7 Tips for Sleep Success
Is your baby struggling to sleep through the night or take long naps? Here are 7 tips to help improve your baby’s chances of sleep success!
Have you ever Googled the question, “How can I get my baby to sleep?” or "Why won't my baby nap?" or "How do I sleep train my baby?" I know I have! Before I became a sleep consultant, I used to spend hours on the internet trying to find answers. But the problem with those searches is that they lead to endless articles that take forever to sift through! Save yourself the time and read my quick overview- 7 Tips for Sleep Success, applicable for any baby of any age!
7 Tips for Sleep Success:
1) Use a dark, quiet room with a sound machine and ideal temperature.
No light should be cracking through the windows. The sound machine should be playing a whirring white noise (instead of music) to mimic the comforting sound of the womb! The recommended temperature range is 68-72 degrees Fahrenheit (20-22 °C). All these combined creates a perfect sleep space!
2) Maximize light exposure during wake windows.
Sunlight exposure turns off melatonin production (the hormone that promotes sleep). The less that is produced during the day, the more that can be produced at night time when it’s really needed! Get baby outside or near a window (minimum 20 minutes) to wake their brain and body so that they are tired for nap and bedtime.
3) Minimize light exposure before bed.
Turn down the lights at least one hour before bed so that the brain begins producing melatonin, which will in turn help baby fall asleep easier. This means turning off all screens (yes, even the TV in the background!) so that baby will go to bed. Then you’ll have adult time to watch all the screens you want!
4) Prioritize naps.
Day sleep helps promote night sleep, and vice-versa. If you have a busy day ahead, try to accommodate baby's naps as much as possible! I recommend the 80-20 rule, where you follow a set schedule (or a wake window schedule) 80% of the time, and then give yourself grace for the 20% of the time when life happens. However, remember that the more consistently you get your baby napping, the better they will sleep overall!
5) Follow wake windows.
If baby stays awake for too long, stress hormones like cortisol will be produced and work against you (and them) when it comes to sleeping. Use the suggested wake window range to help plan their naps and bedtime. The first wake window should be at the low end of the range and the last wake window at the high end of the range. Make sure you get baby in their quiet, dark sleeping space as the end of their wake window draws near!
6) Keep them full.
An empty belly never did anyone any good. Keep baby full to keep them sleeping! Make sure newborns are fed every 2-3 hours and older babies every 3-4 hours. Babies on solids should be given 1-2 solid meals/day initially, eventually growing to 3 meals/day (in addition to breastmilk/formula, of course). Toddlers should be given whole milk in addition to 3 meals and 2 snacks/day. If you’re following a wake-eat-play schedule (versus an play-eat-sleep schedule), I recommend giving baby a “nap snack” of 2 oz before long naps to hold them over.
7) Stay consistent.
Consistency is the number one factor that is *almost* entirely in your control, and has the greatest impact on baby sleep! Of course baby is going to change almost daily and you may have to make small adjustments every couple of weeks (like extending their wake window, for example). But overall, the more consistent you are in your schedule, methods, and approach, the faster baby will respond! This includes having a nap and bedtime routine. See my free routine chart downloads in my Sleep Store to help you out!
There you have it, 7 Tips for Sleep Success. What works for you??
Write a comment or send me a message- I’d love to hear from you!
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Wishing you all the best &
lots of rest,
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Bethany Barba, M.Ed.