What science says about baby sleep routines

If your baby grows up sleeping right and is lucky enough to live until the average age of 81, they’ll spend an incredible twenty-five years of their life asleep. It almost seems like a waste of time, doesn’t it? But it’s not. Good sleep is absolutely essential to all human beings, even your friend who swears she only sleeps four hours a night. We’re the only mammal who deliberately delays it, which is fundamentally against nature, and we fall victim to a whole host of health issues because of it. People who don’t get enough sleep are more likely to be overweight, anxious, and even get cancer.

Nobody knows how important sleep is like a new parent. A tired baby is a ratty baby, and a ratty baby is a tired parent. Encouraging your baby into a well-structured sleep routine can be difficult, but it will make your life much easier in the long-term, plus it’s extremely important for your baby. Here’s why.

Children with a regular sleep routine go to bed earlier

They also fall asleep faster and sleep better compared with children who don’t have a proper routine.

Research by PMC concluded that ‘bedtime routines resulted in significant reductions in problematic sleep behaviours for infants and toddlers’. It stopped them waking during the night and decreased the number of mothers who rated their child’s sleep as ‘problematic’. It also improved the mood of mothers, which is important if you want to be the best parent you can be. They concluded implementing a nighttime routine improves infant and toddler sleep, especially wakefulness, and was good for maternal mood. So your baby is not the only one who benefits when he or she sleeps.

Baths are good

Johnson’s recommend baths as the first step in their three step baby bedtime routine. Baths are soothing to most of us, but they actually cool your babies temperature, which can help them fall asleep more easily. Using familiar scents will help, as those smells become part of your baby’s sleep routine, which means they’ll know when they catch a whiff of that familiar scent, it’s time to go to bed.

Babies rely on their sense of smell more than any other sense and clinical studies have proven that products with a hint of scent increase relaxation in babies. Light and regular scents have been proven to reduce infant stress and crying before bed by 23.7% and increase the time infants spend in deep sleep by 33% when compared with unscented baby bathing products.

Give your baby a massage before bed

Who doesn’t like a massage? Baby massages are really important for comfort and reassurance. There’s a reason your doctor put your baby on your chest the moment he or she was born, it’s because science has known how important skin-to-skin contact is for babies for a while. That doesn’t end on the day they are born.

Routinely touching infants increases their willingness to give eye contact by up to 50%. Those babies are also three times more likely to be positive overall than infants who aren’t touched often. Infant massages may soothe babies and reduce crying, aid digestion, relieve colic, gas and constipation, increase daily weight gain, relieve nasal congestion and teething discomfort, help develop good muscle tone, coordination and suppleness, enhance body awareness, boost the immune system, improve skin texture, help calm and relax both you and your baby, and boost your confidence, according to Johnson’s.

Quiet time is extremely important

We don’t mean dead silence, a baby who can only sleep in absolute quiet is not a good idea, but you should work to calm the atmosphere around your baby before you put him or her to sleep.

It’s a good idea to sit in a room with your little one and read to them. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends parents read aloud to their children because it enriches parent-child relationships. They also state that reading can be used as part of a sleep routine to let children know what is expected of them next, and that reading to a child every day from infancy improves their acquisition of language and basic literacy skills.

The science behind lullabies

Humans have been singing their children to sleep for years, but now science has proven our ancestors knew what they were doing. Research shows babies are naturally fluent in the language of music and respond to it on an emotional and physical level. A recent study in the journal Psychology of Music found lullabies lower a baby’s heart rate, reduce anxiety, and minimise their perception of pain.

If you’re not confident in your own singing voice, there are apps out there to help you. Johnson’s used science to develop the world’s first scientifically-based global lullaby, which you can find, alongside other bedtime favourites and ambient sounds, on the Johnson’s bedtime baby sleep app.

So we know bedtime and baby sleep is important for infants and now we know how science tells us we can achieve it. We hope you’ll find our advice useful. Happy snoozing!


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