Need Sleep? Tips for Early Rising

I talk to parents about this topic all the time and I know, it’s so hard when you are experiencing early rising.

Rise and Shine: Tips for Early Rising By Kim West, The Sleep Lady

Mornings for some of you, it seems, begin as early as 4 AM as others of you lounge around until 9 AM waiting for your baby to wake up. Both of these scenarios, however, can have their own repercussions. Waking up too early can mean a tired family and earlier naps, throwing off bedtime rituals later. Waking up too late does the opposite, pushing nap time to later in the day and sometimes prolonging bedtime. The solution is to find a schedule that works for you and your family and teach your child to stick to it!

Early risings sometimes have a very simple solution. If too much light is coming into the baby’s room, buy room-darkening blinds (also good for napping). If an external noise – garbage trucks, songbirds, or a dad with a long commute who has turned on the shower-is waking him, you might want to try a white noise machine. Unfortunately, it’s not always so simple.

If your child is awake at 6:00 or 6:30 a.m., cheerful, refreshed, and ready to start his day- even if you aren’t- you’ll probably have to live with it- that’s a common and biologically appropriate wake-up time for a baby or small child (as long as they went to bed at a reasonable hour). Remember to adapt the meal and nap schedule to suit his early hours.

If your healthy baby is under 9 months old and you think he is waking up very early because he is hungry, try waking him for a final feeding about 11:00 p.m. as an interim step, and also work on making sure he takes more food during the day.

When your early bird stirs, go to his room immediately. You want to try to get him back to sleep ASAP, not let him scream himself awake. Give him his lovey and try to soothe him back to sleep without picking him up. Follow the Sleep Lady Shuffle guidelines outlined in Good Night, Sleep Tight. Even if he doesn’t doze off again-and not all babies will at first-do not turn on the lights or get him out of his crib until 6:00 a.m. no matter how much he protests. Getting him up earlier, while it is still dark, sends a confusing message and is another example of intermittent reinforcement. He can’t understand why he can get up in the dark at 5:45 a.m. but not at 2:15 a.m. Also, many parents I’ve worked with have learned the hard way that if they let him get up at 5:45 a.m., the next thing they know it’s 5:30, 5:15, etc.

I usually recommend that the parent stay in the room for this early-morning routine. If, however, you feel your presence is encouraging him to be more awake, as often occurs with older children, you can try leaving his room after a bit of reassurance and see if he falls asleep again on his own. Check on him every ten to fifteen minutes. If you stay in the room, keep the interaction minimal. Try sitting in a chair with your eyes closed. When the clock finally strikes 6:00 a.m. and he’s not falling asleep-and it can seem like it takes a very long time to reach 6:00 a.m.-leave the room for a minute or two. He may cry, but try not to let it bother you, you will be right back in a minute. When you come back in, make a big deal out of “good morning” time. Do your dramatic wake-up. The morning routine is the flip side of the bedtime-routine coin. Your goal is to help him distinguish between day and night, to know when it really is time to get up. Your message must be clear: “I’m getting you out of the crib because it’s morning time-not because you were crying.”

If your child has already transitioned to one nap and still wakes before 6am, don’t let him nap before 12noon. If he naps from 11:00am-1pm he will then be overtired at bedtime which will lead to early rising again-the cycle continues.

If your early riser is over 2 or 2.5 years old and sleeps in a bed, then you will have to return your child to their bed and treat this like a night wakening. Continue with your Shuffle position until the clock strikes 6:00 a.m. Consider using an alarm clock radio to help signal to your child when it is wake up time. If you sometimes let you child get out of bed and start the day before the music comes on then he or she will not take the alarm clock seriously!

