10 Expert-Tips To Make Your Baby Sleep Faster & Longer

— By Miroslava Rakicevic.

Getting a baby to sleep is not easy – their sleeping habits are too erratic. The main issue is that babies do not arrive with a set sleep schedule.

So, if you could just master their sleep-wake cycle, you can watch them fall asleep faster and stay asleep for longer.

And you will get enough rest for yourself as well.

We share 10 highly effective tips from a sleep expert to help your baby go to sleep fast.

A sleep expert reached out to us to share with us some of the most effective strategies for helping your babies form a regular sleep pattern and fall asleep quickly on their own.

Overview: To Make Your Baby Sleep Fast…

  • Create a sleep-inducing environment: Dim the lights and maintain a comfortable room temperature to set the stage for sleep.
  • Stick to a bedtime routine: Consistency in bedtime activities like reading a book, singing a lullaby, or gentle rocking helps signal to the baby that it’s time to wind down.
  • Limit Stimulants before bedtime: Avoid high-energy activities and loud noises before bedtime. And do not always rush in when a baby wakes up.
  • Regulate snacking: Make sure the baby is well-fed, but limit sugary foods that could make them feel energized just before they go to sleep.
  • Monitor daytime sleep: Keep an eye on how much your baby sleeps during the day to ensure it doesn’t interfere with nighttime rest.

Here are the 10 expert tips to help your baby sleep faster and longer:

1. Control the light in the baby’s bedroom.

Light affects your baby’s sleep by influencing the release of melatonin, the sleep hormone.

  • Dim the room’s lights 2–3 hours before bedtime for a sleep-friendly environment.
  • Maintain this lighting routine every day to help your baby recognize bedtime cues.
  • If your baby wakes at night, keep the room dimly lit while soothing them back to sleep.
  • Use dark curtains to block early morning sunlight, allowing extended sleep time.
  • Avoid using blue light screens near the baby before bedtime, as they can interfere with sleep.
  • During the day, ensure that your baby is exposed to bright light, either through natural sunlight indoors or through outdoor activities.
  • Consider a soft, warm-colored nightlight if your baby is afraid of complete darkness, as it’s less disruptive to melatonin production.

“Most of us adults find it hard to sleep with the lights on. So does your baby.”

A sleep therapist shares her secrets to putting a baby to sleep in 30 seconds l GMA

2. Don’t pick up the baby at their every sound.

Babies can make noises when they find you missing mid-sleep (object permanence in babies), but rushing in at their every sound can disrupt their sleep patterns.

  • Resist the urge to immediately pick up your baby at every little cry or noise.
  • Observe from a distance and give them a chance to self-soothe and fall back asleep.
  • If the baby’s noise escalates to crying, you can then gently soothe your baby back to sleep.
  • Waiting too long can make the baby fully awake, making it harder for them to fall back asleep.
  • A brief wait of a minute or two before picking up your baby can encourage better sleep habits.

“Babies who are carried at every sound may learn not to go back to sleep on their own.”

3. Establish a consistent bedtime routine.

Consistency in bedtime activities helps signal to your baby that it’s time to wind down.

  • Remove blue-light screens from the baby’s room, like laptops and mobiles, as they disrupt the sleep-wake cycle.
  • Use soft, calming fabrics for bedding and pajamas to enhance comfort and sleep quality.
  • Establish a nightly routine, like singing a lullaby, telling a story, or gentle back patting.
  • Consider a warm bath as part of the routine to further relax your baby before sleep.
  • Stick to this routine for 8–10 weeks to help your baby internalize these sleep cues.
  • Try to keep the routine under 30 minutes to make it manageable and effective.

“The parent should work on soothing the child to sleep around the two-hour mark, not after.”

4. Follow your baby’s natural sleeping pattern.

Understanding your baby’s natural sleep pattern and following it can make bedtime smoother for everyone.

