Sleep Consultant Tips: Summer Sleep Schedules

How’s your sleep schedule going? It’s easy to fall into the relaxed pace of summer, especially now that pandemic restrictions are easing up and more places are open to explore. However, you don’t want to ease out of routines and consistency because it can be the fast track to a miserable summer…or fall when back-to-school rolls around. So today, I’m talking about staying on track with summer sleep schedules.

Extended daylight hours

One of the greatest things about the summer months is the number of daylight hours we enjoy. Extended daylight hours mean we’re able to enjoy outdoor time later in the evening on work nights. This may be great for us adults, who relish long summer evenings, but these extended hours can wreak havoc on your little one’s sleep.

To avoid sleep disruptions, try to keep to your baby’s regular sleep schedule throughout the summer months. The reality is that you’ll be able to enjoy the long summer nights even more, knowing that your baby is sound asleep. On the flip side, the farther your stray from baby’s bedtime routine, the less time you’ll have to relax in the evening – you’ll find that extra time spent trying to get your little one to sleep (and that’s stressful). 

If you’ve already followed my advice for creating the perfect sleep environment, your little one should be set for summer sleep. If you’ve not, I’ve got two hints for you: cool and dark. Naturally, you want to keep your little one’s room cool, and if you add a fan to help, you have the bonus of white noise. To keep the room dark, add room darkening shades or blackout blinds; while black trashbags help in a pinch, you can find blackout shades for under $10 at home improvement stores.

Summer travel

Lazy, late beach mornings and late-night boardwalk outings are some of what vacation is all about. Vacation’s a time when we can relax and enjoy our time from the everyday hustle and bustle, and summer road trips are the perfect opportunity to reconnect with your family. However, relaxed schedules can often derail ironclad sleep routines, so be careful.

Plan for daytime naps. Once your little one loses their nap schedule, all bets are off. Instead of pushing through or past naptimes, try to plan your vacation activities around the snooze times. If you’re away from your hotel or house rental, make sure you create an area conducive to napping. In a pinch, you can do a stroller nap, steering away from a lot of noise and activity. A shaded stroller, a clip fan, and a white noise app can help create an on-the-go napping environment. Ideally, however, you’ll plan to be at your home-away-from-home base for naptimes.

If you’re planning something more than a road trip, you’ll want to factor in time zone changes, jet lag, and plane cabin pressure (especially with your littles). But, more than anything, you want to have a plan before you travel. When you have a strategy in place, it makes it easier to stay on track and enjoy your vacation.

Enjoy the sunlight

If the outdoors is your happy place, it’s not a coincidence. Sunlight, or vitamin D, exposure triggers the release of serotonin, which brings us to our calm and happy place. The same is true for kids. So, while temperatures may soar in the summer months, get your little ones outside. Not only will they benefit from the fresh air and sunlight, but their sleep will fare better as well.

Start back to school preparation early

If you’ve got school-aged children, then you know how lax summer sleep schedules can create a hurdle when it comes time to go back to school. So if you’ve shifted bedtime a little later, begin moving it earlier weeks before school starts, so it’s not such a shock to the system.


As always, consistency is vital. However, if you need help finding a sleep schedule that works for your little one or your toddler’s sleep got off-track this summer, I’m here to help! Schedule your complimentary sleep assessment today.

Sleep Coach’s Corner: Is There an Iron and Sleep Connection?

Today we’re taking a dive into research. More specifically, the correlation between iron levels and restless baby sleep. So, if you have a restless sleeper and nothing you’ve tried seems to work, read on.

Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional, nor do I claim to be one. The content in this blog is from a trusted authority but is speculative in nature.

Restless baby

In my decade as a sleep consultant, I’ve fielded hundreds of questions from tired parents. However, when parents come to me with a restless baby, I’m the one asking lots of questions. The reason why I ask so many questions is to help determine whether baby sleep or toddler sleep issues are because of dependency on a sleep prop or if there’s something else at work. (If you’re unfamiliar with the term sleep prop, it’s used to describe something a baby or toddler depends on to fall asleep, such as a pacifier, rocking, or breastfeeding.)

Sleep prop dependency is relatively easy to overcome and can usually be solved within a week or two of consistent bedtime routines. In fact, the majority of restless sleepers are traced back to sleep props causing disruption. However, every once in a while, I come across a restless baby sleep case without props to blame. Some babies and toddlers are just restless sleepers, just like children and adults who flail, toss, and turn in their sleep. This is where speculation comes in, so bear with me.

