TPV Podcast, Episode 224: Kids’ Sleep Health

Ep. 224: Kids’ Sleep Health


In this episode, we discuss kids’ sleep habits. Stacy and Sarah talk about their own experiences, what kids actually require and how to address sleep issues.

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The Paleo View (TPV), Episode 224: Kids’ Sleep Health

  • Intro (0:00)
  • News and Views (0:40)
    • This is another unfortunate lost episode re-recorded! Tada! We’re hoping it’s just as good as the lost episode!
    • We don’t do a ton of children’s health topic, but here’s one just for you parents!
    • There’s a ton of competing advice on parenting and it’s hard to wade through it all.
    • The Louis CK clip is here from Chewed Up in 2008. “If you’re skinny, I go to jail! Do you understand?!”
    • Sarah had two different kids requiring two different approaches. Parenting is like that: you need to come up with strategies to fit your own situation.
    • School starts pretty late for Stacy, meaning Cole will sometimes sleep until 8:30 while Sarah’s school starts early, requiring earlier bedtimes.
    • Preteens are hard! They start to roll their eyes at everything.
    • Sometimes you can be a great parent who handles situations perfectly. Sometimes you’re Yelly McYellsalot.
    • The most important thing about parenting is trying hard to do right. Let go of your guilt!
    • You are a success as a parent if your children can afford their own therapy when they grow up.” -Sarah’s Mother-in-Law
    • Again: we are not health or mental health professionals and our advice is in no way professional advice.
    • We’re just telling you our experiences and the experiences we have hear about.
  • Chrissy Says: “Hello and I am so glad that this forum exists where I can put this question!  Thank you for doing the work that you do and sharing your knowledge!  My question concerns my daughter who is 8 years old.  She has just undergone a sleep study because this summer I noticed she was sleeping 14 hours each night and still feeling tired during the day.  Her attention and resilience to stress can vary, but this is like most kids.  Her orthodontist and pediatrician have all commented on her large tonsils.  We haven’t reviewed the sleep study with the doctor yet, but I am concerned if they recommend a tonsillectomy for her.  Her oxygen saturation was 92 at the lowest during the night, she does snore and if it could help her function, have more energy and focus than I am all for the surgery.  However, I am worried about any repercussion to her thyroid because I have hashimotos and thyroid AI and dysfunction run in both my family and my husbands.  I am careful about her diet and other exposures because of this and my next step will be to get her thyroid tested as well, but the pediatrician didn’t see this as a potential issue because she is growing fine.  My question is if there is any basis for concern regarding the tonsillectomy and its negative affect on her thyroid and if there is any knowledge you can share that might help guide this decision.  Thank you for considering this question!”
    • There is aparently one study from the 60s in Italian with no accessibility and no follow up or references back that implies a slight increase in thyroid issues after tonsillectomy, but it doesn’t seem like that was definitive or held up. Probably a small group observation only.
    • There is a connection between swollen tonsils and Grave’s Disease (overactive thyroid), but there’s no reason to think that the removal of the tonsils causes thyroid issues at all.
    • With a history of autoimmune issues, getting a thyroid panel before surgery makes sense if you have the time (i.e. if there’s not a serious emergency requiring you take action immediately).
    • Always go with the “Save my kid’s life” choice; that makes you a good parent!
    • Sarah’s daughter had obstructive sleep apnea and had three sleep studies when a toddler. She desaturated to 70% O2. Super low! But because  it was only a short time and recovered quickly, was not considered a big issue at the time.
    • He apnea was caused by a physical issue: a curl in her epiglottis (the part of your throat that closes during swallowing to prevent food from going to your lungs) plus acid reflux from gluten and dairy.
    • Listen to the doctor’s recommendation! By the way, obstructive tonsils is a very common reason for childhood sleep apnea.
    • What do tonsils do? They sample foods to prepare the body for immune reactions.
    • Studies show that up t0 50% of kids awaiting tonsillectomies have their tonsils shrink back down after a dairy free diet.
    • Maybe the other 50% just haven’t found what their food trigger is.
