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Live webchat with sleep expert, Dr Helen Ball - Tuesday 15th June 1 - 2pm

(180 Posts)
RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 09-Jun-10 14:52:42

We're being joined next Tuesday by Dr Helen Ball, Professor of Anthropology and Director of the Sleep Lab at Durham University. She and her team have been part of ongoing research into parent-infant sleep culture and with particular interest in co-sleeping. She has over a decade of experience in this subject and plenty of findings, advice and research on how best to approach your child's sleep habits

Helen is also helping to promote Universities Week, which is taking place from 14th-20th June and aims to highlight how vital universities are to our everyday lives.

Join Helen next Tuesday 15th June between 1 and 2pm, if you're unable to join us at that time, post your advance questions here.

Druzhok Wed 09-Jun-10 15:24:15

Is there any measure being taken of the physiological/psychological effect of sleep training that involves leaving a child to cry for any length of time? I have chosen not to use controlled crying (I can't bear to leave a young child to cry in the dark), but I can see that is does get results very quickly and it's certainly very popular.

fruitshootsandheaves Wed 09-Jun-10 15:50:37

The Sleep Lab sounds lovely. Full of soft, pillows and duvets! I would like to go there for a holiday as long as there aren't lots of snoring people there. grin

hobbgoblin Wed 09-Jun-10 15:57:28

Do you feel that too much emphasis is placed upon how we sleep and 'teach' our children to sleep and that an instinctive approach, that would be as varied as the individuals practising it, is better? Or, do you feel that there is a right or ideal way to sleep and learn how to achieve the state?

luciemule Wed 09-Jun-10 16:20:04

My DS is 5 and still waking throughtout the night and creeping into our bed - is this usual for a child of this age?

RibenaBerry Wed 09-Jun-10 17:10:51

I hear all sorts of statistics quoted in general conversation along the lines of '50% of one year olds have sleep problems'. Such high figures suggest to me that there isn't a problem with the sleep as such, but with our expectations of it.

Do you think our expectations of child sleep (sleep routine books - I won't name authors!- tend to focus on 7-7 by about six months, or at least by age one) are realistic, and what percentage of children do you think suffer sleep problems at various ages?

OhExpletive Wed 09-Jun-10 17:28:58

My nearly-three-year-old son has never been an easy sleeper but we've gone with the flow re cosleeping etc. But now he's waking and finding it impossible to stay still, and spends long periods twitching and turning in half sleep in the middle of the night. He is insistent on company during this time, despite self-settling at bedtime with no problems, and as it's been ongoing for a few months we're all exhausted. Another baby due in the Autumn, so starting to panic a bit! Any ideas? P.S. I imagine your job is incredibly interesting - do you lie awake at night thinking about it???? grin

corblimeymadam Wed 09-Jun-10 18:10:00

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

LeninGoooaaall Wed 09-Jun-10 19:02:52

Ooh, I think they've done excellent work on co-sleeping. Can't make this but will read with interest.

LeninGoooaaall Wed 09-Jun-10 19:10:41

Here's an article, will try and find a summary somewhere.

My question is: do you think that once all common risk factors are eliminated, and indeed that all co-sleeping good practices are followed, co-sleeping might eventually be found to decrease the risk of SIDs?

Habbibu Wed 09-Jun-10 19:26:42

DS (8mo) seems to be a very light sleeper - even cuddled in my arms he can take a long and very wriggly time to get into a deep sleep - do you think that there are biological/physiological differences between babies/people in general that make them the kind of sleepers they are, or do you think it's all/mostly down to conditioning?

I sleep badly when co-sleeping with ds, which is a bugger...

Adair Wed 09-Jun-10 19:56:26

What's the most important thing we should try and teach/guide our babies to learn about sleep?

(Mine would be that sleep is a desirable, natural state and not to be feared.)

120 Wed 09-Jun-10 21:29:55

Is there a difference in the quality of sleep a child receives during the day and during the night?

My three year old will either go to bed shattered at 7.30pm having been grumpy all afternoon, then sleep til 6.30 OR nap for an hour durin the day, be bright and breezy in the afternoon and then not go to bed until 8.30 then still awake at 6.30.

So the number of hours slept are the same, but I'm not sure which pattern is better for a 3 year old. I worry about them being a bit tired and accident prone in the afternoon, but would stick with it if it is better for them to have all the sleep at night!

StarOfValkyrie Wed 09-Jun-10 22:00:16

Are sleep disorders caused by our contant obsessions with it an analysis.

