Sleep training or a sleep solution (Blog Posts 19, 25, and 138) fails for two main reasons:
- The usual bedtime is too late (Blog Post 130):
This causes the child to usually be at a higher state of neurological arousal making it difficult to easily fall asleep and/or stay asleep. Sometimes, the actual clock hour of the bedtime does not appear to be too late from the parents’ point of view, but because of unhealthy naps, for the child’s brain, it is indeed too late. Here a super early bedtime might be temporarily necessary so that the child awakens in the morning better rested which then permits healthier naps. Once better rested during the day from better naps, then the bedtime might be moved a little later but not as late as the original too late bedtime.
- Parental inconsistency.
- Parents have ‘special events’ (late night family activities, play dates, sports events, etc.) too frequently with late bedtimes so the child is too often, but not usually, overtired. There are not enough nights of early bedtimes to fully recover (Blog Posts 79 and 80).
- Parents vary too much in their bedtime routines in terms of its duration, the sequence of soothing efforts, or how often they actually have a bedtime routine (Blog Posts 10, 87, 89, and 90).
- Parents provide intermittent reinforcement by sometimes giving unnecessary attention at sleep onset (causing bedtime battles) or in the middle of the night (causing a night waking habit).
- A temporary super early bedtime is sometimes unacceptable because a parent fears that the child will get up too early or a parent won’t see the child when returning from work.Or a temporary super early bedtime is sometimes impossible because of family circumstances. In either case, moving the bedtime a little earlier might still help a lot (Blog Post 137).
There may be unappreciated or unresolved issues that cause or contribute to the two main reasons above.
- Parental subjective blindness to their own sleepiness (Blog Posts 13 and 84–86) causes parents to not appreciate how uncomfortable their child feels.
- Mothers are not emotionally available or sensitive (Blog Posts 14, 17, 57 and 88).
- There is impaired teamwork between the parents (Blog Posts 17 and 18).
- Maternal anxiety, depression, or dysfunctional cognitions (Blog Posts 39–42, 88, and 120) with or without:
A. TV or screens around bedtime (Blog Posts 21 and 22).
B. Bed sharing (Blog Posts 82 and 96
- Cultural issues (Blog Posts 60–62, 77, 78, 101, 111 and 134).