Sleep is incredibly important for a baby’s physical and mental development. It’s also incredibly important for parents, who need enough sleep to keep themselves energized and mentally prepared for taking care of their baby, themselves, as well as going about everyday tasks like working and chores. But as any parent can tell you, it’s not always easy to get a baby to sleep through the night which can spell havoc for their parents. If you want to know how to give your baby a better night’s sleep, consider the following essential tips.
Create a peaceful sleep-only zone:
Babies and adults, for that matter sleep better when they have a peaceful area that is designated as a sleep zone. For your baby, this means you’ll need a room or area that is the night time “sleep zone” only. This means that if your baby co-sleeps in your bedroom, you need to keep the lights dimmed, the TV and electronics off, and otherwise create a peaceful, quiet and dark environment for your baby to sleep soundly.
Create a routine with verbal, visual and physical cues:
Routines are essential for a baby to have a good night’s sleep. You should create a routine that has multiple kinds of cues, as this will help your baby’s body gradually begin the process of preparing for a night-time sleep cycle. Common cues include: dimming the lights and/or closing the blinds about 20 minutes before bed-time, reading a bed-time story before putting your baby down to sleep, singing a lullaby, and so on. It’s essential that you stick to this routine every night and that anyone who will be putting the baby down for a night-time sleep does the same routine.
Don’t let them nap in dark rooms:
Many parents put their baby down for naps in their bedrooms with the lights off and curtains closed, but this actually causes the baby to sleep less soundly at night and can cause repeated awakenings at night. The reason for this is that your baby’s body will associate sleeping in a dark room with their naps, which are lighter sleep cycles that last for shorter periods of time. You should always have your baby nap in a well-lit room, so they only associate a dark room with sleeping for a longer period through the night.
Keep the light low leading up to bedtime:
Light, as you may have already realized, plays a huge role in getting your baby to have a good night’s sleep. It’s important that you dim the lights in your house as much as possible leading up to your baby’s bedtime, so that your baby becomes gradually ready for night time sleep, rather than going from a bright kitchen into their dark bedroom. This can be confusing and even startling, and is less likely to result in a calm, peaceful night’s sleep. If you don’t have lights that naturally dim, you should consider purchasing a dimmer for the common areas that your baby will be in leading up to their bed time.
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