We're a bit disorganised in our family. Kids sleep, - er whenever (3.5yrs and 21months), but they always sleep well and willingly.

I myself have sleep problems however. I find myself often spending the whole day just waiting to get home so I can get into bed and sleep. Often I go to bed when my dh gets in at 6:30pm and sleep through to 8pm, then get up spending the whole day dreaming of my bed, sometimes finding it incredibly difficult to keep my eyes open in a meeting. Have you any suggestions what might cause this. It has come and gone throughout my life.

moondog Wed 09-Jun-10 23:30:29

What a refreshing change to have someone who is not trying to flog a book/dvd/CD.

belledechocolatefluffybunny Wed 09-Jun-10 23:57:04

My child rolls around in his sleep and frequently ends up with bruises because he's bashed himself into the side of the bed. He used to have a low toddler bed when he was small and I'd find him on the floor every night, now he's in a midi sleeper as the high sides stop him from falling off, he always looks tired when he wakes. He's 11, is this something he'll grow out of (a night without being woken up by bangs would be lovely) smile

Thankyou.

nottirednow Thu 10-Jun-10 06:51:27

Message withdrawn

OopsDoneItAgain Thu 10-Jun-10 09:51:18

Specific advice needed if you get a mo please! My DS is 4.7 and wakes anything from once to 5 times a night for a wee or because of a bad dream or even for a chat hmm We have tried reducing liquids/reward charts/being firm etc etc but doesnt stop him waking (and calling us of course.) He can be quite grumpy and is droopy afternoons, and I am a zombie...any tips on how to deal with it? Thanks.

dinkystinky Thu 10-Jun-10 09:54:22

My second child (16 months) is currently going through separation anxiety at nap and night times (not helped by prolonged teething and an ear infection causing multiple wake ups) - we're staying in the room with him, comforting him when he cries and employing a gradual withdrawal method. Do you have any advice on how to help him through this? He is a very active sleeper so while co-sleeping may work for him, it certainly doesnt work for anyone else in the bed.

witchwithallthetrimmings Thu 10-Jun-10 11:27:44

most of my mother's generation insist that we slept loads more than my dcss. So at 18 months my dd sleeps 11 or so hours a night and has a nap for 1.5 hours or so. At the same age I was sleeping 13+ hours a night and napping for 2 hours+. Is this true on average and if so why?

ballstoit Thu 10-Jun-10 16:18:27

Is it possible to provide some statistics on SIDS and co-sleeping which seperate sofa and bed statistics. And statistics on co-sleeping just with breastfeeding mother v. with other family members.

I co-sleep with my DD who is one on Monday (or yesterday when you're reading this!) but have been heavily discouraged by my HV and family.However, as a deliberate co-sleeper whose baby sleeps on top of the covers and without any pillow I'm unconvinced that this is really any less safe.

do you know of any evidence to back up the fact that is fairly regularly quoted about sleep being brain development time, the implication being that if you don't sleep train your child, you'll be harming their development?

EasilyConfusedIndith Thu 10-Jun-10 17:42:55

I have co-slept with both my children. One dropped feeds all by himself and is a wonderful sleeper (night terrors aside!), the second has never slept well at all. She never fed to sleep. She never cuddled to sleep. Even co-sleeping she jsut wouldn't settle until she had screamed herself to sleep. She is now 17 months and until a few weeks ago she was still waking up to 10 times a night, we are now on 2/3 times which is wonderful!

I feel a lot of guilt surrounding her sleep. I have had pnd which was untreated for a year. When we co-slept I never felt as aware of her in the same way I did my first and after waking a few times totally unaware of where she was I put the side up on the co-sleeper so that there was a small lip between us. Having read your work when researching co-sleeping with my first it just makes me feel worse, that as a bf mother I didn't instictively protect her.

Do you think that something like pnd can affect sleep for the baby? That even if you are feeding on demand and co-sleeping the feelings the mother has can have a bad effect?

I don't think I've worded that very well. I hope it makes sense.

You could just scrap that question and come have tea with steathpolarbear and me grin we are not far at all.

foxytocin Thu 10-Jun-10 19:31:52

I'm inviting myself along to the cake and tea party with Dr Helen, Indith and SPB.

Q. Do you think it is at all possible to have a national dialogue to normalise safe co-sleeping?

Looking at how many parents co-sleep at least occasionally, is the health service doing us a disservice by allowing the taboo to continue.

theboobmeister Thu 10-Jun-10 21:12:39

What's your view on the Foundation for the Study of Infant Deaths and their (widely-publicised) recommendations on co-sleeping?

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