Ask any new parent and the one thing they are all desperate for is sleep. Sleep deprivation is incredibly common during the first 6 to 24 months of your baby’s life, with most parents losing around two hours of sleep each night until the time their baby reaches five months old. This lack of sleep can cause a host of issues for parents from simply being distracted to lacking attention, to more serious symptoms like memory loss, anxiety, or poor decision making.
When babies are born, they are used to the dark, quiet environment of the womb and it takes time for them to develop the 24-hour circadian rhythm that we adults depend on to manage our sleep cycle and energy levels. During this time, you can encourage a better night’s sleep and start to establish healthy sleeping hygiene for your baby with the tips below.
- Spend More Time in the Sun
Your baby’s circadian rhythm takes several months to fully develop but will begin within a few days of their birth which means exposure to sunlight during the day can be as beneficial for them as it is for you. Try to expose your baby to more natural light by spending short periods of time outside in the sun or simply opening more windows to help them adapt to a 24-hour cycle more quickly and sleep better at night.
- Move Around
Understanding the natural rhythm of day and night will help your baby establish a pattern to their day and fall asleep more easily. Don’t be afraid to get active during the day like you normally would. Your baby will adjust to the activity and noise of daytime in contrast with the calm, quiet nighttime and learn it is time for rest.
- Create a Routine
A regular routine can help establish a sense of what to expect for your baby. Babies like to know what is going to happen and when, so routines are extremely important as they are starting to make sense of the world around them. Maintain a regular feeding and activity schedule and make sure to keep their nap schedule is as consistent as possible each day. You can also try turning down the lights at the same time each night to help your baby start to establish its natural melatonin cycle.
- Turn Off the Lights
When you put your baby to sleep, turn off all the lights in their room, even nightlights. As mentioned before, babies are very used to being in the dark and should feel very comfortable in complete darkness. The darkness is also important as your baby starts to develop his or her circadian rhythm over the first few months of their life. If you must use a nightlight for nighttime feedings, try one that filters out blue light which will make it easier for your baby to fall back asleep.
- Allow for Self-Soothing
Many parents assume they need to offer a full routine of relaxing activities to help their baby wind down for the night, from bath time to lullabies and stories to puppet shows. In reality, this frenzy of activity may be doing more to stimulate your baby’s brain than relax them to sleep. Try allowing your baby to self-soothe by putting them down when they’re sleepy and then leaving them to relax on their own. There may be a bit of fussing at first, but it will help them establish life-long sleeping habits that will help them fall asleep faster and easier.
Sleep Help for Singapore Babies and Parents
If you’re struggling to get your baby to sleep better, contact Petite Dreamers. Louise is a licensed, experienced sleep consultant who has helped hundreds of babies (and their parents!) with sleep issues. Contact Louise today for a free discovery call.