Sleep research

Yes, there’s such a thing as the World Sleep Congress. The World Sleep Congress is an annual gathering organized by the World Sleep Society, where researchers and scientists across the globe come to share research and studies on everything relating to sleep. And in 2019, I heard musings about a theory – scientists posit that there is a correlation between iron deficiency and restless sleep.

In fact, there are studies showing a correlation between iron deficiency and restless sleep in children dating back to 1969. You may already be familiar with Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS); perhaps you or someone in your family has RLS. If you’re reading this because your little one is a restless sleeper, they may suffer from periodic limb movements and involuntary movements during sleep.

Mayo Clinic linked RLS in children to a family history of the syndrome and iron deficiency in a 2005 study. And circling back to the 1969 study, researchers found that periodic limb movement lessened in 19 of 28 patients after receiving a serum containing iron. 

So, back to those restless sleepers. If you’ve got a restless baby, and nothing has worked to help them get a solid night of sleep, the research indicates that it may be worth asking your pediatrician to test iron levels. 

And, if you’re one of the many parents out there with a baby who is reliant on a sleep prop, or you simply need help coming up with a nap and bedtime schedule that works for your family, I’m here to help! Schedule your complimentary sleep assessment today!

Sleep Coach’s Corner: Why Sleep Training Doesn’t Always Work On Your Own

I haven’t done the math to give you a precise percentage, but I can – with confidence – tell you that the vast majority of parents who contact me for help have already tried some form of baby sleep training on their own. They’ve gathered advice from friends and family, scoured the internet, poured over books – and yet nothing they’ve tried has worked. With miscellaneous tips and tricks – and no solid, straightforward plan – it’s not surprising that sleep training efforts fail. Today I’m talking about why sleep training doesn’t always work when you try to do it independently. 

Inconsistent training

The first hurdle I often see is that many of my parents give up too soon when it comes to sleep training their little one. They may have excellent advice from a book or family member; they just don’t stick it out. I’m going to lay it out straight for you – it typically takes two to four weeks for a tiny human to adapt to change. Now, before you start thinking all hope is lost, let’s put things into perspective.

How long have you been dealing with sleepless nights? Be honest here. When exhausted parents reach out to me for help, they’ve been dealing with broken sleep or split nights for at least as long as it takes to form a habit. The good news is that many of the families I work with will see results within a week, and often within two weeks. Many babies just need some nudging – and a consistent routine and schedule – to learn healthy sleep habits.

Not going all-in

I get it – by the time parents consider baby sleep training, they’re exhausted and overwhelmed. And with so much ‘noise’ out there about sleep training a baby, it’s understandable when parents are tentative with their approach. You have got to be committed to sleep training, or the likelihood of failure is high.

Being fully committed to the process means setting a routine and sticking to it; it also means you go all-in. Many families want to dip their toes into sleep training by focusing on just their baby’s naps. I’ve got news for you – if your baby isn’t napping well – or napping at all – it’s because of their nighttime sleep. You have to work on all sleep, not just individual parts. However, the easy part is that once you figure out your routine, it will be the same (sans bath) for both naps and nighttime.

No support

In the words of John Donne, “No man is an island.” When it comes to sleep training, it’s difficult to commit yourself to a routine if your partner isn’t on board. And it’s tough for me to work with families where the partners disagree about sleep training or aren’t both willing to commit to a routine. I’ll put it this way – if there isn’t ‘buy-in’ with both partners, sleep training has a high likelihood of failing. 

The support area is also part of my role in this process. I believe in sleep training, and I’ve got almost ten years of experience working with babies and toddlers. While I’m a Philadelphia area sleep consultant, I work with many families across the globe when they don’t have a sleep consultant in their area. In fact, I’ve been conducting virtual appointments for years, so the pandemic didn’t derail my coaching when it forced people to go virtual.

If you’re struggling with sleep training, please give me a call. I’m happy to help your family – schedule your complimentary 15-minute phone consultation today!

Sleep Coach’s Corner: Sleep Training and Vomiting

If that title didn’t grab your attention, then I don’t know what will! Vomiting is one of those parenting experiences that nothing can really prepare you for. It’s scary and often distressing for everyone. And if you’re in the middle of sleep training, it can be stressful to know how to navigate it. Let’s take a look at how to handle things when your baby throws up during sleep training.

Why it happens

Intense crying and even coughing can trigger a baby’s gag reflex, causing them to vomit. When a baby is allowed to cry longer than usual, their increased mucus production can also contribute to triggering the gag reflex. I will note here that the Sleep Sense™ program that I use is not a “cry it out” sleep training program. The goal of sleep training is not to create additional stress for a tired family.

