With winter closing in and bringing with it shorter days and colder nights, many parents will be struggling to re-adjust their children’s sleeping habits to such a drastic change in climate.
Eager to help parents regain some semblance of a sleep schedule over the festive season, we spoke with TheDozyOwl.co.uk and their team exclusively spoke to Lisa Lewis, a certified Sleep Consultant for five expert tips on how to aid your baby in getting a good night’s sleep this winter.
1. THE 5 Bs:
The 5 Bs are ‘sleep cues’ that will help the baby start remembering what needs to happen come the evening time. A strict routine will help them unwind and relax.
Try to always leave bathing your baby until the end of the day. After coming out of a warm bath, their body temperature will begin to cool which promotes tiredness and a deeper sleep. Once your baby is used to their routine, this first step will signal that it is time to wind down, assisting the following steps.
Once your baby is in the bedroom, ideally, they stay there, helping them understand that this is now the place they stay for the night. Make their room a relaxing, quiet, and dark space to avoid any stimulation before bed. The temperature of a bedroom is key during the colder months. A room too warm will prevent your child’s core body temperature from decreasing in order to sleep, and too cold a room could act as a stimulant, counteracting the effects of their warm bath. To ensure that the room has comfortable temperature even during winter, your home’s heating system should receive Preventative HVAC Maintenance annually. If your furnace stops working, contact a furnace repair or furnace installation contractor at once.
Babies/children are never too young for books! Hearing the soothing voice of their primary care givers will make your baby feel safe and calm, evoking sleep. If consistent in their bedtime routine a baby will normally drift off as you read.
Whether you bottle or breast feed, try to be in a comfortable seated position whilst feeding to prevent you from shuffling and disturbing their slumber. This is another lovely calming time of their day. Not only does having a warm drink before bed make your baby drowsy, but this will prevent them from waking up hungry later in the night.
Ideally, always put your baby into their bed or cot when they are sleepy and not in a deep sleep. This will prevent them being startled and teach them to self-settle.
2. PINK NOISE:
You may be familiar with white noise (washing machine, hair dryer etc.), but the pink version is a softer one that better promotes sleep.
‘Coloured’ noises are known to be powerful sleep aids. Pink noise has lower sound frequencies and therefore is more pleasing to the ear than the harsh tones of white noise. Examples of pink noise are: rustling of leaves, ocean waves, rainfall and heartbeats. These mimic sounds heard in the womb to a greater extent than white-noise, making your baby feel safe and comforted. Several studies on pink noise have even shown if played when sleeping, this can also improve short and long-term memory.
3. YOUR SMELL:
Many studies have shown that babies are attached to the smell of their primary giver. Leaving an item of clothing with your smell near your baby will offer great comfort and help them fall back to sleep if they wake during the night. However, be careful of its proximity to your baby and do not leave it loose in their crib. Have it tied tightly to one of the cot railings out of arms reach.
4. THE 5am CALL:
5am is when our body temperature is at its lowest in a 24-hour day. This is why many babies wake early and cannot get back to sleep. You could pre-empt this by adding an additional blanket later in the night or having your heating set to turn on just before this time.
5. LET’S do GO OUTSIDE:
Swedish research has claimed that babies who are put out to sleep in the garden/outdoor space between the hours of 12-4pm sleep much better at night. It doesn’t matter too much about the cold weather, wrap them up as warm as can be and leave them outside to get some fresh air into their lungs.