Blog Post 1

Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child
by Marc Weissbluth, M. D.

A Healthy Child Needs a Healthy Brain,
A Healthy Brain Needs Healthy Sleep.
(For Every Age)

Sleep is serious business. But some parents say, “Sleep for my child is not a big deal; she is fine even when we skip some naps or keep her up late.” Or, “Why are you so strict with your child’s sleep, loosen up a little.” Or, “I’m too busy to pay close attention to my baby’s sleep.” Or, “I come home late from work; I’d rather play with my child than put her to sleep.” If you do not believe me that your child’s sleep is really important, perhaps you will believe the United States Army.


“Sleep Readiness” is the title of Chapter 11 of the United States of America Department of the Army field manual (FM 7-22) that prepares young men and women to become soldiers. It is the official document that describes how all young recruits will acquire necessary skills during the process that is sometimes referred to as basic training or “boot camp.” Updated in 2020, it is based on empirical data using traditional scientific methods. I have lightly edited, added emphasis, and condensed Chapter 11 in order to show you how “Sleep Readiness” can also help parents help their child sleep better.


Initially, I will post parts of Chapter 11 (Blog Posts 1 through 5) to emphasize the value of healthy sleep and then I will post specific information for parents and children based on my book, “Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child.” Please do not be put off by my book’s length. For now, only read the single, age-appropriate Chapter for your child. Later, if you wish, read Chapters on What is Healthy Sleep, Why Healthy Sleep is Important, and Preventing Sleep problems. Finally, if needed, read the Chapter on Sleep Solutions.
Let’s go!

Chapter 11
Sleep Readiness
From the United States of America Department of the Army field manual (FM 7-22)

“Sleep is the critical requirement for brain health and function. Sleep readiness is the ability to recognize and implement sleep principles and behaviors to support optimal brain function. In turn, sleep readiness underpins a Soldier’s ability to accomplish the mission, and continue to fight and win.”


“The brain is the only organ or body part that requires sleep. Sleep is crucial for tissue repair and hormone synthesis to maintain peak performance mentally and physically. Sleep sustains brain and physical health, cognition, the immune system, and recovery after physical activity. This chapter provides tools and techniques for leaders [Parents] and individuals [Children] exercising sleep readiness tactics, techniques, and procedures for a range of occupations and operational environments [Home, School, Playground, etc.].”

PRINCIPLES
“There are three basic interrelated principles of sleep health: sleep duration, sleep timing, and sleep continuity. Of these, sleep duration is paramount because the health and function of the brain is primarily a direct function of the amount of sleep obtained-the more sleep obtained the better. Sleep timing is critical because the brain’s internal clock strongly influences the ability to initiate and maintain sleep as well as maximize the amount of sleep obtained. The extent to which sleep is undisturbed by arousals and awakenings-sleep continuity [or Sleep Consolidation]- is important because this influences both the duration and depth of sleep, with deeper sleep being more restorative. Ultimately, the promotion of sleep health in the operational environment entails optimizing each Soldier’s [Child’s] sleep duration, timing, and continuity to the greatest extent possible, given existing mission constraints [Specific family circumstances].”


(To be continued.)

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