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Improving Sleep for Babies

improve sleep for babies

Sleep is essential for anyone and everyone in order to maintain a consistently healthy state of mind and body. To a lot of adults, troubles related to sleep and sleeping is a very familiar concept; but it is not only exclusive to adults. Kids, just like their adult counterparts can have trouble sleeping, and when they are not able to sleep, you won’t be able to sleep either!

Some newborn babies sleep more than others. Some sleep for long periods at a stretch, others in short bursts. Some sleep through the night; some don’t for a long period. Babies have their own patterns for waking and sleeping. It more often than not, does not fit in with the parents’ patterns of sleeping.

Bedtime can become a source of major conflict in your household if your little ones are having trouble settling in and falling asleep. But not all hope is lost and there are a diverse range of options at your disposal that will help you tip the odds in your favor!

  1. Set an Individualized & Consistent Bedtime: School-going children require an average of 9 to 11 hours of sleep a night, according to the US National Sleep Foundation. But it’s never that simple! There are many variables related to sleep patterns and needs. But once a consistent pattern has set in, it will take a lot to change it, since the sleep patterns of most children do not change much.
  • Early risers will remain early risers and night owls will remain night owls. It will take a lot to break this fixed cycle. This makes it all the more important that parents work with their children when setting a proper and responsible bed time for their children; one that allows them to get a healthy amount of sleep.
  1. Have a Fixed Time to Wake Up: In relation to the point prior, set a fixed and consistent time that your child should wake up on depending on the amount of sleep they need. Dr. Woods, a pediatrician at Baltimore, Maryland recommends that parents create and instill a wake-up routine as early as the child’s pre-school years to help prevent stressful situations for both, the parents and their children later down the road.
have fixed time to wake up
  1. Turn Off Screens a Couple of Hours Before Bedtime: Melatonin is a hormone in the body that plays a role in sleep. Melatonin is a very important part of sleep-wake cycles. When one’s melatonin levels are at their highest, that is when people are sleepy and ready to go to bed. However, certain researches carried out in 2011 found that the blue light that is emitted in droves from TV screens, phone screens and computer monitors have the capability and potential of interfering with the production of one’s melatonin hormones.
  • Watching TV, using the computer or phone, playing video games just prior to going to bed can keep your child up and awake for an additional 30 to 60 minutes, as per a research carried out in 2017. Possibly make their bedroom a zone that is free of screens and try to avoid using your phones when in their room; especially during bedtime.
  1. Avoid Stress Prior to and During Bedtime: Another hormone that plays an essential role in an individual’s sleep is Cortisol; otherwise referred to as the “Stress Hormone.” When your child’s Cortisol levels are high, they will be unable to shut their body down and go to sleep. Sing soft lullabies, talk in a soft tone. Every baby is soothed by the mother’s familiar voice. Hence, try to keep the activities prior to bedtime, simple, stress-free and calm.
  1. Provide and Create a Sleep-Inducing Environment: A set of soft sheets and shades that will darken the room, and a quiet space will create a massive difference in experience between the day and night environments. This makes it easier for them to differentiate, and thus, fall asleep!
sleep inducing environment
  1. Help Relieve their Fears: There may not be scary ghosts and monsters lurking beneath their bed, behind the door or anywhere else in their room. But instead of simply dismissing and ignoring their fears, help them understand the reality of the situation. Address them with your child. If reassurance does not do the trick, try using a toy that is close and special to them to put them at ease and comfort.
  1. Lookout for Sleep Disorders: There may be times when your best laid out and thought out plans do not yield the desired results. This a very natural and almost the only consistent aspect of parenthood. And if your child is having persisting troubles falling asleep, whether it be nightmares, snores, etc. they may have a sleep disorder. In this case, you ought not waste any time in consulting a pediatrician concerning your child’s sleeping habits. They are the best equipped to diagnose where the issue lies, and will be able to provide appropriate measures to deal with it.
  • Be prepared to change routines as your baby grows and enters different stages. Keep books for babies around. Make it a practice to read aloud children’s stories from baby books a little around the baby’s sleeping time. Once you tuck your baby into bed, read aloud bedtime story books as a routine; ideally stories having good moral values. This practice has always worked wonderfully well.
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