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Sleepless in America: Is Your Child Misbehaving or Missing Sleep? Hardcover – February 21, 2006

4.9 out of 5 stars 38 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Kurcinka (Raising Your Spirited Child) recasts misbehaving children as children missing sleep (and thus, children who can be helped sans drugs and punishment) in this treatise on the manifold virtues of a good night's sleep. "Sound sleep is the foundation of good behavior," Kurcinka says, warning parents that temper tantrums, irritability, screaming-bed-jumping-freak-outs and other unwanted behaviors can be scaled back dramatically if parents ensure their kids get enough sleep-something admittedly easier written about than done. Using advice and case studies from many of the parents who have participated in her workshops, Kurcinka provides insights into why kids do not go to sleep (an imbalance of "calm energy" and "tense energy" is one theory) as well as how parents' fatigue can affect their children. She advocates tension management as a way to foster good sleeping habits and includes how-to regimens to establish bed-time routines tailored to individual children's needs. She also helps parents reset their kids' (from infants to teenagers) body clocks to avoid sleepless nights and the morning battles, stress and school bus scramble.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


“A well-written, comprehensive, and above all loving and positive approach to understanding that oh-so challenging child.” (Evonne Weinhaus and Karen Friedman, authors of Stop Struggling with Your Child and Stop Struggling with Your Teen)

“Mary Sheedy Kurcinka’s Sleepless in America has some of the best tips for sleepy families.” (Minneapolis Star Tribune)

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Harper; 1/22/06 edition (February 21, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060736011
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060736019
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,082,985 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Robert E. Cardwell on April 24, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I have been working with young children and their families for over 20 years and am pleased that there is finally a book that clearly illustrates the link between childrens misbehavior and the lack of sleep. Our kids are crying out for more rest but often our busy lives keep us from noticing these behaviors. I have read every other book this author has written and would read more if she had another. She gives us time tested strategies and tools, easy and simply explained ideas to implement a positive sleep environment all day long. She shares humorous and real life stories from the hundreds of parents she has worked with. Filling in the sleep chart has been extremely insightful. I also found the red zone/green zone information helpful in quickly assessing all family members levels of tension. I am so glad someone finally has written a friendly, helpful, humorous book on sleep that doesn't encourage kids crying it out or abandoning our young children at night. Instead, she gives us tools to use all day long to make nap time and bedtime rewarding and peaceful for everyone. Parents will read this book and know they are doing a great job!
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Format: Hardcover
I highly recommend this book to parents with children of all ages! It's truly transformed our nights (and days!) from one of bedtime and wake up battles to one where peace prevails most of the day and bedtime has become a positive time to connect:) The book is written in a style that is easy, quick, and enjoyable to read and is full of practical tips, assessments, and advice. I'm a Mom of two active school-age boys and an infant son and have found this book EXTREMELY helpful and practical for all 3 of them (and surprisingly me, too!). Little did I know that my 8-year-old who was arguing through his day, melting down through homework and dinner, yet seemed full of energy at night-was actually so exhausted from the school, sport, and activity schedules we were keeping that he was barely functioning! With the step-wise, practical, witty advice in this book, I was able to make some minor changes in our routines and adjust a few decisions which have yielded GREAT results in a short time. He's much happier throughout the day because he's sleeping better and more regularly. The author guides us to determine what works best for our own family, then shows us HOW to implement her step-wise approach to sleep, and to avoid undermining our own efforts with decisions we make during the day! There's a great section detailing how different temperament traits affect sleep-a MUST READ for parents of spirited children. It also provided great recommendations for helping our infant son to sleep without watching a timer while he cried! Plus sections on time changes, vacations, holidays... Finally, a truly definitive resource on helping families to sleep!
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By JEE on June 19, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book is a godsend. We've tried every approach out there for our 4 1/2-month-old daughter who we considered 'colicky' because of her hours-long, irate crying and inability to sleep. We shooshed her, swaddled her, dream-fed her, let her cry it out, tried the EASY method, gave her a pacifier, rocked her for literally hours, put her in the swing, had her sleep in bed with us, had her sleep in her own crib, had her sleep in the bassinet, had her sleep in the car seat, changed her bedtime, took her for walks, drove her around, gave her baths, put on white noise. Nothing worked. Until we discovered Sleepless In America. Mary Sheedy Kurcinka helped us to begin to think about sleep in a whole new way and make us realize what we've been doing to actually overstimulate the poor child to the point where she's been over-exhausted, to the point where she can't be soothed enough to sleep, her entire short life. She's helped us to slow down our own lives, realize we can't just take this baby out and about and expect her to conk out in the stroller or the car seat, and she can't handle being around big crowds or loud noises right now. This book has brought to our attention that we have a special type of kid who needs some extra TLC that 'normal' babies don't require. Our friends think we're crazy and our family think we're bad parents because we have to rock our baby to sleep for every nap and every night, and because she still wakes up four times a night. 'What's wrong with her? What's wrong with you? Just put her in the crib! Let her cry it out!' If you have a child like ours, you will completely understand this just isn't possible, because she's the type of child whose cries will escalate to the point of vomiting if left to fend for herself.Read more ›
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I've checked out sooo many books on sleep from the library, trying to find something that will work for my son and our family. My son is almost 4 now and we still have nearly nightly meltdowns at bedtime. This is the first book that I actually wanted to purchase after reading!

Mary Sheedy Kurcinka doesn't promise any magic solutions like some other authors, but first helps you understand the deep need our kids (and we as parents) have for sleep, then presents a number of different reasons why sleep might be challenging, then lays out ideas and options to help your family find a better way to get to sleep. With my son, simply standing your ground and not giving in to bedtime shenanigans is NOT the solution. Kurcinka understands this type of kid and I was so happy to read about techniques that do seem like they might help. It's not just about bedtime, but about making family choices to manage energy levels throughout the day.
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