Expert Opinion

Sleep Expert puts three common sleep hacks to the test, here’s which ones stack up.

Hack 1: Milk before bed

It’s a huge tick from me! All babies and some toddlers have a nice warm milk feed before bed, but will this ensure your baby sleeps better? Maybe, maybe not. Let’s break it down.

 

Milk does contain some really amazing sleepy goodness – called tryptophan – which helps your body to process melatonin and serotonin. Melatonin being the sleep hormone and serotonin is more commonly known as the calming hormone – and that is a great recipe for sleep. Milk before bed can also curb any hunger, particularly in babies of course (age appropriately we want to rule out hunger as a cause of night wakings) but also often those moments of offering milk before bed are a beautiful calm, connecting time with the parent, I call it filling up the love tank, which is also about emotional connection and we also need that to sleep well. So, think it’s a big yes for me for sure, that milk before bed is a positive in the sleep department.

Hack 2: Wearing socks to bed

Being a non-sock wearer to bed myself, I find them annoying, constricting, my feet sweat and I want to take them off overnight, so this is what I usually do, which means my sleep is disturbed.

 

For others, it is a part of the warmth factor, no-one likes cold tootsies – this can keep us awake. But also wearing socks can regulate our body temperature overall which is important when it comes to sleep and therefore can help people fall asleep and get more quality sleep.

 

Either way – if you are too cold, you will struggle to fall asleep but likewise if you are too hot you will struggle also so… you’re either TEAM SOCKS or TEAM NO SOCKS. So I’d say this is a proven 50/50 but not a proven sleep hack.

Hack 3: The use of red light

There are so many products on the market at the moment using red light, promising a better night’s sleep – is it a guarantee – NO..  but why might you consider it?

 

Does your child need a red light for sleep? NO, I personally think most of us would sleep better in a dark environment, with nothing to stimulate us when we rouse from slumber across the night – which we all do. So, what is the GO with the Red Light?

 

Well, the colour red, compared to white or blue, has the least impact on sleep cycles and melatonin levels. That said, it isn’t necessarily the be all and end all in resolving sleep issues. Babies are used to a dark, warm and cosy environments so they don’t need a red light for their child when they are sleeping, however if as they get older and express a fear of the dark, they might find a night light offers some security and therefore you might introduce a night light – and a dim red night light would be my recommendation. In short, the theory of using red light for sleep and its success is going to depend on your individual child.

About the author

Lisa is the founder of Cherish Your Sleep, Co-Regional Director (Australia/Pacific) of The Association of Professional Sleep Consultants, an experienced certified baby/child sleep consultant and a mother to 3 young children.
She has always loved children and has worked in the industry for over 20 years as a qualified child care worker, working primarily with children aged 0 – 3yrs.
A successful outcome is not only good for the parents and children, but also giver Lisa a sense of satisfaction and happiness – there’s nothing better than hearing from a parent who finally got their first full night sleep since having a child.
Becoming a mum and meeting and seeing other mums struggle with their babies and children’s sleep made Lisa really want to reach out and help. She doesn’t see that there is a one size fits all to helping families – sleep is almost like a Puzzle – you need all the pieces in place to achieve the full picture and those pieces are what she shares with families.
Lisa uses a holistic approach to sleep, focusing on emotional wellbeing of families and ensuring the parent child connection in not only maintained, but enhanced. She knows how easy it is to become overwhelmed and frustrated, so it’s her passion to help find solutions that will work for you, your baby and the rest of your family.