Are you tiptoeing around the house trying not to wake up your light sleeper baby? Here are some tips for sleep training a light sleeper to help your little one sleep more soundly.
Doorbell ringing, creaky floors, the dishwasher running, flushing the toilet – all of these things can wake up your adorable light sleeper. As a result, you find yourself sleep-deprived and exhausted beyond compare.
This is a common complaint I get from parents. They tell me how their babies are extremely easy to wake and when they’re up, it’s challenging to get them back to sleep.
Although you can’t make your baby less sensitive to noise or light, there are some things you can do to try to help her go to sleep and stay asleep.
Here are four research-proven tips for sleep training a light sleeper in no time.
Let’s dive in!
Understanding baby sleep cycles
Every one of us, including babies, sleeps in cycles. We move from light sleep to deeper sleep and back several times per night. If you have a light sleeper on your hands, it means that she spends more time in light sleep than in a deep sleep.
Light sleep cycles are simple cycles in which we are more aware of our surroundings, and hence we’re easier to wake up from.
Some babies’ brains are better at blocking environmental stimuli during sleep, and others do a worse job. During sleep, your baby’s brain receives sensory information that wakes her from her sleep.
Helping your baby sleep longer
If your baby is keeping the entire family sleep-deprived, try one or more of the tips for sleep training a light sleeper below!
Get rid of negative sleep associations
We’ve talked about sleep associations in one of our previous posts. In short, a sleep association is any action that helps a child fall asleep that they can’t provide on their own. For example, common negative baby sleep associations are:
- Rocking the baby to sleep.
- Nursing your baby.
- Co-sleeping with your baby.
- Holding your baby in your arms until she falls asleep.
- Bouncing your baby to sleep.
- Driving your baby around in the car.
- Pushing your baby in the stroller.
Let’s say that you rock your baby to sleep. When she wakes up at night, she’s going to want to be rocked to sleep as she learned to rely on that motion in order to fall asleep. She will cry and fuss to get your attention and help her get back to sleep.
Light sleepers wake more often than other babies, so teaching them how to self-soothe and get back to sleep without your help is critical. Consider setting up a consistent bedtime routine so that your little one knows what to expect. And if she wakes up and cries for you in the middle of the night, offer her verbal reassurance but avoid rocking her to sleep or any other negative sleep association.
Let your baby sleep alone
According to the American Association of Pediatrics, parents should share a room with their baby for a year the most, but at least for six months, to reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
In fact, parents who share a room with their child sleep less, have more interrupted sleep, and have more marital problems.
The fact is that successful sleep training always depends on teaching your baby how to fall asleep without your help, and room-sharing can slow down that learning process.
This brings me to my next tip for sleeping training a light sleeper: let her sleep in her own room.
Once your baby turns six months old, move her into her own room to reduce the chances of her being woken up by noises from you, your partner, and her siblings.
Create a sleep-conducive environment
This tip is an important one when it comes to sleep training a light sleeper. To keep your baby cozy, maintain a room temperature between 68-72F (20-22.2c).
What’s more, consider investing in blackout curtains to block out light, especially if you live on a street that’s well-lit or gets plenty of sunshine.
You can also use white noise to help her drift off quicker. These machines do two things right: they soothe babies to go to sleep, and they also drown out annoying sounds that might prevent your infant from getting high-quality sleep.
Hire a sleep trainer
Sleep training a light sleeper can be a difficult process, and you may need help from an expert to get it done right. An experienced sleep trainer can make the process easier for both parent and child. You’ll get an individualized plan for your baby that’s tailored to her temperament, your parenting style, and your preferences as a family.
To sum up
Teaching your baby self-soothing skills through sleep training is critical for the development of healthy sleep habits. Children who can self-soothe can go into a deeper sleep state more quickly and put themselves back to sleep more easily. Once your baby conquers the skill of self-soothing, the entire family can look forward to full nights of deep, rejuvenating, and uninterrupted sleep.
If you feel like you’re not making some good progress with sleep training your baby, consider hiring a sleep consultant to take an in-depth look at your baby’s sleep history and help you with this. An experienced sleep trainer can make the process easier for both the parent and the child. Connect with us today and get a personalized plan for your baby. We’ll be there to guide you every step of the way.