Sleep. It’s so elusive and yet so important for sanity. I swear the hardest thing about being a mom is the lack of sleep and then the need to do ALL THE THINGS on so little sleep. But I have been fortunate in that I birth pretty good sleepers and have gotten to try and discover some pretty great products to help us out as well. So I thought I’d share some of my tricks, tips, and favorite products in case they help you too.
Sleep tips for everyone:
- White noise. If you don’t have a fan running, a white noise app playing, or a sound machine raining in both your and your kids’ rooms, you have to start. My husband and I use a table fan to drown out minor noises while still allowing us to hear any emergency sounds and our kids on the monitor. My kids both have at least two white noise machine combinations going on in their rooms anytime they are sleeping. It makes a world of difference.
- Darken your rooms. Everyone sleeps better when the room is as dark as possible. While your kid may like a nightlight, once they are actually asleep they will sleep longer and better if no sunlight gets in alerting them that the sun is out, it is no longer night, etc. Mine do, anyways.
- Keep rooms on the cooler side. Both of my kids sleep better when the rooms are between 66 and 68 degrees, rather than into the 70s. We live in Southern California and don’t have central AC, so we put window units in both of our boys’ rooms and they sleep SO much better because of it.
- Be consistent with bedtimes and bedtime routines. While it is hard to always get them to bed on time, being consistent is key. Sure, you can keep them up later for a special occasion. But most kids thrive on a set bedtime, and it is often better earlier than you would think. Both of my kids are in bed between 7:00 and 7:30, and they sleep almost twelve hours a night and take naps on most days. Sleep begets sleep. And I find that a bath, book, bed routine works well for us (although I do bath, book, nurse, bed for baby).
- Sleep training and not co-sleeping. I know people are going to yell at me about this, but I’m just sharing my experience. (Many of you might be totally happy and rested co-sleeping, and if that is working for you, you don’t need these tips anyway.) I have sleep trained both of my kids in some form (although I do truly believe I was blessed with naturally good sleepers), and it has worked wonders for us. I think every child needs help learning to sleep in some form. For many, sleep training (sometimes involving letting them cry it out a little) does work. Additionally, I have never co-slept with either of my kids. They sleep in their own beds. While I would absolutely love to cuddle and sleep with them, I think I’m doing us all a better service by allowing them their own space to sleep, and giving my husband and myself our own sleep space as well.
- Incorporate lavender into your bedtime routine, whether it is by using an all-natural lavender bath product, putting lavender essential oils in a special diffuser, or giving a light massage with a baby oil or lotion containing lavender.
Aside from the general tips above, there are a couple of products that have been really great in helping my kids sleep well that I thought I would also share.
Sleep tips for babies:
For babies that are swaddle age, I cannot recommend the Ollie World swaddle enough.
It is the only swaddle my baby could not bust out of, and it kept him feeling cozy and secure. It is also ridiculously easy to use. I have recommended it to all of the expecting parents I know since I discovered it. I also really loved the Ergobaby Swaddlers, and sometimes layered the two to contain my super strong baby (Ergobaby swaddle on first, then the Ollie World swaddle on top — it was bust-proof!) Don’t waste your time trying to swaddle your baby in a swaddle blanket for night sleep — it’s great for naps and when they’re just chilling, but they always bust out at night. And there are other swaddlers that have a velcro type fastener, but I have found that they don’t really work (which is probably why they are cheaper). Don’t waste your money – just invest in the good stuff and it’s the only thing you’ll need to buy.
And when you’re transitioning out of the swaddle, we had some luck with the Magic Sleep Suit.
Sleep tips for young kids:
And for toddlers and preschoolers I have to recommend the It’s About Time Stoplight Clock. We got this when my son was still in his crib, but we knew we would be transitioning him to a big boy bed soon (he was not quite three years old). He is now almost five and still uses it and follows it.
You can program the light to be red when they need to stay in bed and sleep, and when the light turns green it means they can wake up. My son took to it right away, and while he sometimes calls out to wake up before the green light comes on, he almost always sleeps until green for both nap and night sleep. It’s brilliant.
I also share sleep tips on Instagram as my kids transition to new sleep phases or when I find a new miracle product I love, so feel free to follow along for addendums to these tips.
Have a great sleep tip or miracle product that has worked for you? Share in the comments. I might need something new for baby #3!
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