Parents of young babies experience sleep deprivation—nights of sleep interrupted by babies awakening every few hours to eat, and days that seem to move only from one feeding to the next. While this is natural in the beginning, author Suzy Martyn says far too many families are disturbed for months, even years, by wakeful nights. She has written Sleep Tight to help parents shorten the process of teaching their children to sleep long and restfully.
People in this country suffer from a serious sleep crisis, according to Martyn. Studies show that children of all age groups are, on average, shortchanged an hour of sleep or more per night. This results not only in cranky kids but also a vast array of physical and psychological troubles, including obesity, behavior problems, learning disabilities, negative self-image, and depression. Children who are poor sleepers also impact the rest of the family.
“Sleep Tight” gives step-by-step advice for parents of children from birth to age four (and even older). Martyn suggests that children thrive on routine and encourages parents to provide that routine and faithfully stick to it. “Â…the one factor that will determine the outcome of this endeavorÂ…is the perseverance of the parents,” says the author.
Martyn is the author of Enjoy the Ride: Tools, Tips and Inspiration for the Parenting Journey, and is a consultant who speaks to parenting groups and writes the monthly column “Parent Matters” for the Orange County Event News. Her experience is evident in the book’s practical approach. Sleep Tight is written efficiently and to the point, with gentle humor and encouragement.
Chapters address the needs of different age groups and how to handle the challenges that inevitably arise, such as teething, colds, or a shift in the family’s life. Tips from other parents, sample daily schedules for every age, and case studies are helpful. Additional resources include an infant feed and sleep log, a summary of sleep routines, a section of questions and answers for each age, and an index of charts.
While the period of time for which a parent needs this book is relatively short, the practical advice the author presents, if acted upon, can make the early years of childhood more pleasant and restful for the entire family. Whether readers are new parents or seasoned parents who haven’t had a full night’s sleep in years, this book will help them guide their children to sleeping well.
Review Date: January 2010.