Ask a Sleep Expert: My Baby Finally Fell Asleep, But I’m Wide Awake. Now What?

In our series “Ask a Sleep Expert,” we pose a question to pediatric sleep consultant Ingrid Prueher, founder of BabySleepWhisperer.com, and get her expert insight and advice.

My baby’s sleep is on track. But now I’m the one having trouble falling asleep, especially after checking on the baby in the middle of the night. What do I do?

A lot of the sleep advice that applies to your baby applies to you too!

A good hour before you go to sleep, or half an hour, start the wind-down process. Dim lights to help increase the melatonin in your body. No more electronics at least half an hour before bedtime. And if you can do an hour before, even better. Drink some chamomile tea or soothing, herbal teas – nothing with caffeine. And read a good book – a paper book, not an electronic book. You can also color. There are adult coloring books nowadays that help you wind down. You can take a bath or a shower. Just the running water hitting your body should help relax you.

You also want to make sure you’re not having dinner after you put the baby to sleep if it’s too late. Proper digestion is important because if you’re eating and going to sleep right after, it’ll prevent you from sleeping well throughout the night because you went to sleep with a heavy belly.

If you wake up to check on the baby and are really struggling to go back to sleep, I recommend a meditation app of some sort. Sometimes we spend so much time at night stuck thinking, “Oh, I really want to go to sleep!” So a mediation app would be ideal. You can also use a white noise app – white noise is always great at any age.

Another thing you can do is have a notepad next to your bed. If you’re going to be up, you might as well write down everything you’re thinking of. Tell yourself, “I’m writing this down so I can get it out of my head. But I’ll look at it tomorrow morning.” That’s a way to honor your thoughts. You’re not just pushing them away.You’re going through the process of “brain dumping.”

As parents, we have to practice what we preach with sleep. Children learn from what they see us do. So we need to look at ourselves and what our sleep routines are.

Got a question for Ingrid? Share it with us on Facebook or Twitter – you could be featured in our next “Ask a Sleep Expert” blog post!

Diana Aydin

Diana Aydin

Diana is an editor and writer based in New York City, and she frequently writes about health, parenting and everything babies. She’s been a fan of sleep since the early 1980s.