The Benefits of a Sleep Routine
It seems like every baby sleep book out there touts the benefits of a good sleep routine. Implement a consistent routine and you’ll help trigger to your little one that it’s time for bed.
The gist is: you pick a handful of things that you do every night before bed. Some routines are relatively elaborate, and some are as simple as singing a song before popping your little one in their crib. But whatever it is, you do it in the same order each night.
K: When Remy was about eight weeks old, we started running into some painful sleep issues. She would only nap on me (usually only when strapped to my chest in the baby wrap), and went from sleeping 5 hour stretches to waking every. single. hour.
It was utterly exhausting.
That lack of sleep made both of us crankier and less pleasant to be around, so after reading every book and blog article, and talking to every parent friend, I realized the common theme that we were missing was a good sleep routine.
All of the books made recommendations on possible routines, but for Remy I decided to go with what I knew—the routine I had growing up, which included a nightly bath and books.
Our full routine has been the same from the time Remy was 12 weeks old until now at 2 years:
We do all those things in the exact same order, every night. For naps we nix the bath and lotion, but everything else remains the same.
If we are in a bind, or on the go, the key triggers we use are the sleep sack (to cuddle and feel cozy), and the books.
What was shocking to me was, after a week or so of this, Remy's naps in her crib went from 20 mins each to as long as 2 hrs, and she fell asleep much more easily at night.
As she has grown, the routine has helped add a sense of normalcy when we travel—even on a plane we can drape Remy’s sleep sack over her, read some books, and know that she will likely fall asleep shortly thereafter. It’s awesome.
R: It’s been super interesting being a third party to Remy’s sleep routine. I’m not 100% sure how I’ll handle my kid’s sleep yet—but it’s been so helpful to see how effective a solid routine is for Remy. Her bedtime has also inspired me to reflect on my own sleep routine.
I’m chronically over extended and overworked, so getting to sleep can often feel like a chore (there is so much else to do!).
Add to that, my husband and I recently adopted a rescue puppy from Korea. Which, to our shock, has come with middle of the night crying and wakings—similar to what I imagine it’s gonna be like when our kid is born.
I compared notes with Kelsey on this and we found the nights we follow a routine—brush our teeth, wash our faces, PJs on, and in bed with a book (NOT on our phones or computers), we go to sleep SO much quicker and sleep SO much better. Shift that back to hanging on the couch, too much Netflix binging, or nodding off over some work, and you guessed it—a much less preferable night of sleep.
I suspect if we added the bath and white noise machine to that mix to mimic Remy’s schedule, we'd be entirely different people in the morning!
R+K: So we're curious: do you have a sleep routine? Does your little one? And if so, what is the key trigger in the routine that signals sleep to your kid?