Alaska Sleep Education Center

5 Tips The Older Generation Can Teach You About Baby Sleep

Posted by Karl Murphy on Mar 15, 2021 1:57:00 AM

Portrait of a couple of elders smiling outdoors

Every man and every woman dreams of meeting an ideal partner, building harmonious relationships, and starting a family. We are looking for love at work, among friends, on various online dating sites. And when we find her, these are the best moments of our life. Now you can have a wedding, give birth and raise children. But here we are faced with some new problems because young children do not always fall asleep well. We try different ways, but this does not allow us to fully rest. Perhaps you should ask the older generation for advice. After all, our parents (grandparents of our children) have more experience. We will tell you about the most interesting "tricks" of the older generation, which seem simple, but, have real benefits and scientific justification.


Yes, it's simple and ingenious. After all, grandmothers often sing lullabies to their grandchildren. Moreover, it allows us to learn more about the folklore and traditions of the older generation. And the child will be able to fall asleep faster. It is of course important to choose the right song. High-pitched sounds will stir up the soul of the child, and the cat will begin to sing along. Transfer your favorite rock classics to the tune of a folk song, perform Coldplay, but as if the soloist had a cold. And most importantly: in no case rap (no matter how well everything starts in a song, the performer inevitably begins to shake his head and wave his arms, pretending to have a gun in his hand).

Why it works. Specialists at a medical center in New York studied the effects of three types of sounds on premature babies. The scientists had at their disposal an instrument that imitates the sounds that a child hears in the womb, a drum that sounds like a heartbeat, and ordinary lullabies performed by parents, without musical processing. All the melodies turned out to be more or less effective, but the first place went to the lullaby. It was they who helped the children stay calm for as long as possible.


You know how the older generation loves rocking chairs, don't you? Perhaps there is some magic in this? And it really is. If the child is over two years old, wiggles are good only in a hammock: gently push it without changing the amplitude. The measured swaying puts even an adult into a trance, so it works great for children.

This method has a nuance that somewhat undermines the credibility of the hammock: when the child falls asleep, he must be transferred to a normal bed with a thick mattress. Most children are just waiting for this moment to wake up. Some babies calm down most quickly when rocked up and down. In this case, parents will have to try.

Why it works. Carrying and rocking a child is natural and extremely beneficial. A 2013 Japanese study found that most mammalian babies calm down when their mothers carry them. Besides, vibrations help children's sensory and motor systems to coordinate. And a 2019 study argues that wiggling also promotes better memory performance. However, the experiment was carried out without the participation of children - only with young people and mice. But both young men and rodents showed a positive effect.

Reading and Tales

Calm children can fall asleep during a fairy tale, just at the moment when the Wolf hid in the bushes to jump out on Little Red Riding Hood. But the anxious guys will closely follow the plot until the moment with the wedding. If you intend to put your child to sleep with a fairy tale, choose a story in which nothing happens. It is also useful for parents because you can take a book of real literary classics and plunge into the world of your favorite heroes, as well as broaden your horizons.

Why it works. Scientists at the University of Sussex have experimented with adults and found that reading for just six minutes reduces stress levels by 68%. That is, a book is more powerful than a walk or a video game. There is no reason to believe that the impact of reading on children is much weaker. Scientists believe that this is an extremely successful way to relax using your imagination.

Tactile Contact and Touch

The older generation often put children to bed, stroking them at the same time. For some children in the evening, it is important to relax the body, for which a light massage is used: the parent runs his hand several times over his arms and legs, saying something affectionate. You can also stroke the bridge of your nose, face, or back.

Why it works. Gentle maternal massage helps babies cry less and sleep better, say scientists from the University of Warwick in the UK. They studied several works with data on almost six hundred babies from birth to six months. Children whose parents had mastered dexterous stroking produced less of the stress hormone cortisol. And one study even linked the production of melatonin, a sleep hormone, and tactile stimulation.

Imitation Game

A small and surprisingly vigorous person sometimes just needs to show that night is a time for sleep. Desperate parents lie down next to them, turn off the lights, and do their best to pretend that they are already asleep, in the hope that the child will follow their example. Unfortunately, putting a parent to sleep is much easier. A poor child has to wake up mom or dad more than once so that they show again and again what it is like to fall asleep at night.

Why it works. When the grandparents finally sail away on the waves of sleep, the child will have the opportunity to take a break from all the methods of laying down, take a breath, and think in silence about his own.

White Noise - The Secret for the Little Ones

Surprisingly, noise also helps us fall asleep. Very young children are sometimes lulled by a monotonous sound: a running washing machine, the hiss of the radio, someone's monotonous muttering, and sometimes even the sound of a ping-pong ball.

Experiments involving children from three to five prove that if the participants sit in a room with a dim light bulb and drawn curtains before going to bed, melatonin is produced as it should: by about eight in the evening the child rubs his eyes. But bright lighting suppresses melatonin and confuses the body, so it is better to plan bright light in the morning.

You should also be careful with white noise. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends monitoring the decibel level in the nursery. This is important - you should not try to drown out household noise with white noise. It should remain a quiet background sound.


Not exactly old, but rather a new method of putting kids to bed. If children from the age of four are busy for a long time and all the time call you to their room, offer them a meditation session. Encourage your child to sit comfortably, relax, and focus on breathing. Let him follow the smooth movement of his abdomen: inhale and exhale, how the leg no longer scratches the other leg, and the hand stops pulling the eyelids - in general, it is very useful to pay attention to your body and sensations.

Do visualization: ask your child to imagine how he floats on a silvery river, flies over a field with dandelions, hears the swaying pine trees, and so on. If a child comments on their trip, something is wrong. It is you who should conduct the session, and not he tell you how to behave with the revived pine trees and the dinosaur that met him over the dandelion field. You can even use ready-made texts, for example, from Elin Snell's book “I am calm and attentive like a frog. Meditation for Children and Their Parents ”.

Why it works. Studies conducted with the elderly and young people have shown that meditation can fight insomnia as well as medication. Sleep deprivation is closely related to stress, and a person who focuses on breathing doesn't waste time worrying about anything. In general, he has turned mentally into a caterpillar and is crawling along with the leaf. Even if the child does not look like a pensioner, there is every reason to believe that meditation will help him to relax and fall asleep even before the start of the parental series.


Well, now you know a few new secrets and wisdom of the older generation that will help you make your child's sleep more comfortable and enjoyable. It remains only to choose the most effective method for you.

Pediatric Sleep Troubles

A good night's sleep is essential to the growth and development of children, and children require much more sleep than adults. Sometimes, however, children are unable to get the necessary amounts of nightly sleep that they need, and it can sometimes be attributed to a sleep disorder.

At The Alaska Sleep Clinic, we provide consultation and therapeutic management for a wide variety of pediatric sleep disorders. We understand that your child's health is important to you and we want to assure you that our Board Certified Sleep Physicians are highly adept at treating child sleep disorders.

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Topics: Sleep Tips, Pediatrics, baby, sleep training

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