The Answer is In Your Fingertips: Handling Your Sleep Transitioning Baby

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Dad is defeated. Is hard be fathers.Learning proper sleep habits is a skill that is developed over time, particularly in babies and small children. The process of learning to sleep is one that can take a significant emotional and physical toll on both parent and child­ – in fact, a quick Google search will bring up pages and pages of results from advice to mothers and sleep training strategies to blog posts by sleep-deprived mothers and comics depicting the terrible-yet-funny antics of parents without sleep. Fortunately, there are a variety of tools that can aid this process, one of the amazingly simple is the meridian based technique called tapping or EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques). (See below for the simple instructions.)

EFT Tapping is simple and easy and can be a godsend for parents and children at this stage of development. Not only does EFT make a helpful, easy-to-incorporate addition to your and your child’s nighttime routine, but EFT has been shown to have a profound effect on sleep quality and quantity for those who have issues with sleep disturbances and sleep difficulties. When added to a supportive nighttime routine, EFT is outstanding for calming the anxious, stress-induced, and sometimes negative self-talk and thought patterns that tend to plague those who have difficulty falling and staying asleep – at any age. The National Institutes of Health report that stress and anxiety both cause sleep difficulties and worsen existing sleep problems; in fact, while anxiety can cause sleep issues, research strongly suggests that sleep issues, or a lack of sleep quality, cause more anxiety, resulting in a vicious cycle of emotional and sleep problems (Anxiety and Depression Association of America, 2015). It isn’t difficult to see how sleep deprived parents with children transitioning into or learning sleep habits can find themselves at the end of their ropes, so to speak, with exhaustion, frustration, anxiety, and stress all contributing to one another.

It is important to note the connection between a parent’s well-being and emotional state and that of a child’s. David Code, author of Kids Pick Up on Everything, describes parental stress and emotionally chaotic home environments as “toxic” and “contagious.” In other words, the tension created by a parent’s stress levels actually affects a child’s cognition and development. This means that the perpetual cycle mentioned above actually begets its own cycle: a parent’s stress, anxiety, and negative thought patterns affect his or her own sleep quality and quantity, but the resulting build of stress and anxiety also affect the child in significant ways. “When a child experiences stress, the hypothalamus (above the brain stem) releases a hormone that rushes to the neighboring pituitary gland. The pituitary gland then mobilizes the production of a second hormone that swims via the bloodstream to adrenal glands above the kidneys. The adrenal glands activate adrenaline and cortisol. Adrenaline accelerates the child’s heart rate and elevates the blood pressure. Cortisol pumps up the blood sugar level, elevating the child’s muscle and memory power and boosting the pain threshold” (Pellissier, 2015) – and a child’s fast-developing brain is incredibly susceptible to the ill effects of the stress response.

At its heart, EFT tapping is a powerful stress-relieving tool, and incorporating it into a parent-child bedtime routine can promote a calm, peaceful transition to bed time- not to mention the increased quality of sleep that occurs when stress levels are lowered, or even absent. The stress response causes our brains to release a hormonal cocktail that encourages a biological fight, flight, or freeze response; anything but sleep. In clinical studies, EFT has been shown to counteract stress and its associated hormones in a way that is not only calming, but also allows the body to recover from the hormonal stress response, making it an ideal tool for helping both parent and child reach a place where sleep is more possible. Whether it is the stress of sleep disturbances and transition, stress from the day leading up to bedtime, or feelings of frustration or difficulty understanding the root causes of sleep issues, EFT truly can help. This technique offers both parent and child an accessible, easy-to-use tool to ease the frustration and negative self-talk that can come along with sleep disturbances; even some of the less-than-desirable physical impacts of sleep adjustments.

And more good news – because of this connection between parents and their children, the connection also works in a beneficial way. When a parent taps on themselves while holding their child, or even in the same room as their child, the child will feel the calming effects as well.

EFT Tapping is lightly stimulating 3-10 acupressure points while repeating/focusing on what is bothering you. This breaks through the emotional barrier and lessons cortisol levels, calms the system, relaxes obsessive thinking patterns and lowers the stress response. Find specific instructions at www.HowToTap.com/tapping.

 

 

Pellissier, H. (2015). Stress and your child’s brain | GreatKids. Retrieved December 15, 2015, from http://www.greatschools.org/gk/articles/how-stress-affects-your-child/

Karin Davidson

About

Karin Davidson is a highly sought after speaker on using meridian tapping techniques for self help and helping others. She is certified hypnotherapist, a Reiki master, an EFT Trainer, the first Matrix Reimprinting Trainer in the USA, co-founder of the Meridian Tapping Techniques Association and co-author of the EFT Levels Comprehensive Training Resource coursebooks. She has video taped and produced over 100 training DVDs for EFT, tapping, Matrix Reimprinting and many other energy healing modalities. Karin is known for her warmth, humor, and straight forward teaching style.

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