You probably know the typical things that make it hard for your little one to get sleep: an off schedule, the wrong sleep environment, missing routines, a change in habits… But there are actually other things that many parents have no idea could be making a huge difference to their baby’s sleep.
Intrigued? I would be too. Here are five things that you can blame bad sleep on (that you probably had no idea about!).
1. Sucky weather
If it rains all day then your little one won’t get as much sunlight, outdoor time, or exercise as they’re used to or as much their body needs. Turns out, this can greatly affect their sleep. Little (and big!) bodies sleep better when exposed to sunlight during the day, and when their body gets to move around and use up energy.
What can you do on a sucky weather day?
Try to get your little one moving as much as possible, even inside. Make safe climbing structures with furniture, make up paths to run around, play interactive games… anything goes! Just get their body moving.
2. Your relatives
I’m not kidding! If relatives (or friends) are ever visiting it can make a huge difference in baby’s day-to-day life. Especially if your little one is highly sensitive. If you’ve had visitors stay for a while and then they leave, this can also be a huge disruptor to their life and can mess with how easily they fall asleep, how well they nap, and if they sleep well at night.
How do you make visits sleep-friendly?
Make sure you always spend a long time talking to your little one about visitors and when they will leave. Being prepared for big changes helps everyone. If your peanut is a little more sensitive or introverted, make sure they get some alone time (even if this means missing out on time with your visitors). Feeling safe and secure is a huge part of sleep!
3. Stress in the house
Stress is a part of life, that’s a face. But unfortunately, more sensitive babies can definitely sponge strong emotions and that can affect the way they sleep. They love you and are so attached to you, so your emotions greatly affect them - it’s part of being a family! The difficult part is that these emotions can mess with sleep by making it harder to fall asleep, stay asleep, or by waking them up earlier than we’d like
How do you take the power away from strong emotions?
If you can, (if you can!) try to lessen the stress, anxiety, or anger in your house or at least try to be as calm as possible around your baby. I don’t mean pretend everything is ok when it isn’t, but try to show your baby calmer versions of yourself when possible, especially before naps and bed. A fun thing to try is yoga or stretches with your little one if they’re old enough.
4. The fun events
Just like with visitors, birthday parties, trips, and celebrations can really mess with a baby’s (or toddler or kid’s) sleep because of the strong emotions and new activities and experiences they have to process. It’s normal for them to have a hard time falling asleep after an unusually fun event, especially if the event messed with their normal schedule.
How do you turn the fun into sleep?
Again, it’s key that you talk your baby through the event, before, and after. Then, make your naptime and bedtime routines last a bit longer with more downtime to give their little bodies a chance to calm down and settle for sleep. Remember: they’re just a tiny human that needs help understanding the world, after all.
5. The temperature
Some babies are more sensitive to temperature than others. Some run colder, some run hotter. It’s all about getting to know your little one and accepting that a one degree change could possibly make a huge difference. It’s more than likely that your little peanut will wake up if they’re uncomfortable with the temperature and you’ll have to shift things around to help them fall back asleep.
What can you do about shifting temperature?
First, get to know your baby. If they run cold do they do better with more layers or with the heater on? If they run hot do they do better with no blankets or by having the fan on? Next, experiment with different tools. Try out a humidifier to help stabilize a room, or test some different pyjama materials and see what happens.