All people have biological cycles that govern their days and nights. Called “Circadian Rhythms,” these rhythms include sleeping, waking, hunger and changes in body temperature and hormones throughout the 24 hour day. The timing of these cycles is linked to the ability to fall and stay asleep instance, as we fall asleep there is a drop in our body temperature. We wake up as it starts to rise again.
Research shows that there is a natural tendency to stretch tow twenty-five hour cycle. Events in our daytime schedules—mealtime, bedtime and time of rising—serve the purpose of re-setting the cycle to fit the 24-hour day. You can probably see this happening, to a small degree, on M morning after you allowed yourself to go off your usual schedule during the weekend. This is also the experience of “jet lag”—when the event experience don’t fit with your biological clock.
Most people don’t have trouble maintaining a twenty-four hour cycle. But for children whose sleep cycles have strayed, this is asking
Sometimes we ask children to go to sleep when their bodies are not ready the sleep cycle. A child would understandably be grumpy and hard to live if his rhythms were not in sync with the clock of his world.
John just can’t seem to get to bed at a decent hour—we always battle bedtime. When he was eleven months old he wasn’t ready to go to bet 11:00 pm. We gradually got it down to 9:00 pm. Then at a year and ? we noticed it had crept back up to 10:00 pm.
It may be necessary to purposefully take control of your child’s sleep if they have gotten off kilter.
Daytime routines are important to maintain biological rhythms an resulting sense of well-being.
If you implicate biological rhythms as a part of your child’s sleep pro changes need to be made in gradual increments so that a shift of cycles can occur smoothly.
When your child is sleeping better and more regularly, you can expect a happier child.