Important points about early rising:

  • Nap deprivation, going to bed too drowsy and too late a bedtime cause early rising!
  • Skipping naps and putting your child to bed later will cause early rising-I know it’s not logical- you and I would never do that – but it is true!
  • You can’t assume your child needs less sleep than the average until they are taking decent naps and sleeping through the night for several weeks.
  • Room darkening shades are critical!
  • Early rising takes several weeks of utter consistency to change so stick with it!
  • Rule out underlying medical conditions that can cause early rising.

Patience, consistency, and understanding of both your child and his needs are critical for this process to be successful. Be firm and be loving and good mornings will be right around the corner! I wish you both many happy mornings together!

You can find this article at

For great sleep help call Tracy Spackman 602-524-7610


Rise and Shine! Daylight Savings Tips

I wanted to share this great article from Kim West the Sleep Lady

It’s October already! Fall weather, sweaters, pumpkins, crisp air and chilly nights. I love it. This month’s article about early rising should be helpful given the time change we made at the beginning of this month. With the sun rising earlier now room darkening shades are critical!

Mark your calendars: On Sunday November 4th at 2am most of us (outside of Arizona) will set the clocks back an hour (Fall back).

Daylight Saving Time affects us all – young or old. In the fall as darkness descends earlier, it is harder for our bodies and minds to adjust to the lack of extended sunlight. This can sometimes become a precarious time for children on the cusp of developing an established sleep pattern. Hopefully the tips below will help ease you into a cozy routine for fall!

This fall we will change the clocks back an hour at 2:00 am on Sunday, November 4th. The next morning let your child wake up at his natural time- which according to the clock will be an hour earlier (but not before 6am). Schedule your day according to the new clock time. If your child’s bedtime was 7:30 pm the clock will say 6:30 pm. Make sure your child is well napped so they can make it to at least 7:00 pm the new time. If your child is too tired the first day and you fear they will miss their sleep window then put them to bed at 6:30 pm and try to gently push their bedtime later the next day. She may wake up early for a few days but then she’ll adjust. Stay consistent and don’t her start her day before 6:00 am (new time).

Sweet dreams,

Kim West, The Sleep Lady

You can find this article at

What Is the Best Sleep Coaching Method for My Child??

Are you a tired Parent?  Is your baby not sleeping?  There is a great blog post by Kim West I wanted to share where she talks about the different sleep coaching methods.  I like to use the gentlest method possible that fits a family’s personal situation and no 2 plans are exactly the same.  The important thing about the plan is that you feel you can follow it, it fits your family, and you have support from your sleep coach to make sure it continues to work for you.  If you don’t see progress in 3-5 days, you need a new plan.  To listen to this blog post in video go to  The following is the transcript:

Hi. I’m Kim West, the Sleep Lady. Today I want to talk about all the various sleep coaching methods. I know that there are more sleep books since my book first came out in 2004. I hear parents say “I have to find the perfect sleep coaching method. Maybe this new book will have the magic trick.”

I want to give you a quick behavioral modification tip: when it comes to behavioral modification methods, there’s only so many ways to peel an apple as they say. I have broken them down to four main methods. Now, when you go into a book store and you’re looking at the different sleep coaching books or looking at e-books online, you can think about this and figure out which method the book falls into. From there you can figure out what method you can follow through with consistently, because that is the key to sleep coaching success.

On one end of the spectrum is extinction. Meaning, you put your baby in their bed awake (by the way everyone is going to tell you that), you leave and you don’t go in all night. That way, you can’t be inconsistent by going in and intervening which can create even more crying.

Extinction is true “cry-it-out” and lots of us can’t stomach that!

Next to that would be graduated extinction. That basically means the parent goes into the child’s room to reassure them in timed intervals. For example, in Dr. Ferber’s book he recommends going into the room in 5, 10, 15, 20 minutes. In some countries they call this method “controlled crying”. In Good Night, Sleep Tight, I call it “timed checks”.

A lot of parents say to me, “What’s the magic number Kim for going in and checking on them? Whatever that is, that is what we are going to do whether its go in at 7 minutes, or 12 minutes or 14 minutes.” Unfortunately, there’s no magic number in the minutes. The minutes are there to control you, the parent. So pick the number of minutes that you feel comfortable with and follow through with it consistently.

