Sometimes it can be very difficult to get your baby or child to fall asleep at night. Here are some tips for sleep training and maintaining steady sleep schedules for children.
The reason a baby finds it hard to sleep at night is because their circadian rhythm, or sleep-wake cycle, is not yet fully developed. This usually happens at around six months of age for most babies.
Once that sleep-wake cycle does develop, getting your baby to sleep has a lot to do with a bedtime schedule and routine. There are so many tips and tricks to setting and maintaining the ideal sleep schedule for your baby that is stable and allows enough sleep for your child at night. The method you end up choosing for this depends fully on how it works for you and your baby. The key is then to stay consistent with your scheduling.
One sleep training tip is to put your child to bed when he or she is already drowsy but not yet asleep. This will help your child learn to fall asleep on their own, rather than needing a parent's help falling asleep every night before bed. This concept is called self-soothing and is especially helpful for when the baby wakes up in the middle of the night as they will know how to fall back asleep on their own.
Another helpful sleep training tip is to create a relaxing routine before bedtime. This could include dimming the lights, giving your child a warm bath, or story time. It should not include screen time from TV or other electronics. The light from the screens on those devices can actually stimulate the brain and encourage wakefulness. You can also create a quiet area around the child before bedtime and lower the temperature as well - a cool room is ideal for a good night's sleep!
Finally, be a good role model. Parents who set rules around sleep have children that not only sleep more but have better sleep quality as well.
This video is part of an ongoing series HealthiNation has created in partnership with the experts at the National Sleep Foundation, www.sleepfoundation.org.