Amanda Jewson is a certified sleep consultant and trained educator who practices what she preaches when it comes to getting enough sleep to function well in an active lifestyle.
In an email interview, the Toronto resident and mother of two shares how she maintains a healthy lifestyle, including the importance of getting proper sleep.
Jewson’s expertise on best sleep patterns is focused from newborn to age five, which, as every new parent will tell you, has a rather acute effect on their own sleep, such as good luck getting any if baby’s schedule doesn’t happen to jive with your own.
Jewson begins with a rather shocking assertion: “These are the best tips for all ages! Start early! It’s okay to implement things like a bedtime routine as early as day (one). Prioritize sleep for you and the baby and don’t be afraid to ask for help. This goes for toddlers/preschoolers too–there’s a lot more physicality involved with toddler parenting.”
Jewson reminds new parents of the hazards of not sleep-training your baby, saying, “Avoid letting your child get over/under tired. Appropriate wake windows – the amount of time a child can be awake before needing to sleep again – are key (to well rested baby and by extension, parent.)”
She continues: “Put your child down awake to sleep or at the very least, keep practicing it! It may take a while but practicing helps! With older kids…help to sleep may look like sitting with them or stroking their back until they sleep. If this works for your family and your child is sleeping, carry on! But if it results in your child coming to find you frequently to do all of those things several times a night, it’s time for a change!”
There are options available for exasperated parents of overtired babies: “Call a pro when things are tough,” says Jewson, adding, “We’re masters at making this as gentle and fast as possible for all parties. Sleep work gets some sideways glances but when done right with love, emotional support and a plan, is a really wonderful thing!”
So, what is the number one concern that new parents have? “They’re doing parenting wrong,” Jewson explains, “They see the fact that their baby isn’t sleeping as well as their friend’s (baby) and get concerned it’s their fault. But here’s a tip: most babies aren’t born with an innate (knowledge of how) to sleep! It’s a skill that must be practiced and it’s totally normal that your child isn’t sleeping through (the night).”
On the subject of maintaining her own stamina, Jewson believes in meditating and napping as much as possible.
She says, “When I’m feeling tired doing a task, I’ll take myself away and meditate for 20 minutes or take a 20 minute nap. I feel refreshed and my brain is working differently, guaranteed!”
Jewson’s favorite way to start her day is working out.
She reveals, “My favorite workout is a peloton body boot camp. I know this is overkill but I really prioritize my sleep, probably over any wellness decision. I make sure to give myself at least seven hours (sleep) but my optimal amount in 8-9 hours. I don’t sleep with electronics; I have downtime and sleep really well. Sleep and movement…when I’m not moving, I’m not living well; Period.”
Revisiting Jewson’s assertion that newborn babies can have a sleep routine, she affirms, “Yes! I started as early as four weeks old!” Jewson is founder of Baby’s Best Sleep, which is a service option for new parents.
She notes, “We just implemented a bedtime routine of bath, books, bottles and bed. Older children love a routine. Make it fun with cool bath toys, bubble baths and funny bedtime stories. Bedtime is still the best time in our house and our girls are five and seven!”
Our Fitness Friday feature is submitted and written by Christine Blanchette so please follow her on Twitter as well as her Run With It Youtube Channel.Christine Blanchette is a freelance writer for various publications such as Optimyz magazine as well as Fitness Fridays for Sportswave.
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