Then in the middle road (the one I like) is fading. There are a couple of books that use fading like I do, for instance, The Baby Whisperer and No Cry Sleep Solution.

Fading in behavior science is when you slowly move away from something. So in this case, we’re intervening less and slowly moving away from your child’s bed as they learn to incorporate the skill of putting themselves to sleep.

One important part of fading is that you don’t stretch it out too long, because that can make it more difficult for your child. The more you stretch it out, the harder it can be on your child and the more difficult it will be to stay consistent which is essential in sleep coaching success.

On the other end of the sleep coaching method list is doing nothing, status qou, doing whatever works or I’ll deal with it later approach. You may say, “Well, that’s not a method Kim.” Well, actually, deciding to do nothing or nothing different is still a decision so I’m considering that a method so to speak. If a family is happy, functioning well and they’re doing whatever works and they don’t want to do any sleep coaching, then I support them. Family first.

Those are the basic four methods of sleep coaching. And again, the most important point is that you pick the sleep coaching method that you can follow through with consistently.

Sweet dreams,
The Sleep Lady

Call me if you need pesonalized sleep help.

Tracy Spackman- Certified Gentle Sleep Coach


Your Baby won’t Sleep? You get a Personalized approach to sleep coaching.

Your Baby won’t Sleep? You get a Personalized approach to sleep coaching. Talk to a real person who knows how to teach your child to Fall asleep and STAY Asleep All Night!   Gentle methods only.  Kim West the Sleep Lady Trained and Certified.

School has started back up, routines are being reestablished, and I am able to take a good look at my typical day.  With 5 spirited children (plus an extra one this week as her parents go to Paris on business) … I am tired by 9pm.  You must be too if your child is waking in the night and needs some attention to get back to sleep.  Sometimes I sit on the couch outside their bedroom doors as they wind down and get into bed with a few reminders about quiet and lights going out.  I check my calendar for the next day and answer any sleep emails I got during my busy with kids evening time.  I love it when the families I work with text or email me how long it took for their child to fall asleep.  I love to follow the progress of a tired family bringing it all together and getting the sleep they need once a gentle sleep plan is put into place.

How long does a sleep plan take?  It varies from family to family. It’s sometimes as fast as 3 days or as long as 2-3 weeks.  Sometimes there is a set back or a medical issue that extends the process but usually there is significant progress within 5 days.

What makes the difference?  Consistency, Temperament,  Past Sleep History, Age, Environment, Type of Sleep Crutch etc.

How do you get started with a sleep plan?  Call me!  602-524-7610 Or email me.  Tell me about what’s been going on.  I’ll send you a sleep history to fill out and we’ll set up a time for a consultation.  If you live in my area, I’ll come to your house if you like.  Most of my consultations are done over the phone or by Skype.  I’m going to tell you what to do, why you do it, and how to do it.  We will make it work for your schedule and parenting style.  You don’t have to stop night nursing unless you want to.  My plans are very breastfeeding friendly.  You CAN have it all.  I don’t teach cry it out.  If that’s what you want, you probably don’t need me. If it doesn’t work within a reasonable amount of time, you do need me.   I offer alternatives to that method.  Gentle Alternatives.    After our consultation I coach you through the plan as you implement it with your family.  We talk the next day after you start and as much as you need going forward.  Choose a sleep package that will give you the type of support you need.  There is email support, phone calls, texting, videos to watch, and facebook encouragement if you want it.  Check out the full list of packages on my website

If you would like to read about the experiences of some other families, please visit and like my facebook page

I also post on facebook tips for sleep and answer questions from tired families.

Let me know if I can help you.

Tracy Spackman-Certified Gentle Sleep Coach


This is the experience of a 5 month old.