    • We have to find a balance between seeking to find out the best natural solutions for your body and using the advice of medical doctors to prevent bigger health crises.
    • Stacy had her gallbladder removed. While she wishes she had known what she knows not about her issue growing up, she still doesn’t regret her gall bladder surgery because it was at the time a serious issue!
    • Obstructive sleep apnea increases chances of autoimmune disease by 50% in adults. Getting good sleep is very important!
    • The health detriments of not enough sleep get scary very fast!
  • Jenny Says: “Bedtime is like World War 3 over here. What tips do you have for helping children get to bed, stay in bed and fall asleep? Also want is the optimal hours of sleep kids should be getting?”
    • The list of sleep requirements:
      • Newborns (0-3 months): 14-17 hours of sleep
      • Infants (4-11 months): 12-15 hours
      • Toddlers (1-2 years): 11-14 hours
      • Preschoolers (3-5 years): 10-13 hours
      • School Age (6-13): 9-11 hours
      • Teenagers (14-17): 8-10 hours
      • Adults (18-64): 7-9 hours
      • Seniors (65+): 7-8 hours
    • Stacy reflects that often she finds that he lazy parenting instincts ended up being the right choice.
    • When Cole was a toddler, about 2, he was nursing to sleep every night in her bed. When Stacy was pregnant with Finn, she couldn’t stand this lack of personal space anymore, so decided to transition him away from this habit.
    • We set up a bedtime routine with Cole at that moment and continued it with other boys.
    • Wesley slept through the night at only a few weeks old, which Stacy attributes to paleo.
    • Routine and consistency is very important in all aspects of parenthood.
    • Even adults have bedtime routines (like watching TV or reading or wearing special glasses). Teaching your kids to expect this routine will help them get to sleep.
    • Books, teeth and bed is our routine these days. Cole and Finn both read to themselves for a little while before bed.
    • The key for us is to check in the morning to see if lack of sleep has turned them into jerks.
    • Stacy also prepares them for special “stay-up” nights with earlier bedtimes and naps.
    • You will inadvertently set up expectations for them. Be aware of this and think if you’ll want to continue this routine in a year or five years. Because they grow up!
    • Sarah was forced to implement a lot of techniques because her daughter had sensory processing disorder that made it difficult for her to wind down for sleep.
    • She got overwhelmed by too much input.
    • Sarah used Happiest Baby on the Block‘s Five S’s: Swaddle, Sideways, Shaking, Sucking, and Shushing
    • Sarah rocked her baby for 45 minutes for 20 minutes of sleep, so took to wearing the baby to get her to sleep.
    • Sarah took to turning off all the lights in the house after dinner to try to get her body to accept night time.
    • An elaborate sequence was able to be simplified as the got older.
    • Our shower podcast can be found here.
    • Sarah never has late nights because she’s found her kids can’t sleep any later than they do. She focuses on consistency and makes up sleep debt by earlier bedtimes.
    • If you miss the window when they are tired and calm, actually going to bed will be harder.
    • Sarah has found that sugar too late is a problem for sleep, but carbs with dinner is great for sleep. Blackout curtains, red nightlight, and white noise machines also help.
    • Check out Go To Sleep by Sarah for more details
    • Make sure there is a positive association with bedtime so they don’t fight it. Sarah makes sure that bedtime is a time for one on one time.
    • Bedtime is also non-negotiable. The time is the time.
    • It is not your responsibility to make your child into a certain person, they already are the person they are. Your job is to help them be their best self.
    • Explain to your kids why things are the way they are. It empowers them. Stacy used the Usbourne’s See Inside Your Body book to explain why the body is how it is and what they can to to be healthy as early as 2 years old.
    • Take time to work towards your sleep goals with your kids because they have a hard time changing on the spot.
  • You can preorder Paleo Principles RIGHT NOW! You can find out more here.
  • Stacy says, “GO SHOP ON AMAZON!”
  • Reminder: We’re not making more items that say “Healthy Inside and Out” other than the mugs.
  • And Stacy and family are going to the west coast! If you have recommendations, email us! Especially nature and family friendly stuff.
  • Outro (57:38)


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