Quality sleep is essential for the development and growth of babies and children. A guide from The Sleep Council highlights that ‘there’s an increasing body of evidence showing the damaging effect on children’ who don’t get enough sleep. It’s important to encourage good sleeping routines from a young age, as well as ensuring that you also get as much rest as possible.
We got in touch with Sarah Ockwell-Smith, parenting expert and author of ‘The Gentle Sleep Book’ (2015, Piatkus), who provided some interesting sleeping insight and advice.
Swap the sound of crying with alpha music
Ockwell-Smith recommends playing alpha music during the night to help your baby sleep longer. This type of music ‘has been composed to specifically aid baby sleep, it is very simple, often set to backing of white noise and recorded to 60 beats per minute which is perfect resting pulse rate.’
Invest in a co-sleeper cot
It’s a common assumption that if a baby wakes at night, they must be hungry or thirsty. However according to Ockwell-Smith, ‘predominantly they wake because they are missing us.’ If you have a ‘co-sleeper cot (a cot with an open side) attached to your bed,’ you’ll be able to stay close to your baby all through the night.
Use red light bulbs
Many parents purchase nightlights or star projectors for their children’s room, thinking that they’re creating a more calming environment. However these can negatively affect sleep, as ‘any light colour apart from red inhibits the release of melatonin, the hormone of sleep.’ Ockwell-Smith advises parents to use a red light bulb in a low wattage as ‘this has been scientifically shown not to disturb sleep.’ You could also use one in your bedroom, to help you rest too.