Being a parent is one of the most challenging things a person can do. Getting the baby to sleep is usually even harder. But a simple routine can make it much easier for you and the baby. 

Rather than trying to fight a baby’s urge to be awake, you can encourage a healthy sleep drive to maintain a normal sleep schedule.

How It Works

Children are on full steam all the time. There’s so much to see, experience, and do. When they get too tired, they’re even more keyed up because their bodies are full of stress hormones. Their circadian rhythm and their homeostatic sleep drive are natural allies to balance out the factors that keep the baby awake.

Circadian rhythms are like internal clocks that try to help us sleep and wake around the same time(s) every day. It regulates itself by light. The homeostatic sleep drive is similar but it relies on “sleep pressure,” the effects of the body from being awake, and the relaxation at night. To keep them both functioning correctly, you need a routine.

Wind Down Routine To Help Baby Sleep

The first step is getting the baby to sleep around the same time at night and during the day for naps.

A strategic wind-down routine before the baby goes to sleep helps the baby feel more sleepy and build a daily routine of getting sleepy and sleeping by themselves. Children are much like us in that there needs to be some distance between the stimuli and state associated with being awake and the relaxing period of sleep.

Steps In The Routine

The routine is simple so it’s easy to maintain. 

  • Separate food from sleep – Plan to feed your baby so that there are 10-15 minutes between the end of eating and being laid down in the crib. This will make sure they are full, but they aren’t associating eating with going to sleep. If they tend to go to sleep while eating, at least feed them in a room other than the one they sleep in. That room should be well-lit but without distractions.
  • Darken the sleeping area – If they don’t need to eat or they’ve finished, take the child to their room and darken their sleeping area. You can accentuate it with a relaxing little ritual like saying goodnight to whatever is outside the window or to items in the room. There should be just a little low wattage light left.
  • Do something soothing together – Pick some short things to do so the time is kept under 15 minutes. You can do a diaper change, read, sing, give them a massage, put on their pajamas, do a quick bath, whatever.

Ideally, the baby will be awake when 15 minutes are up so they can get used to falling asleep without any prop or activity. You can just step away and let them go to sleep. If not, don’t worry about it. At least they’re asleep. You can work on that later as they get older and you start more sleep training.

Be consistent. This is necessary to build a natural sleep pattern. After you’ve done this awhile, your baby will be used to going to sleep at these times and their body will naturally be more ready for sleep. This routine should be simple enough that you can always do it and caregivers can easily replicate it, so your baby’s routine doesn’t get messed up.  

Start your Sleep Training with Petite Dreamers

While sleep is often elusive for parents and kids, we need it to be healthy and happy. If you’re struggling to build a good sleep routine, get expert guidance from a sleep consultant. Reach out to our experienced team today.