Eat only a small snack before bed because a big meal will disrupt your sleep by activating your digestive system and lead to nighttime trips to the bathroom.

Cut all sources of caffeine from the diet 4 to 6 hours before bedtime.  Beware of small traces of caffeine in chocolate, tea, decaf coffee. Read the label on all over-the-counter medications for pain, allergies, and colds, because they may have hidden caffeine.

Don’t drink alcohol 4 to 6 hours before sleep.  Alcohol can cause what I call the “bolt uprights” when your blood sugar drops and you are awakened from it.

Avoid tyrosine-rich foods at bedtime.  Protein activates brain activity.  And, of course, sugar is not a good idea at bedtime for challenged children and challenged adults, but really should be kept to a bare minimum for everyone all the time.

Staying hydrated during the day is important, but drinking fluids a couple of hours before bed will cause the need for urination throughout the night.

Smoking is a stimulant.  Skip the urge to relax this way before bed.  Actually, any time.  Try yoga instead.


Exercise during the day (at least 3 hours before bedtime) is essential for restful sleep at night; however, exercise before bed is too stimulating.

Vigorous exercise is best, and even 10 minutes of walking per day will improve your sleep. Build a daily exercise routine because it takes some time before you see the full benefits of exercise on sleep hygiene.


Create a “toolbox” of relaxing bedtime rituals to help you unwind before sleep.

  • Read a book or magazine by a soft light
  • Take a warm bath
  • Listen to soft music
  • Do some easy stretches
  • Wind down with a favorite hobby
  • Listen to an audiobook
  • Make simple preparations for the next day and then LET IT GO
  • Dim the lights in the hours leading up to bed
  • Quiet your home and your mind
  • Meditate for a few minutes–Loving Kindness Meditation
  • Talk to your doc about the use of over the counter Melatonin to induce sleep


Whatever you are worried about will be better after a good night’s sleep, so give up thinking about stuff until you are fresh in the morning.  You will be surprised how quickly solutions come following sleep.

If you don’t believe me, check this out.

Love and sleep matter,



The Attach Place Upcoming Events Calendar

Trust-based Therapeutic Parenting Class for Parents of Children from Difficult Beginnings by Ce Eshelman, LMFT will be held on November 10, 2018, from 10 am to 4 pmChildcare provided for an additional fee. CALVCB will reimburse this training. Register here or on our website!

AUTISM Support Group:  Monthly Strictly Social Autism Spectrum Disorder Night for Tweens (11 yrs – 16 yrs) at The Attach Place. Open to the public. November 19, 2018from 5:30 pm to 7:00 pm.  Gluten-free snacks provided. Please RSVP to so we get enough snacks. This is a  monthly social group for the children; and caregivers will have an opportunity to connect, chat, and chill in a separate space. A donation of $0.00 to $5.00 will be accepted for food and supervision if you are able, but please don’t let that be an attendance barrier because the group is FREE.  ASD kids need a social life and this is a great way to make it happen.

UPCOMING ADOPTION SUPPORT GROUP facilitated by Ce Eshelman, LMFT:  Click Here to join our monthly  Adoptive/Foster Parent Support Group on November 14, 2018! Open to all parents/caregivers at no cost. Support Group is every 2nd Wednesday of every month from 6 pm to 8 pm at 3336 Bradshaw Road, Ste 175, Sacramento, CA 95827.

GIVE MY BOOK FOR SUPPORT TO A FELLOW ADOPTION ADVENTURER: Drowning With My Hair On Fire: Insanity Relief For Adoptive Parents by Ce Eshelman, LMFT.  Daily inspirational reading for those who sometimes find it hard to keep hope alive. There is hope for healing.  At Amazon or get a discounted copy here.


Neurofeedback Solutions for reducing the intensity of Developmental Trauma symptoms in foster and adoptive children and their parents.  Get more information here.

Change Your Child’s Brain / Change Your Child’s Life



Free This Weekend Only: Better Sleep for Anxious Children

Dear Parents,

This weekend only Renee Jain, creator of GoZen (which I really enjoy, too), is giving a free gift  to anyone who wants to listen to 18 Sleep Experts share about improving sleep for children who have trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, waking in fear, and/or sleeping with you way past the toddler years.

Here is the link.  If your child has trouble sleeping, take the time to consume some help for it.

Listen to 18 Sleep Experts   


Love matters,