This is the experience of a 5 month old.
“When my daughter was about 5 months old she stopped sleeping. She had been an excellent sleeper  up until then and I was baffled. I had been diligent about trying to let her put herself to sleep and was determined to have at least one good sleeper as my son was not!. After about a month of nobody sleeping, I called Tracy in tears and begged for her help. I had found her through The Sleep Lady website when I was at my wits end and Kim West’s methods were my favorite and I had read EVERY sleep book when my son was an infant. Tracy is truly an angel. She talked me through my tears, talked to my husband, and we arranged for some sleep nudging to begin. Tracy talked to my husband and I for about 2 hours and we made a plan. She was very specific with her directions and explained everything thoroughly. I followed her instructions and we began the following night. Within 3 nights my daughter was falling asleep within 5-10 minutes and was sleeping 12 hours straight. Tracy and I talked each morning. I believe she truly has a gift as she listened to what I did during the night and knew just what to do/how to adjust things and support me so that my daughter would sleep. It really helped me get through some of the tears knowing that I had a professional to talk to in the morning who would tell me what I did right and what to change. Now when we fall out of our routine, I know what to do to get my daughter back to sleeping all night. It is the most wonderful thing in the world to wake up to the sounds of a happy well-rested child. My son never got enough sleep and therefore never woke up happy and I wish we would have contacted Tracy back when he was 6 months old; the difference is worth every penny!!
Tracy also helped us with my son. He was a much tougher case because he was older and we (my husband and I) made the decision to transition him out of his crib into a bed and move his sister into his room all at once. Poor guy. Tracy was again so flexible and great at tailoring a sleep plan for our family’s needs and situation. While he is definitely not perfect, he is finally able to really put himself to sleep and sleep all night in his bed most nights. Any flaws in his sleeping are because we didn’t follow Tracy’s advice 100%, but the bottom line is how he is sleeping now works for us and we are all getting sleep. I seriously wish we would have invested the money with Tracy when my son was younger. I would have been a much happier momma and he would have been a much happier little guy and I know he would be a much better sleeper now.
Thank you Tracy for everything. I constantly sing your praises to all my friends and you gave my family back some much needed sleep!

Getting back on Track for Fall

Getting Back on Track for the Fall

With the sun staying out later, less structured routines and holiday fun,  sleep and routines often get off track in the summertime. Now that Fall and school are around the corner it may be time to get back on track. Here are a few tips:

Re-establish daytime and bedtime routines and family rules. This may be met with some resistance but it’s an important part of getting back into the swing of things.

Ease into the earlier bedtime. If you have some flexibility, start putting your child to bed 15 minutes earlier every night or two. Make sure the bedroom is nice and dark to block out the light at bedtime and in the morning.

Getting back to sleep. If your child’s sleep has gotten off track or the sleeping arrangements have changed due to travel or visitors, it may be necessary to implement a sleep coaching plan. If you used one previously you can try the same method again if your child’s age or circumstances haven’t changed too drastically. If you child is over 18 months old you might want to try Kim West’s  Sleep Shuffle Method Highlighted in her book ‘Good Night Sleep Tight’

If you are not sure what approach to take note our workshops and tradeshows listed below or consider a full or 15 minute consult with Certified Sleep Consultants, Andrea Strang, Tracy Spackman or Heather Irvine.

Need Sleep? 6 Things Keeping your Child awake
1. Hunger – learned, need or habit, night feeds can still be maintained while your child learns sleep skills.
2. Bedtime too late – aim for a bedtime between 6pm and 8pm. Watch your child’s cues and put him/her down before she is overtired.
3. Nap deprived –  insufficient day sleep can cause sleep disturbances.
4. Going down at bedtime too drowsy or asleep –whatever comforts or tools we have when we fall asleep, we will need them all night long. So if a parent gets the child too sleepy or completely asleep at bedtime, the child will need them to provide the same service in the middle of the night.
5. Inconsistency – it’s important to offer a consistent response at bedtime and through the night otherwise we can confuse the child and encourage crying.
6. Medical condition A small percentage of sleep problems are caused by medical or other conditions. The most common medical issues affecting sleep are allergies, asthma, eczema, apnea and reflux.

