One of our most used phrases is ‘sleep doesn’t need to be complicated’, but when you’re in the thick of poor sleep it can feel hard to see what might help.
If you’re thinking of making sleep changes then we have some tips for simple things you can try to see if they could help with your current sleep situation:
Timing. Is the balance of day and night sleep right for your little ones current needs? Making some small adjustments to the length and timings of naps or adjusting bedtime a little may be the answer. Sleep needs change over time, in some cases it may be time for a nap transition but sometimes small tweaks are all that are needed and can make world of difference.
Bedtime routine. A calming, predictable build up to bedtime can make all the difference to helping your little one unwind and feel ready for sleep. A routine doesn’t need to feel too regimented, it can be as simple as following the same simple steps each night before bed, letting them know that sleep is on the way.
Bonding time. Setting aside some special time together to connect during the day can help our babies and children feel more settled at sleep times. It can be as little as fifteen minutes or stories together, calming play and cuddles. Carving out some uninterrupted time can be really beneficial.
Are they too hot or cold? The optimum temperature for the room they sleep in between 16°C and 20°C. As well as monitoring the room temperature we want to make sure they are dressed comfortably – see our ‘what should my baby wear to bed?’ blog shares lots of detail on this.
Are they comfortable? Sleep can be disturbed by simple things such as a scratchy label or a wet nappy that can feel cold during the night. Rules out any small disturbances that could be leading to unsettled sleep.
Rule out any disturbances. Noises around the house or from outside, light coming in during the early hours, noise of the boiler clicking on and pets or older children are all common things that can disturb our little ones when they are sleeping. Simple changes such as black out blinds, or trying white noise, can help reduce external disturbances.
Hunger. There is no set age that baby’s drop milk feeds and some baby’s will feed at night for much longer than others, so don’t feel pressure to drop feeds if your little one is waking up hungry.
Food and screen time: What we eat and how we use screens can all impact on sleep. Sugar, caffeine and artificial additives can all contribute to disturbed sleep. TV, phone and tablet screens can also have a negative impact, so try avoiding these in the couple of hours before bed to see if this helps (this goes for us adults too!)
Exercise and fresh air: Daily exercise, fresh air and plenty of natural daylight are beneficial to all our sleep. Get your little one outside and moving as much as you can. For young babies this might just be very short amounts of tummy time. If the weather is terrible and it is hard to get outside to burn off energy, you can dance, sing, jump around and have some silly play at home to let off some steam.
Medical concerns: There are some common medical conditions, such as allergies, reflux, digestive issues, eczema and tongue ties which can impact sleep. If you have concerns about any medical conditions then speak with your health care provider for support.
Want more support with your child’s sleep?
If you would like to learn more about sleep and have guidance on how you can approach achieving a predictable routine and well-rested night’s sleep then check out our online courses.
Available from newborn to 4 years old, our courses are designed to help you learn how you can support your child to sleep better.
We share all the information you need to help you really understand your little one’s sleep and how to help them achieve more predictable naps and restful nights – all from your own computer, phone or tablet whenever it suits you.
Early Days & Foundations of Sleep: 0-5 Months
This course will teach you how you can work towards great sleep habits, without ‘sleep training.’ It provides gentle solutions for settling and works towards the end goal of a settled night’s sleep, whilst understanding and responding to your baby’s needs.
Sleep Success: 6-9 Months
This course covers a range of topics including the science of sleep, sleep associations, creating a great sleep environment, a suggested daily routine and a choice of settling methods including how to make gradual changes. The course will lead you through step by step how to create your own sleep plan to support your baby to sleep in their own sleep space.
Sleep Success: 10-18 Months
This course covers a range of topics including the science of sleep, sleep associations, creating a great sleep environment, a suggested daily routine, the transition from two naps to one and a choice of settling methods including how to make gradual changes. The course will lead you through step by step how to create your own sleep plan to support your baby to sleep in their own sleep space.
Sleep Success: 1.5 – 4 years
This course which covers a range of topics including the science of sleep, sleep associations, creating a great sleep environment, potential sleep disturbances in this age group, a suggested daily routine, the transition from cot to bed, dropping the daytime nap, early waking and a choice of settling methods including how to make gradual changes. The course will lead you through step by step how to create your own sleep plan.