Thursday, April 17, 2014

Early Rising Sun Increases Early Rising Sons and Daughters

Exposing your body to bright light at the same time every morning helps to keep your body clock on the same rhythm so if the spring sun is rising earlier, you may be waking earlier and so is your child.  To help prevent this early rising and help your child sleep through the night you can use this  trick...

Use black out blinds and Blue Tape.  Use blue tape (painter's tape) to tape the blinds to the walls to seal out any cracks of light that slip through the edges.  If you are buying blinds to fit, order them to fit outside the frame. This blocks more light.

Some families get more creative using cardboard or tinfoil to block all the light for a light sensitive sleeper. Even hanging a blanket over the curtains or blinds for an extra layer of darkness may help.

Our Sleep needs are influenced by our Circadian rhythms. Light and other signals (like sound and food) effect our Circadian rhythms.  Using white noise can be a great signal.  It becomes a sleep association and encourages the body to produce Melatonin. (The drowsy hormone) Darkness also increases the Production of Melatonin helping you or your baby sleep.

 Circadian rhythms are regular changes in mental and physical characteristics that occur in the course of a day. (circadian is Latin for "around a day")...Let's get more technical.

 Most circadian rhythms are controlled by the body's biological "clock."  The body's "clock" is called the suprachiasmatic nucleus or SCN and is actually a pair of pinhead-sized brain structures that together contain about 20,000 neurons. The SCN rests in a part of the brain called the hypothalamus, just above the point where the optic nerves cross. Light that reaches photoreceptors in the retina (a tissue at the back of the eye) creates signals that travel along the optic nerve to the SCN.
Signals from the SCN travel to several brain regions, including the pineal gland, which responds to light-induced signals by switching off production of the hormone melatonin. The body's level of melatonin normally increases after darkness falls, making people feel drowsy. The SCN also governs functions that are synchronized with the sleep/wake cycle, including body temperature, hormone secretion, urine production, and changes in blood pressure.

By depriving people of light and other external time cues, scientists have learned that most people's biological clocks work on a 25-hour cycle rather than a 24-hour one. But because sunlight or other bright lights can reset the SCN, our biological cycles normally follow the 24-hour cycle of the sun, rather than our innate cycle. Circadian rhythms can be affected to some degree by almost any kind of external time cue, such as the beeping of your alarm clock, the clatter of a garbage truck, or the timing of your meals. Scientists call external time cues zeitgebers (German for "time givers").
This information can be found here from the NINDS (National Institute of Neurological Disorders...)

If your baby isn't sleeping through the night or is having trouble with early rising, give me a call. I can help you figure out what you need to do to get your baby on track.
Call Tracy Spackman 602-524-7610
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