Upcoming Events

Interested in having  Tracy,  Andrea or Heather Speak at your group? We are available in the following locations:

Pheonix, Arizona,     Los Angeles, California,    Boston, Mass.(Nov),    Southern, Ontario,   Ottawa Ontario,     London, Ontario.

Upcoming Trainings:  
Night Specialist Training and Certification Program
Begins September 6, 2012
The Night Specialist training prepares you to work in-home with families assisting in carrying out sleep plans created by Child Sleep Consultant.
For more information:

Working with the Sleep Lady

I had the opportunity to work with Kim West the Sleep Lady this past month.  I was answering questions on her Facebook page and helping tired families from her parenting club on weekly Q&A calls.  It directed many families to my own Facebook page.  I love answering questions and having a forum for my clients to share their successful experiences with other tired families.  Check it out.  One family who is in the middle of the sleep coaching process has been posting pictures of her experience.  It’s funny. Let me know if you need help!



Need Sleep?

Many families call me because their child wakes up repeatedly every night.

Does this happen to you?

Do you rock or bounce them only to finally bring them to bed with you or give them a bottle when you would like to wean them from night feeding?

Does your baby wake before 6am?

Does it take more than 30 minutes for your baby to fall asleep?

Are you going crazy from sleep deprivation because you haven’t had a good night sleep in 5,9,12 or 18 months?

Babies over 6 months old, toddlers and preschoolers should be getting about 11 hours of sleep.  There are important steps you can take to help your child get the right amount of sleep and the right kind of sleep.

Falling asleep and sleeping through the night is a learned skill.  Children who don’t learn this skill often have trouble sleeping throughout their life.  This is an important skill for parents to teach their children.  A healthy baby with their doctor’s approval can learn to sleep through the night as early as 5 months old.    Sleeping 11 hours straight.

A well rested baby is a happier and healthier baby.

I am a sleep coach.  At Quiet Nights we strive to help families get better sleep.  We develop personal sleep plans with you using gentle methods customized to your child’s needs.  We support  the child and parents throughout the process of learning healthy sleep habits.

Schedule a consultation today!

Tracy Spackman
Certified By Kim West, LCSW-C The Sleep Lady ®  www.sleeplady.comGentle Sleep Coach
Also affiliated with The Baby Source
Call Me     602-524-7610
Email Me




I am a Sleep Coach

I am a Sleep Coach.

About Me.

My Name is Tracy Spackman.  I am passionate about all things family and I love this sleep topic.  It’s fun to have this in common with my sister-in-law Andrea Strang from Ontario, Canada.  She is my inspiration. I witnessed the magic of sleep coaching with my good friend and it’s been great to offer her extra support in the program.  I have a background in management with design on the side.  I have been family focused for the past 14 years and have wanted to write a book about what I’ve learned along the way.  I think I’ll start with a blog. I have a terrific husband and 5 fabulous children ranging in ages from 4-13.  I’m a Canadian living in Phoenix, Arizona and I love the sun.  I am a trained and certified Gentle Sleep Coach.  I was trained by Kim West the Sleep Lady.  I have had every success in sleep coaching.

Why I became a sleep coach.

I had a friend who was miserably sleep deprived because her young 1 year old child was miserably sleep deprived. Neither of them was getting enough sleep. Through sleep coaching, her world changed. She learned what pieces to the sleep puzzle her 1 year old had been missing and once put in place, both their worlds changed. Once the baby was sleeping, so was my friend. They both became happy and adjusted. I was amazed at the power of a good night’s sleep. This was the perfect career for me. I am passionate about all things family and sleep is a big part of the family puzzle.