Light, natural or artificial, sends a message to our brains that it’s daytime, and not time to sleep. Melatonin production is triggered by darkness, so start turning down the lights an hour before you plan to put your child to bed. (Especially electronic screens, which emit a blue light that is particularly inimical to babies/children’s shut-down process.)
For children/babies who wake up early, invest in some blackout blinds. You can get a decent set for a reasonable price, and I’ve had many parents tell me it’s the best money they ever spent.
New parents can be obsessive over their babies’ comfort, and making sure they’re warm enough while Mum and Dad are out of the room for the night is such a basic instinct that people tend to overdo it.
Babies, like their grownup counterparts, usually sleep best when they’re warm and snuggly inside of a cool environment. A nighttime onesie with a sleep sack and a cool nursery, is the best way to ensure that your child remains comfortable through the night.
I know we all love the look of a cute, elegant mobile over the top of our baby’s crib, but even though this may seem soothing to us, they can be a real source of fascination for your little one, which is great! Just not when they’re trying to sleep. To a baby, they can be the equivalent of a big budget action movie, so keep visual stimulation away from the crib.
A white noise machine can help to block out any outside noise that might jar your child into waking up, and a dim yellow night light can keep toddlers from getting spooked by the darkness, but other than that, the more boring your child’s bedroom is, the better they’ll sleep. For white noise, go for a constant sound with no variations or inflections - to prevent it from being a source of stimulation for your child.
A well-planned, consistent bedtime routine around the same time every evening is conducive to a good night’s sleep, no matter what your age, but particularly with children. Once their bodies and brains start to recognize the signals that indicate an upcoming bedtime, they will start mentally preparing for sleep as soon as that first step begins.
Their energy levels will start to wind down, melatonin production will kick in, and muscles will start to relax, so by the time you’re giving them a goodnight kiss, their system should be all set for a long, restorative sleep.
Teaching your child great sleep skills isn’t a one-night operation. It takes some time, a lot of repetition and consistency, and plenty of discipline and diligence on the part of the parents, but for those of you who are desperate for just a little bit of relief, these tips should help you and your little one get a few more hours of shut-eye, starting tonight.
You can work on the rest of if once you’ve had a little rest.