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Top 10 Tips To Get Baby To Sleep

We know the basics: early bedtimes, soothing music, getting junior to settle himself to sleep. But many of our kids still struggle with sleep problems. Perhaps try a scientific approach. Trick her body into producing sleep hormones, or providing it with proteins that promote sleep, may work better than any gadget or lullaby.

Here are a few methods you might never have heard about.

1. Get Rid of the Blues

Your phone, TV and computer all emit a blue light reminiscent of daylight, and the more your child looks at it, the more her body will respond as if it’s daytime. Some tablets and smart phones have apps that filter out blue lights, and computers can be fitted with a screen that does the same thing. Also be sure that any night lights have a red glow, not green, white, or blue.

2. Make a Bat Cave

“Why do you think bats congregate in caves for their daytime sleep?” asks the Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School. If your child is going to sleep before deep dark night descends, he might not be secreting the hormones that tell him it’s time to sleep. Try dimming the lights one full hour before bedtime, and use heavy blackout curtains once in the room. Some experts even suggest putting on sunglasses as bedtime approaches…if you can get them to wear them.

3. Rise with the Roosters

Good sleep is not just about how long you’re out. It’s also about your circadian rhythms, the internal clock that tells your body when it’s time to rise and time to rest. One way to reset that clock is to rise with the daylight, and expose your child to sunlight as early as you can. Bad news for those of us dying to sleep in.

4. Eat Early, Snack Late

While no one likes going to bed hungry, sleep scientists also caution against eating an overflowing meal minutes before slumber. Instead, they suggest eating a regular meal several hours before bed and then supplementing with a light snack right before story time. Don’t forget to brush teeth after, of course.

5. Ice Up the Room

Many of us have heard that it’s better to sleep in a cool room, but we don’t necessarily know why. Your body knows it’s time to sleep when the temperature starts to descend—the same way it knows bedtime comes with the sunset. Making your child’s room as cool as 60 degrees helps signal that bedtime is coming and can help a body release melatonin. There are even self-cooling pillows that can help you stay cool and sleepy all night.

6. Make the Bedroom a Sleep-only Zone

Much as you may want to stash your child’s toys in bins by their bed, it might be distracting. If your child has trouble sleeping, make her room a single-use facility, for snoozing only. You can even read stories on the couch, and then sneak into that cool, dark and cave-like room just for z’s.

7. Invent a Ritual

One sleep scientist wraps a towel around her head each night. As soon as her face touches that terrycloth, her body knows it’s time for sleep. Your sleep ritual can include listening to a particular piece of music or inhaling a consistent aromatherapy scent—anything that a kid’s body can recognize as the last thing before bed.

8. Get Grandma, the Babysitter, or Your Best Friend to Do Bedtime

Often kids will resist bedtime, or wake up more often, if their parents are around; they might misbehave at home but be peachy at school, with Grandma or with the babysitter. If you have the resources, spend up to a week having someone else do bedtime, to help junior establish a new routine.

9. Press the Right Points

Acupressure in an ancient Chinese medicine that involves pushing on specific pressure points in the body to relieve stress or toxins. Some practitioners believe that manipulating the 12 acupressure points in children can help them sleep. Companies like Holistic Baby recommend pressing on the specific spots several hours before bedtime, but of course you’ll have to take a class or get a video to learn them.

10. Consider Crying Uncle

If you’ve spent several years and hundreds of dollars—doctors, objects, self-help books—trying to get your kid to 1) fall asleep on her own and 2) stay asleep, and it’s to no avail, then perhaps the best thing is to give in. Lie down with her until she falls asleep—you can read a book on an e-book reader app, fitted with the special filter of course—and let her crawl into your bed if she just won’t stop. Some experts say that the real secret to a good night sleep is to get it any way you can.

 
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