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Tips on Getting Your Baby To Sleep Longer At Night

6 Different Ways to Get Your Baby to Sleep Longer Throughout the Night

Sleep is something that’s essential for a majority of every living thing on this planet. Sleep is vital for your body and mind. It allows your body to recover from the toll of the day to day experiences of life. Sleep also allows you to replenish your energy, and promotes healthy development in all humans. However, getting your baby to actually go to sleep is a whole different story, and might not be as easy as you hoped or planned.

Any house that has a baby knows that if the baby isn’t sleeping, there’s a really good chance that nobody else is either! Plus, nobody likes losing their sleep, and being sleep deprived can lead to a whole plethora of behavioral, physical, and mental issues. Let’s face it, just about everyone is cranky when they don’t get the sleep that they truly and so desperately need.

Getting Your Baby to Sleep Longer Throughout the Night Is NOT as Difficult as You Imagine!

If you can pull off getting your baby to sleep, not only will it help benefit immensely, but it’ll also keep everyone else in your household happy and well-rested. Remember, if you have more than one child, then you need to also let them get as much sleep as possible so that they can grow and develop in the best possible way too. Your own abilities such as working, focusing, critical thinking, and caring for your baby, are highly impacted by the quality of your sleep.

However, getting a baby to sleep through the night isn’t as difficult as you might have imagined. Here are some effective tips for getting your baby to sleep longer throughout each night.

Circadian Rhythm

For just about everything in life, science is there to give us an explanation of why things are the way they are. The same is true for why people sleep in the way that they do. Once I had a better idea of sleep cycles and the way that adults and babies differ, I finally understood why it was so difficult to get my baby sleep schedule under-wraps.

The entire concept of 24 hours a day – which we are also familiar with, is what “circadian rhythm” refers to. Another interesting fact is that almost every living thing has their own circadian rhythm that they rely on for things such as eating, sleeping, and other important aspects of their life. Circadian rhythm is responsible for so many absolutely imperative aspects of us, such as hormone production, cell regeneration, brain development, brainwave activity, and so much more. For a majority of people, this pattern is largely shaped based on external factors such as how dark it is and the amount of daylight in their environment. That’s why during the day, we’re supposed to be active and alert – but at night we’re supposed to hit the hay and head off to sleep.

Even though we are all born with the basic needs of sleeping, a baby’s circadian rhythm is much different from even a child. As you could guess, adults are much different than both children and babies. Because babies spend the first nine months of their life in almost total darkness in their mother’s womb, things like day and night are foreign concepts to them.

Babies are still adjusting to the world that’s growing right before their eyes. Interestingly enough, it can take roughly 3 to 6 months to establish a pattern that is well-suited with a bedtime at night. For my daughter, it felt like an eternity. Even though my daughter is about 12 months old and she seems to sleep through the night with little to no problems, she still has those nights where she is constantly waking up and I can’t seem to get her back to sleep.

Sleep is such an overlooked, yet absolutely 100% vital portion of our lives. Prioritizing sleep – it’s an indirect way to improve the quality of your life, as well as your baby’s life. Sleep provides them with the opportunity to experience the best possible development. This early time in your little one’s life is so important in the grand scheme of their soon-to-be lives. Sleep deprivation can lead to several severe issues such as: affecting eye development, can lead to severe depression in adults, increased anxiety, etc. the list goes on and on.

Just How Much Sleep Does My Baby Need Exactly?

Now that you have a basic understanding of how circadian rhythms work and a general overview of the importance of sleep, let’s move on to explain specifically why babies are unique. Babies and even children alike both need more sleep than adults do. You might be asking why exactly is that true? The main reason is that they are still experiencing rapid growing and developmental changes. In order to capitalize and ensure the maximum growth and development for your baby, you need to make sure that they’re getting the correct amount of sleep required, as experts recommend based on their age.

From birth until four months old, your baby should get roughly 16 to 18 hours of sleep each day. It’s recommended that night time should allow for at least 8 to 9 hours, while the rest of the allotted sleep should be split up for the remainder of the daytime naps.

From about 4 to 12 months old, the amount of sleep that they should get changes to roughly 12 to 16 hours instead. Nighttime sleep should still be about 9 to 10 hours, with the rest of the time being split between naps once again.

Are you seeing the pattern yet? The time that they need to sleep gradually decreases as they get older. Between 1 to 2 years old, your baby should be sleeping about 11 to 14 hours each day. At night, aim for your baby to get at least 11 hours of sleep or close to it. Once again, naps should be able to make up the remainder of the time that they might not have reached during nighttime sleep.

Factors That Impact Your Babies Ability to Sleep for Prolonged Periods of Time

NREM, also known as non-rapid eye movement, as well as REM (rapid eye movement) cycles, are also very important and factor into your baby’s ability to sleep. For adults, in the event that we get interrupted from our sleep – whether it be a sleep cycle, or just a loud noise, typically we’ll be able to fall right back to sleep. The same isn’t true for babies.

Teething, which is another part of your baby’s developmental cycle, can also cause sleep interruptions that wake them up during the night due to pain.

In addition to all of these seemingly endless natural occurrences that affect sleep, external activities, and other factors also can contribute to sleep interruptions. Anything from inconsistent feedings or bedtime routines/schedules, to environmental factors, and so on, could all be things that could possibly be waking up your baby.