The simple way of explaining why some babies vomit during sleep training is that babies cry to communicate. Without language, their only method of communicating is through crying. When you change from rocking your baby to bed to calmly putting them into their crib, they’re confused, and they’ll let you know. As you remain firm in putting your baby to bed without rocking them to sleep (or feeding them to sleep), your baby will communicate their confusion through crying. This increased crying – whether in intensity or in the length of time – often triggers a baby’s gag reflex, resulting in them throwing up. 

Preparation is key

If you don’t do this already, now’s a great time to start; double or triple sheet your baby’s mattress with protective barriers in-between. This is great for nighttime diaper leaks as well, as it allows you to quickly and quietly strip the soiled sheet and get your baby back to bed. I also suggest having a change of clothing set out before bed or naptime, in addition to wipes for cleaning up, in the event a change is needed. 

Sleep training and vomiting: what to do

Now that you’re prepared, it’s time to discuss what to do when your baby vomits during sleep training. The first thing you need to do is to remain calm. Your baby is already feeling a bit of distress, so your goal is to exude calm as you go through the process of cleaning your little one up and getting them back down.

Now that you’re the epitome of calm, you need to change your baby. Move your little one to a clean area of the crib, clean them up, and change their clothing. In case you missed it, you are not removing your little one from the crib. Use a gentle tone and touch to soothe your baby and reassure them that they’re okay.

With baby cleaned up, you need to strip the crib. Beginning at the corner closest to the vomit, remove the top sheet and protective barrier and start rolling it on itself until you have enough space to move your baby onto the fresh sheet. Roll the remainder of the soiled sheet and remove it from the crib. 

With your baby and their crib cleaned up, give them a quick cuddle, some soothing words, and then retreat to your chair if you’re remaining in the room. 

I will reiterate that it can take up to two weeks for your baby to adapt to their new, consistent sleep routine. While it’s distressing to see your baby cry until they vomit, they’ll eventually settle into the routine once they understand the sleep cues you’re giving them. After a few days of consistent sleep training, your baby will understand the cues that let them know precisely what will happen, leading up to a nap or bedtime. 

Hang in there tired parents! As always, if you’re struggling to find a sleep routine that sticks, or you need help creating a healthy sleep routine, give me a call. I’ve helped hundreds of Philadelphia area families – and families across the globe – get the sleep they need.

How To Sleep Train A Baby: The Daycare Dilemma

Split Nights with Twins

So, you’ve decided to finally tackle your little one’s sleepless nights and inconsistent napping. Learning how to sleep train a baby is challenging in itself, even before you take daycare into account. If you’re suffering from the daycare dilemma, this one’s for you.

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My Baby Wakes At 3 am: Is It Time To Start Sleep Training?

baby wake 3am

“My baby wakes at 3 am—is it time to start sleep training?” If you’re asking yourself this question, the answer is likely yes. But you’re not going to start at 3 am. Here’s the thing. If your baby—and your family—is suffering from middle-of-the-night awakenings, no one is getting a healthy night of sleep. In this instance, I’d say it’s time to make changes to ensure that everyone in the family gets healthy nights of sleep. Let’s take a look (more…)

Help! My Baby Wakes At 3 am Every Night

infant sleep coach

Being a new parent is exhausting in and of itself, but when your baby wakes at 3 am every night, it runs you completely ragged. The effects of sleep deprivation are dangerous when it becomes chronic. So, let’s take a look at why your baby is waking so early each morning and what you can do.

The science of sleep

You’re likely already familiar with the circadian rhythm in relation to sleep cycles. To regulate those rhythms, the human body releases melatonin and cortisol. Melatonin relaxes the body to get it ready to sleep, and cortisol acts as a stimulant to wake the body. As perfectly constructed as the human body is, a predictable cycle is easily disrupted.
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What Is Sleep Sense?

cute baby sleeping - sleep sense - gift of sleep consulting

As a Philadelphia-area pediatric sleep consultant, I’ve been asked almost every question in the book. Today I’m going to answer one of the top questions I receive: “What methods do you use?” The short answer is Sleep Sense™.

The Sleep Sense™ program

Authored by Dana Obleman, after countless hours of trial, error, and research, Sleep Sense™ is a complete system designed with easy to follow steps. The Sleep Sense™ program helps your little one learn and build the skills needed to independently sleep through the night. (more…)

Safe Sleep Tips: The Sleep Sack

baby sleep sack - gift of sleep

If you’ve spent any time on my blog or my Facebook page, you’ll know that I’m a proponent of the sleep sack. And while you might find it strange to be talking about this as the summer heats up, but think about it—do you sleep without any covers? I didn’t think so. The sleep sack is a safe way to make your baby comfortable when they sleep.

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