Sleep — it's a necessary part of life. But when you have a baby, you may find yourself not getting nearly as much as you need. Sleep training is a huge topic in the parenting world, and while all parents want their children to sleep through the night, there's a huge divide between those who let their children cry during sleep training and a no-cry sleep solution. And kids? They aren't the only ones affected by sleep training. So how does the no-cry solution affect your brain? There's a lot of information about crying it out, but for parents who want to try a different approach to sleep training, they may be stumped.
Elizabeth Pantley, author of The No-Cry Sleep Solution, has been attempting to help parents get their children to sleep for more than a decade. Her approach sounds pretty simple — figure out what's causing your baby to wake at night, determine your baby's biological sleep patterns and work with them, and teach baby to fall asleep without something to suck, like your breast, a pacifier, or bottle, by using the Gentle Removal System.
The idea is to not let your baby cry it out, but to implement what Pantley suggests is a more "gentle approach" to sleep training. Whether it works or not obviously depends on you and your baby. But just like crying it out can work, but be stressful on parents, the no-cry solution has some effects on your brain, too.
According to The Baby Sleep Site, while all sleep training requires persistence, consistency, and a routine, the no-cry solution seems to be even more intense. It can often include staying in your baby's room for several nights to eliminate crying, more advanced preparation to make sure your baby doesn't fuss, and it can take longer than other popular sleep training methods. Knowing all of this, there's one major way the no-cry solution can affect your brain — it can make you even more exhausted.
Pantley told Today's Parent that starting the no-cry solution means telling yourself that you're going to get even less sleep over the next couple of weeks as you train your baby to get some shut-eye. Shape noted that the less sleep you get, the more it affects your cognitive throughput (which is the speed your brain processes things), less-efficient filtering, and your brain functions can be affected, meaning you may feel hunger when you're not hungry or be easily distracted throughout the day.
But, if you're successful with the no-cry solution, your brain can benefit. For one thing, you'll hopefully be getting more sleep once your child is snoozing through the night, but creating the habit and routine can make the rest of your life a little bit easier. And bonus? If you ever have to change up the routine (babies sometimes need sleep training more than once), it won't do any damage to your brain. According to MIT, while researchers previously thought your entire brain was so dedicated to a habit that it didn't take up any room in your noggin, it turns out that part of your cortex is still devoted to the control of your habit, which means you can work to switch it off or make changes if needed.
Regardless of whether the no-cry solution works for your child or not, your brain is going to be affected. Although, let's be honest, being a parent means it was already turning into mush. Now it's just overly tired mush trying to put itself back together.