1. Light: Light stimulates a baby’s eyes to tell them it’s time to wake up. Try using blackout blinds on the windows and rolled up towel or blanket placed outside the foot of your baby’s door to block out any light streaming in. Make sure no visible lights are coming from your electrical appliances, such as the baby monitor, and cover any lights, which could disturb your little ones, sleep.
2. Noise: just like us, surrounding noise can disturb a little one’s sleep. Use White Noise or Alpha White Noise to mask your everyday household sounds which could disturb your little one from sleep. White Noise is repetitive and calming, often mimicking sounds of the womb, which can be incredibly soothing and help babies stay asleep for longer.
3. Hunger: Feeding your baby before sleep ensures her tummy is full and that she won’t wake out of hunger, it also helps your baby become sleepy and therefore go down to sleep more readily.
4. Awake time: Often a baby’s awake time and routine change so fast it’s sometimes hard to keep up. Be aware that you are not putting your baby down too soon for both naptime and bedtime.
5. Overtired: Equally, watch that you are not keeping your baby awake for too long either and that your baby is not becoming overtired making it harder for her to fall asleep. When babies become overtired their bodies secrete Cortisol, (the stress hormone) to keep them awake. Cortisol inhibits Melatonin (the sleepy hormone), you can see how these two don’t go very well together.
6. Sleep breeds sleep:
Daytime sleep is so important and works hand-in-hand with nighttime sleep: the better the daytime sleep, the better the nighttime sleep. If your little one doesn’t get enough sleep during the day or has a poor quality of sleep during the day, it can greatly affect their nighttime sleep.
Naps are so important and without them, you may find your child grumpy, irritable, overtired, wired, possibly hyperactive and clingy. When this happens, you may find bedtime to be a struggle, or you may find that your little one wakes up often because she is overtired and will find it difficult to fall into a deep, relaxing sleep.
7. Baby is experiencing pain or discomfort: Look into reflux, silent reflux, allergies and intolerances and get your baby the care and necessary attention they need to help relieve their symptoms and discomfort. Often eczema is food related and may be an indication of an allergy or intolerance.
8. Baby isn’t sleeping comfortably: Invest in a high-quality mattress and linen. Jerry Cheshire, a Bed Specialist, recommends using a good quality foam mattress. (Don’t forget to cover with a waterproof mattress protector to protect the mattress.) Use 100% organic cotton/bamboo cot sheets. Dress baby in 100% pure cotton and cut off all labels that could irritate your little one’s skin.
9. Temperature: Make sure to dress your baby appropriately for the temperature of his room and to use the correct tog sleeping bag. A baby, who is too hot or too cold, will understandably not sleep very well. (The ideal temperature for your baby’s room is 18-20’C).
Switch off the heating in your baby’s room. A cool room will help your baby produce melatonin. A room that is too warm will inhibit sleep. It’s better to keep your little one’s room cooler and dress your baby warmer than keep your baby’s room warm and dress him lighter.
10. Lullaby: Use a song or lullaby as a sound association which signals to your little one that it’s sleep time. Use the same song every single day. Use it at bedtime too. The music should play all the way through preparing your baby for bedtime and naptime.
11. Overstimulation: Life is super exciting for little ones, and they need a chance to be able to transition from awake to sleep. You can’t just expect them to go down for their nap or at bedtime without any pre-warning. Take it down a notch by establishing a naptime and bedtime routine, allowing your little one some time to help him calm and relax before sleep.
12. Developmental: If you come across a patch where sleep seems hard where it previously wasn’t, know that your little one is probably going through a developmental leap or experiencing separation anxiety. During times like these, know it will pass, hang in there, give your baby the love and reassurance they need and make sure you factor in self-care for yourself, as times like these can be particularly demanding.