Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child
Myths & Fad
August 7, 2023

Found in age groups

Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child

5th Edition: 
A Step-by-Step Program for a Good Night's Sleep

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Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child

5th Edition: 
Chapter 1 (only 16 pages!) outlines everything you need to know about your child's sleep.

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Myths & Fad

If you have not already done so, please read Blog Posts 1 through 5 that describe how sleep is important and beneficial. 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. This is a reference book. Read only the topic of interest to you.

Blog 143Myths & Fad

The basic scientific facts regarding sleep are presented in Blog Posts 1-5. Using these facts as your foundation, parents can prevent and treat all sleep problems in all children.

There are popular false ideas and fads about children’s sleep that have no scientific basis. They will not help your child develop healthy sleep.

Sleep Myths Blog (Posts 36 and 37)

  • Teething disrupts children’s sleep.
  • Graduated extinction and extinction disrupt the mother-child relationship (Blog Posts 24 and 71).
  • Graduated extinction and extinction stress the child which causes elevated cortisol and elevated cortisol causes brain damage (Blog Post 24).
  • Growth spurts disrupt sleep.
  • Sleep regressions.
  • I’m an owl and so is my baby; I don’t believe in early bedtimes.

Sleep Fads

  • Laudanum (tincture of opium) 1800-1900
  • Paregoric (camphorated tincture of opium) 1880-1920
  • Benadryl (antihistamine) 1940-1960
  • Tryptophan (amino acid) 1960-2000
  • Gripe water (originally, alcohol) 1980-current
  • Melatonin (hormone) 1990-current
  • Warning: Between 2012-2021, accidental melatonin ingestions (poisoning) of children increased 530% (from 8,000 to 52,500): 5 children required mechanical ventilation and 2 died.
  • Dream Feeds 2000-current
  • Wake Windows 2020-current
  • Womb recordings/sounds
  • Rigid Sleep Schedules by the clock
  • Sleep Adaptation to parent’s schedules


  1. Hi Dr W! I found your blog after reading your book and finding no mention of sleep regression. Our daughter is approx 4 1/2 months old and had been sleeping through the night for the past several weeks (7:00p – 7:00a) with no night feedings. We haven’t moved the bedtime back yet as she was going down drowsy, but awake with out much of a fuss. The past 48 hours however, have been a completely different story… She’s going to bed after our normal routine, but has been waking up every hour on the hour crying. We haven’t fed her at night for fear of starting a bad habit, but assumed sleep regression was the issue. If not regression, what could be causing this sudden change? Would you recommend moving her bedtime back or trying extinction during her night wakings – or both? We’re very confused by the sudden turn of events and looking for answers. Thank you in advance!

    1. What is her usual nap schedule?
      How does she appear (mood and behavior) when alone (no screens or parent interaction) between 5-7pm?

  2. We put her down for naps after 60-90 mins of awake time. She’s getting 3-4 naps per day, but hasn’t settled into a set schedule yet. Her sleep signals are the ones you outlined – turning away from a toy, getting calm, glazed eyes. If we wait until she’s rubbing her eyes we miss the wave. We’re normally making dinner/eating and then start her routine from 5-7. We engage her during sporadically during dinner, but when left alone she is calm and observant (she seems very focused on watching us eat). My wife normally feeds her between 5:00-5:30. Once we’re ready, we’ll read a couple of books quietly and then soothe her near her crib before putting her down. She’s sleeping in her nursery now. Also, we don’t have any screens on during this time.

    1. For 3 nights only, do everything that you have been doing but put her to sleep 20 minutes earlier. If she falls asleep at this earlier time, then we will know, after the fact, that her old bedtime was too late. This may, or may not, reduce the night waking, but at least we will have more information to guide you going forward. How does this sound?

  3. Hi Dr. Weissbluth,

    Our daughter is 8 months old and previously was sleeping from 6:30 PM to 6:30 AM every night, but ever since a family vacation 4 weeks ago, has been waking up every day at 5 AM on the dot and not napping as well. I can tell she’s tired at 5 AM but can’t get back to sleep. She then is ready for her morning nap already at 7 AM.

    I would like to try doing a early bedtime reset but am worried that this will make her continue to wake up early (e.g. if she goes down at 5 PM, won’t she wake up at 5 AM given that is 12 hours of sleep?)

    Thank you in advance for your insight.

    1. A 5:30 reset might help repay her accumulated sleep debt in just 1-2 nights. If so, her naps will improve and then later, her bedtime would be moved to a later time.

  4. I have so many questions! But I’ll start with these two:

    1) I have your book, thanks to my pediatrician swearing by it and several friends and we’re working through. I have a 4 month old and the amount of stuff out there about the 4 month regression is overwhelming. I see you debunk regressions so I’m wondering, is the there any merit to the idea of specifically the 4 month? I’m super curious since we’re in it now.

    2) my daughter seems to only get good daytime sleep if it’s in our arms in her nursery. We have tried to start her at the first nap of the day in her crib, and she’d sleep maybe 45 minutes in there, but then 20 and now 10 minutes at a time.
    The rest of the naps are contact just so she can get sleep and they last anywhere from 45 minutes to two hours. We’ve been told to cap her daytime sleep to 4.5 hours. Anyhow, I’m lost: wondering what you’d suggest for daytime sleep overall. Also, I have post partum anxiety so, extinction is not on the table for us

    Thank you!

    1. Please describe in detail her usual night sleep and her mood and behavior when alone with toys (no screens or parental involvement) during the hour before her bedtime. How willing is your husband to read and get involved in her sleep issues and how willing are you to let him take charge?

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These blogs are related or mentioned in this blog.
Blog 36
  | July 19, 2021
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Six Popular Myths About Children’s Sleep

Teething disrupts children’s sleep - This myth is extremely popular in part because it is the oldest myth and if many generations of parents pass this down to their adult children and everyone knows it to be true, then it must be true.
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Blog 37
  | July 26, 2021
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Six Popular Myths About Children’s Sleep

Growth spurts disrupt sleep - As a child grows in length, the bones get longer in either a fairly gradual or continuous fashion or instead, there are periods of no growth alternating with periods of rapid growth, or growth spurts. Different researchers have published papers supporting both points of view.
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