Sleep has been puzzling parents basically since the beginning of time (we wouldn’t be surprised if 30% of all cavemen paintings are actually about parents not getting enough sleep). Thankfully, some pretty clever sleep hacks have come out of those sleepless nights. After all, there’s nothing like finding yourself wide awake at 1 a.m. to stir up the creative genius in you!
So we rounded up some of our favorite sleep tricks and tips, as dreamed up by parents, sleep experts and the Nanit team.
Here are 7 easy-to-implement sleep solutions to improve zzz’s for the whole family:
- Put a paci in the corner
A pacifier is a powerful thing. It can help infants learn those oh-so-important self-soothing skills. That’s why we love this practical pacifier tip, featured on ParentHacks.com, that helps parents get in and out of the nursery quickly at night: “Try placing your extra pacifiers in the corners of the crib before bedtime. If you can’t immediately locate the one she fell to sleep with, just reach for a corner and grab a replacement. Unless your child is really attached to a particular pacifier she won’t care that it’s not the same one she fell asleep with.”
- Think tin foil and garbage bags
You can transform any room, from the nursery to a hotel room, into a dark haven for sleep by taping black garbage bags on the windows, says infant sleep behaviorist Dr. Natalie Barnett. Tin foil also does the trick and can even block out unnecessary heat.
- Look at baby’s belly
Your little one only has eyes for you. But making eye contact with your baby in the middle of the night can actually pique their interest and get them off the sleep track. Instead of looking directly at your baby, BabyCenter recommends the following: “Keep your gaze on her belly and soothe her back to sleep with a quiet voice and gentle touch.”
- Travel with an old sheet
When you’re traveling, sleep coach Christina Gantcher suggests bringing along an unwashed crib sheet that smells like home, sweet, home. It could help your baby get acclimated to a new sleep environment more quickly. “Bring things that are familiar to create consistency and predictability,” she says. “Maybe don’t wash everything when you’re going on vacation or moving because many babies are very sensitive to the smell that they recognize.”
- Use your voice
Thanks to all those Adele songs you directed at the baby bump during pregnancy, your baby likely has a soft spot for your voice. Don’t be afraid to belt out a few tunes during the bedtime routine or in the middle of a midnight crying sesh to calm baby down. “Your baby loves your voice and feels connected to your way of singing, regardless of whether you sound like Mariah Carey or like 75% of first-round American Idol contestants,” says Psychology Today. “A fetus begins to process auditory signals at about 25 weeks. This is one of the reasons why newborns prefer to hear the voice of their mother–it’s the most familiar voice to them!”
- Be smart about light
Getting in and out of the nursery without disrupting your baby’s sleep can make you feel like you’re re-enacting a scene from Mission: Impossible. That’s why we built a night light right into Nanit’s camera. You can turn it on and off from the Nanit app. It faces the ceiling, not the crib, and can be turned on and off from the Nanit app. So you can get in and out in a flash.
- Keep calm…and hold on
If your little one is crying like nobody’s business in the middle of the night, give this simple maneuver from Dr. Robert Hamilton a whirl. It’s called “The Hold” and can work wonders for fussy newborns two to three months of age.