Kelowna Sleep Professional Presents Options for Drained Dad and mom – Lake Nation Calendar
Parents who are frustrated with promoting healthy sleeping habits in their children shouldn’t consider their efforts a lost cause, says an Okanagan sleep counselor.
Pam Nease said that despite the sleep frustrations, there is a path she advocates for neurotypical and neurodiverse children that can close a gate that, uncontrollably, often leads to other health and behavior problems.
“Not all health problems are solved by the power of sleep, but it can prevent many things and make life easier for parents and children,” said Nease.
She understands how parents feel because she was a stressed parent grappling with her son’s sleep problems.
Over the past 12 years, Nease has delved into the topic and participated in international sleep conferences, including the Biennial Pediatric Sleep Medicine Conference in 2017 and 2019.
During this time, Nease’s counseling services expanded to support children with neurodevelopmental problems such as Autism Spectrum Disorder and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).
She serves clients on a global basis and reaches more than 2,700 families seeking her help.
Nease says there is no magic bullet for a sleep disorder, and she says addiction to melatonin or sleeping pills is not an ideal long-term solution.
Nease works with each family to find solutions that suit their lifestyle needs.
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It uses the analogy of sleeping to driving a car – learning to drive makes us feel insecure and insecure, but over time and repetition, you just get in the vehicle and drive without thinking about it.
“They want to develop a consistent ritual every night so that when kids put their head on the pillow, they go on autopilot and fall asleep without thinking,” she said.
She said that establishing that the correct ritual formula for a child is transformative goes beyond simply regulating screen time for children.
Using the example of a customer, Nease explains a mother who has been depressed by negative behavioral complaints about her sleep-deprived daughter.
When she was called to a meeting with her daughter’s elementary school teacher, she expected to hear more about it.
But working with Nease had helped alleviate the girl’s sleep problems. So while the mother was preparing for what she thought was coming, she was surprised when the teacher asked if she was doing anything else at home because her child’s behavior problems had disappeared, she could concentrate better and play in class cooperative with other children during the break.
“My client literally broke her emotional reaction to hearing this after receiving negative feedback over and over again in the past …” she said.
Nease says being sleep deprived because an infant, toddler, or toddler doesn’t have consistent sleeping habits shouldn’t be expected from any parent, but rather an unhealthy situation that can be translated into more positive outcomes.
She acknowledges that the Internet contains a multitude of “expert opinions” on how to sleep better your child, something she, as a counselor, digs through to find the best options for her clients.
“We go to antenatal classes and learn a lot about breastfeeding and childbirth, but we never talk about how to get a baby to sleep. You wonder why sometimes that’s not everyone’s radar, ”she said.
She said sleep remains a complex issue with no one-size-fits-all solution, but sleep awareness research is developing and the critical need for sleep for our children’s health is better understood.
“The popular myth is that as a parent, once you have a child, you will never sleep regularly again. Unfortunately, this may be a common scenario, but it’s not normal. There are ways to deal with it, ”she said.
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