  • Find out if your baby is a night owl or an early bird (morningness or eveningness).
  • Align your baby’s bedtime routines with their natural sleep schedule to avoid fussiness.
  • Keep a sleep diary to track patterns and identify any inconsistencies that may need addressing.
  • If you face challenges with your baby’s sleep habits, consult their doctor or a sleep coach for advice.
  • Avoid forcing a sleep schedule that conflicts with your baby’s natural rhythm, as it can lead to sleep issues and daytime crankiness.
  • Your parenting skills are not determined by your baby’s genetic sleep patterns, so stay calm while you adjust to their sleep patterns.

“An infant’s natural sleeping schedule: they should be “awake and alert” for around 2 hours or less.”

5. Put your baby into bed before fully asleep.

Teaching your baby to fall asleep independently can set the stage for them to develop better sleep habits.

  • Observe eye and body movements to gauge when your baby is getting sleepy.
  • Lay your baby down when they’re drowsy but still awake, allowing them to self-soothe.
  • Over time, your baby will associate being laid down while drowsy with time to fall asleep.
  • If your baby wakes up as you’re laying them down, stay close and gently soothe them back to sleep.
  • Sleep in the same room as your baby for at least the first 6 months to reduce SIDS (“cot death”) risk.
  • Avoid rocking or feeding your baby to sleep, as this can create a dependency that lasts way beyond their childhood years.
  • Consistency is key; make putting your baby to bed before fully asleep a regular part of your baby’s bedtime routine.

“If you always tend to rock or feed your baby into sleep, know they might become conditioned to it.”

6. Allow and regulate their nap time.

Daytime naps are crucial for your baby’s overall sleep quality and mood.

  • Newborns have erratic sleep patterns.
  • During the first month, babies will spend around 16 hours a day sleeping.
  • By 4 months, most babies settle into around 3 daytime naps.
  • Over time, this need decreases to 2 naps by 6 months, and 1 nap by 18 months.
  • Adequate daytime rest helps lower stress hormone levels, leading to better nighttime sleep.
  • Most children continue taking an afternoon nap of one to two hours in length until about age 3.
  • Have a consistent nap schedule (same time and same length).
  • Try singing soft lullabies or swaddling your baby before it gets overtired or cranky. Eventually, your baby will learn that these things mean it’s time to rest.
  • Use a lightly curtained room for daytime naps to avoid confusing your baby into deep sleep.
  • Over-tiredness can lead to disrupted sleep due to elevated stress hormones.
  • If your baby struggles with naps, consider using calming techniques like soft music or gentle rocking.
  • Monitor your baby’s sleep patterns and adjust the nap schedule as needed for optimal rest.

“An infant’s stress hormone level tends to rise when they are overtired.”

7. Avoid eye contact as you lull the baby to sleep.

Eye contact can be stimulating for babies and may signal playtime rather than bedtime.

  • Use a soft, soothing voice to sing or talk to your baby as they drift off.
  • Avoid high-pitched voices or giggles that could excite your baby and disrupt their sleep.
  • Focus on your baby’s belly or legs instead of direct eye contact when putting them to sleep.
  • Gentle touches on the belly or legs can help relax your baby without overstimulating them.
  • Be mindful of your own body language and facial expressions, as they can also influence your baby’s mood.

“A parent’s direct eye contact can snap their baby out of a drowsy state, making them think it’s playtime.”

8. Change your diaper-change habit.

Adjusting your diaper-changing routine can help your baby sleep better and longer.

  • Limit the number of diaper changes during sleep to avoid fully waking your baby.
  • Opt for high-quality nighttime diapers that can last through the night unless soiled with poop.
  • If your baby makes noise or wakes briefly, resist the urge to change the diaper immediately.
  • Use warm wipes instead of cold ones to prevent startling your baby awake.
  • A wipe-warmer can be a useful tool for keeping wipes at a comfortable temperature.
  • Be quick and gentle during the change to minimize disruption to your baby’s sleep.
  • Consider setting up a dimly lit diaper-changing station near the crib for minimal disturbance.

