If you know, you know. Being a parent of an infant can be quite a lot, especially when it comes down to trying to get them to sleep regularly, and when it comes to trying to squeeze in some sleep for yourself.
Sometimes, it feels like a paradox. This led me to do some research, so I could help my baby to sleep soundly through the night. In doing my research, I stumbled upon some tried and true, science-backed tips that have helped immensely. And I am going to share them with you today. Remember, that while not all of these tips may be useful to you, take what is and leave the rest.
1. Expose your child to external circadian cues.
Humans run on circadian rhythms that tell our bodies to go to sleep when it’s dark and wake up when it’s light. However, babies still are developing and training themselves to do this. But, that doesn’t mean that you can’t help them along. Make sure that during the day, your baby gets exposure to sunlight, and at night, that they are exposed to the fact that it’s dark. This will help them to develop their circadian rhythm.
2. Block out blue light by using special bulbs in your home.
Be mindful of devices that have a blue light. Things like tablets, phones, computers, televisions, and even some artificial lights have a blue light. Limit devices and exposure to devices, while making sure to replace artificial bulbs with ones that block out blue light. The reason for this is that artificial light wires our brains to wake up and stay alert, making sound sleep harder to achieve after exposure.
3. Have a comforting and calming nighttime ritual.
Keep nighttime around the time of bed as relaxing as possible. Give them a warm bath, and a warm bottle, and rock them to sleep. Talk quietly, and move slowly. Emanate relaxation around your little one, and they will pick up on that energy.
4. Keep the room cool, quiet, and dark.
The human body adjusts and falls asleep much easier when it’s in a cool, dark space. If you can, adjust the temperature. Use blackout curtains, and shut out loud noises.
5. Try a white noise machine.
White noise machines are amazing because they remind babies of being in the womb. The sounds are relaxing and can make it much easier for them to fall asleep.
6. Allow them to self-soothe.
Don’t rush to soothe them every time they cry out or try to fight sleep. Of course, don’t leave them crying if they sound off, but if they are crying just because they are fighting sleep, allow them time to self-soothe.
7. Don’t intervene unless need be.
It might be tempting to run in there any time they stir in the middle of the night. But, if they are just moving to adjust, and you go running in their room, they will for sure wake up then, and then it’s much harder for them to get to sleep. If you must intervene, do so quietly, limit communication, and soothe them.
8. Stay flexible.
Remember, not every approach or tactic will work for everyone. So, if something isn’t working, try something else, and try to not get discouraged.
9. Keep your days as mellow as possible.
During the day, try to keep stimulation to a minimum. The more mellow their day is, the easier it will be for them to relax. This tip is especially helpful in the beginning when your baby is brand new. Once they adjust to a schedule, you can introduce more stimulation during the day.