6 Different Ways You Can Help Your Baby Get to Sleep

Even though the first few weeks with your baby can be painstakingly difficult, babies can actually begin to start forming habits beginning as early as six weeks old. Despite whichever tip you do decide to use, remember how important it is to be as consistent with your routines and schedules as you possibly can. Consistency is the key to getting your baby to form healthy habits which will benefit them and their sleep.

  1. Establishing Day And Night Time Routines – In order to help your baby create an internal schedule that is effective for them, you absolutely need to establish routines for them. During the daytime, create a lively environment for them that can help raise and encourage alertness through exposure to things like noise, plenty of daylight, and activities that help promote wakefulness such as playing with them. However, when nighttime starts to approach, try to create in opposite environment for them that is calm, soothing, less active, and less engaging both physically and mentally. By doing so, you’ll help your baby associate daytime with being active and nighttime with being tired and sleeping.
  2. Adjusting Feeding Routines – Just like the previous point of importance regarding day and night time routines, you can also use feeding routines to your advantage to help shape your baby’s internal clock more effectively. Another great success that parents have had is “cluster feeding” which is very useful for preventing your baby from waking up and being hungry in the middle of the night. Cluster feeding is most effective once your baby starts to sleep for periods longer than three hours at a time.
  3. Creating Independent Sleeping Habits for Your Baby – Even though we just covered cluster feeding, this method might not be as universal for every baby. For some, it might even have negative effects such as requiring your baby to eat before bed. This is obviously not ideal for anyone. The reason behind this is that it creates a dependency in the habit, which will eventually cause long-term problems due to them associating eating with sleeping. So, in the event that they try to go to sleep but aren’t completely full, they wake up. The best thing you could do in this situation is help them learn how to self-soothe, so that you can hopefully lay them in their crib when they are still awake, but sleepy, and hope that they’ll eventually learn how to get to sleep on their own. By not relying on an external factors such as food, or you rocking them to sleep, they’ll be able to learn how to sleep by themselves and stay asleep throughout the night. What you can do instead rather, is spend as much time with them throughout the day so that they know you care about them is much as possible. When night comes, that’s when they need to learn how to sleep on their own. Although it’s a difficult process to learn for both them and you, the rewards are so worth it for everyone in your house.
  4. Creating Simple, Short, And Effective Bedtime Routines – This is a great tip because it can benefit both you and your baby greatly. Try to keep your routine roughly around half an hour or less. Some things you can do are very simple such as turning off the TV, closing the blinds, giving your baby a short bath, and putting on their pajamas. You can also try to sing to them or read them a story. By creating an environment that welcomes sleep for them, you’ll be helping create the ideal routine that your baby can associate with going to sleep to.
  5. Using White Noise – White noise is a great, cheap, and effective tool to help prevent your baby from waking up. My daughter seems to wake up from just about every single little sound she hears. Even with me trying to be as quiet as a mouse throughout the house, she still wakes up sometimes. White noise is great because it masks sounds, as well as helps your baby focus on the sound of white noise which will keep them asleep and hopefully help them stay asleep for longer. It’s worth checking out white noise machines such as the Baby Shusher which is a great way to block out noises that could potentially wake up your sleeping baby.
  6. Teething – If nothing seems to be working, you can try medication. Your pediatrician should have great insight on the subject. Try to keep the timeline of your baby teething in a journal so that you can learn what to expect, and how long it’ll last. Your pediatrician might recommend Tylenol or Ibuprofen for your baby. As long as you follow the recommended dosage, it should help them at least somewhat until they are through this difficult phase.

Try Using A Smart Sleep

I’m sure many of you ever heard of this before. If you haven’t, it’s a high tech, smart bassinet that can detect if your baby is crying or not. In the event that your baby’s crying and needs to go back to sleep, the Snoo Smart Sleeper will vibrate and play white noise for your baby which can both help put them back to sleep in a safe and effective manner.

Even celebrities such as Ashton Kutcher and his wife Mila Kunis think the Snoo is wonderful! Even Beyoncé and Jay-Z have used it in their homes. You can even rent this if you want to give it a test run, which I think is a great idea. You can buy it from Amazon, or you can rent it here.

Nothing Working? Speak with An Expert

The only person who knows your baby better than anyone is you (and your SO/other caretakers). If you’ve tried everything in the book, and are ready to give up, then you might want to get your baby to the pediatrician so they can rule out any external factors such as an illness or even infection. Things such as high fevers, infections, and several other health issues might be the culprit for your baby. Plus, they can be serious to infants due to their undeveloped immune system. Pediatricians are very knowledgeable on the subject, it’s their job to be! So, don’t be afraid to ask as many questions as you have. They can examine your baby’s health, and rule out illnesses that you were not able to find or realize existed. Plus, they might be able to provide you with some tips that might help your baby sleep and stay asleep longer. They are a wonderful resource and their main job is to make sure your baby is as healthy as possible.

About the Author Elizabeth

Hi everyone, I'm Elizabeth. My beautiful daughter Alice keeps me awake occasionally...but when I'm busy and can't sleep, I post parenting tips and different ways you can get your baby to sleep soundly through the night, and even naps!

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