9. Eliminate high-energy snacking pre-sleep.

You cannot separate your baby’s sleep from nutrition—it plays a significant role in their sleep quality.

  • For the first eight weeks, feed your baby on demand, usually at 2-3 hour intervals.
  • Monitor the amount consumed during each feeding to ensure adequate nutrition.
  • Keep a record of daily feeding schedules and durations, especially for breastfeeding mothers.
  • Be cautious of “snacking,” where your baby eats small amounts frequently, disrupting sleep patterns.
  • A well-fed baby during the day is more likely to sleep longer stretches at night.
  • Spacing out meals and monitoring intake can lead to balanced feeding sessions and better sleep.
  • If your baby cries, consider other soothing methods before immediately resorting to feeding.
  • Note any disparities between day and nighttime feeding durations to adjust your approach.

10. Seek professional help.

Poorly rested, overtired children may have difficulty sleeping and may wake up frequently. However, if you have taken care of those issues, and your baby still has sleep problems, seek professional help.

  • Frequent night wakings, bedtime struggles, and difficulty falling back asleep are common issues that warrant professional help.
  • Your pediatrician should be your first point of contact for sleep-related concerns.
  • Baby sleep consultants could be another option. However, make your own inquiries as the field is not strictly regulated, and many with minimal training to offer their services.

“Don’t neglect your baby’s sleep difficulties, as they can lead to developmental issues later on.”

How To Make Your Baby Sleep Faster

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) does not recommend bed sharing with your baby. This includes twins and other multiples.

Why is it difficult to get babies to sleep?

Babies are often unable to fall asleep because they don’t understand the difference between night and day and need time to adjust to the sunrise-sunset pattern. As a result, their sleeping habits are unpredictable, resulting in insufficient sleep.

A newborn baby can sleep anywhere from 10 to 17 or 18 hours each day. Nonetheless, as babies get older, usually within a few weeks, they learn to distinguish between day and night. You can start making efforts to control your baby’s sleep patterns around this time.

What to do if my baby acts fussy when I put them down on the bed?

Most babies will cry when put down for sleep. If they are acting fussy, soothe your baby by singing quietly, playing soft whispers, or rocking gently. Wait a minute before attending to your fussy baby – it will help your baby to develop the ability to self-soothe. Talk to a healthcare provider if you need help or support.

Give me some tips from “Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child” by Dr. Marc Weissbluth.

Dr. Marc Weissbluth’s “Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child” offers age-specific sleep strategies.
• For newborns to 6 weeks, parents should follow the child’s lead and soothe them to sleep around the two-hour awake mark.
• From 6 weeks to 4 months, establish a bedtime routine and put the baby down before they become overtired. The same applies for 4 to 12 months, with the addition of a sleep schedule.
• For 12 months to 2 years, maintain a bedtime routine, recognize drowsy signs, and practice parental presence at bedtime.
• For children 2 years and up, continue the above while encouraging them to sleep in their own bed.

Final Words

Babies have a hard time falling asleep on their own because they can’t self-soothe themselves or control their emotions. They may also be feeling discomfort from hunger, dirty diapers, or physical pains.

Moreover, babies may have separation anxiety or fear of being alone. Young infants need comfort, so if your newborn is crying and not sleeping, it’s likely because they need you.

Make sure your baby’s comfort needs are met – they are dry, dressed warmly but not overheated, and well-fed.

Creating a consistent bedtime routine, and waiting a minute before attending to your fussy baby, can help them learn to sleep on their own.

• • •

Miroslava Rakicevic

Author: Miroslava Rakicevic is a sleep expert at DisturbMeNot.co. She specializes in product testing and sleep research, and collaborates closely with medical professionals, to provide actionable, valuable sleep advice for better rest.

Edited by Dr. Sandip Roy.

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