We know we’re preaching to the choir when we say sleep really is a parent’s best friend. Let’s be real, the all too common “exhausted parent” look is something every parent is familiar with. In fact, a recent independent study uncovered that the average parent sleeps 59% less than the recommended eight hours of sleep per night in the first 12 months of a child’s life. If you add all of those lost hours up, the total comes out to 50 sleepless nights in the first year alone. I don’t know about you, but I just got tired even thinking about that.
Luckily, with the New Year just around the corner, there’s no better time to hop on the sleep bandwagon by setting some goals, and making some plans for your little one so you can win back that much needed sleep. If you don’t know where to start, sleep easy (see what I did there 😉) because we’ve got you covered.
Here are 7 easy tips you need to steal that will help make this next year the rest one yet (I’m really on a roll here):
1. Find a recommended sleep schedule that works
Chances are you’ve probably searched for this exact thing on Google once or twice, and we don’t blame you. Babies sleep patterns are always changing based upon their age. Remember, the best thing you can do is stay consistent and follow a schedule the best you can.
If you currently don’t have a schedule to follow, you’re in luck. We rallied together with our team of sleep experts and created these proven sleep schedules you can follow:
2. Don’t. Let. Baby. Overnap.
We’ve all been there before and it’s tempting, but extended naps are not the answer. Nap time is extremely important, but as much as we love it, we have to make sure our little one’s aren’t catching too many zzz’s during the day time. Sleeping too much during the day can actually be counterproductive. 🤚 Raise your hand if this sounds like your baby:
🤭 Consistently has frequent night wakings
💤 Is sleeping more than the recommended amount for their age
😴 Nap scheduled has remained exactly the same with age
If this sounds like your baby, consider following these guidelines for the amount of daytime sleep your little one should get:
- 3-4 Months → 5 Hours
- 5-7 Months → 4 Hours
- 7-9 Months → 3.5 Hours
- 10-24 Months → 3 hours
3. Utilize a proven sleep training course
One thing we’ve learned from helping literally millions of families is that every baby is unique. The way babies grow, progress and develop is all unique to them. One of the best ways to develop good sleep learning habits for your baby is through an effective sleep training program. There are numerous studies that show sleep training is a safe and effective way to develop your baby’s sleep habits with no long-term effects on their health.
If you and your baby are struggling to get good sleep on a consistent basis, we’d highly recommend exploring Dream Lab by Owlet, our proven sleep training program. We teamed up with world class pediatric sleep consultants to create a fully online and personalized step-by-step sleep training course.
Here’s what’s included with Dream Lab:
- In-depth sleep assessment
- Personalized sleep schedule & auto-adjusting daily guide
- Live support from sleep experts
- Educational videos & tutorials
It’s so effective, we guarantee results in as few as 7 days or your money back. Use code: SLEEP50 at checkout for $50 off, offer ends 01/07/2020.
4. Pay attention to Baby’s wake windows
“Wear your baby out before bedtime and then they’ll fall asleep without a problem!” We’ve all heard it before, but does having an overtired baby actually make them sleep better and longer? Believe it or not, it can actually do the complete opposite. If a baby is overtired, it can increase the chances of night wakings or early morning wakings.
Of course we want our babies to have active awake times, but with everything, there needs to be balance. If you’re unsure if your baby is getting the right amount of awake time, we recommend you take a look at Baby’s wake windows (especially right before bedtime).
Here’s a list of average awake times that you can follow before bedtime based upon age:
- 4-12 Weeks: 75 – 90 Minutes
- 3-4 Months: 90 – 120 Minutes
- 5-6 Months: 2.5 – 3 Hours
- 7-12 Months: 3 – 4 Hours
- 12-24 Months: 4 – 5 Hours
**Keep in mind, every baby is different so it’s important you pay attention to what works best for your little one and stick with it.
5. Wind-down routines to the rescue
Routines are essential for people of all ages, but especially for our little ones. Having a wind-down routine before naps or bedtime will give Baby a sense of security and stability. As you stay consistent with your routines, your baby will slowly gain an understanding of what’s happening which will help them get into a rhythm. On top of that, it’s one of the easiest things to implement that will promote good, long-term sleep habits.
When it comes to the length of wind-down routines, our sleep experts recommend keeping it between 15-30 minutes.
Here’s a list of proven activities that you can easily incorporate into your little one’s wind-down routine (feel free to choose any that work best):
- Bath time
- Putting on a diaper and PJ’s
- Drawing the blinds
- Turning on white noise
- Playing music
- Reading a book
- Saying goodnight to things in the room
6. Active sleep, ever heard of it?
Let’s be real, nobody is a perfect sleeper. We all go through different cycles when we sleep. For adults, when we’re in a light stage of sleep during our sleep cycles, we’re in something called R.E.M. sleep. During R.E.M. sleep, we experience rapid eye movements, more dreaming and bodily movement, and faster pulse and breathing.
Babies on the other hand don’t experience R.E.M. sleep, they experience something called “active sleep.” During active sleep times, your little one may lightly cry, move around, grunt, fight their swaddle and so much more.
Now if you read anything here, read this: just because your baby is in active sleep, doesn’t mean that they’re fully awake. If Baby is showing signs of active sleep, fight the urge to immediately intervene because you may actually fully wake them from their sleep.
So how long should you wait before intervening? Everyone is different based on their comfort level. Younger babies tend to have shorter active sleep cycles, so maybe wait 45-60 seconds to see if it passes. Older babies tend to have longer ones, so maybe consider waiting 3-5 minutes before jumping in. Every baby and every parent is different, so at the end of the day, we recommend doing what works best for you.
7. Sleep environment is critical
Last but not least, let’s help you create the ideal “baby cave.” Creating a safe and comfortable sleep environment is essential in order to promote quality sleep.
Here are 3 critical components that can make or break a safe and healthy sleep environment:
If at all possible, we want to aim to have Baby’s room temperature to be between 68-72 degrees. If the room temperature is too hot or too cold, your little one will waste energy trying to regulate, making it difficult for them to fall or stay asleep.
2. Darkness Level
A dark room will literally change the game for a baby’s sleep. Darkness signals to a baby that it’s time for rest. This is critical for the overall quality your baby receives.
So how dark should their room really be? Our sleep experts recommend as dark as possible. If this is difficult because of a window, maybe even consider investing in blackout curtains or shades.
It can be extremely difficult (sometimes impossible) to shield noises from your little one’s room. Even though it can be difficult to control the noises outside the room, we can definitely control the noise inside the room.
To regulate the sound inside of your little one’s room, our experts recommend investing in a white noise machine. To keep the noise level safe, keep it between 50-60 dB.
If 2020 has been a tough sleeping year for you, let Owlet help turn the page for you as you head into 2021. Introducing these sleep tips will surely help your little one get on track to become a better sleeper. If you’d like even more help, feel free to check out our blog for helpful tips or gain access to a personalized sleep plan for your little one by using Dream Lab.