7 Quick & Simple Sleep Hacks

7 Quick & Simple Sleep Hacks

Sleep has been puzzling parents basically since the beginning of time (we wouldn’t be surprised if 30% of all cavemen paintings are actually about parents not getting enough sleep). Thankfully, some pretty clever sleep hacks have come out of those sleepless nights. After all, there’s nothing like finding yourself wide awake at 1 a.m. to stir up the creative genius in you!

So we rounded up some of our favorite sleep tricks and tips, as dreamed up by parents, sleep experts and the Nanit team.

Here are 7 easy-to-implement sleep solutions to improve zzz’s for the whole family:

  1. Put a paci in the corner

A pacifier is a powerful thing. It can help infants learn those oh-so-important self-soothing skills. That’s why we love this practical pacifier tip, featured on ParentHacks.com, that helps parents get in and out of the nursery quickly at night: “Try placing your extra pacifiers in the corners of the crib before bedtime. If you can’t immediately locate the one she fell to sleep with, just reach for a corner and grab a replacement. Unless your child is really attached to a particular pacifier she won’t care that it’s not the same one she fell asleep with.”

  1. Think tin foil and garbage bags

You can transform any room, from the nursery to a hotel room, into a dark haven for sleep by taping black garbage bags on the windows, says infant sleep behaviorist Dr. Natalie Barnett. Tin foil also does the trick and can even block out unnecessary heat.

  1. Look at baby’s belly

Your little one only has eyes for you. But making eye contact with your baby in the middle of the night can actually pique their interest and get them off the sleep track. Instead of looking directly at your baby, BabyCenter recommends the following: “Keep your gaze on her belly and soothe her back to sleep with a quiet voice and gentle touch.”

  1. Travel with an old sheet

When you’re traveling, sleep coach Christina Gantcher suggests bringing along an unwashed crib sheet that smells like home, sweet, home. It could help your baby get acclimated to a new sleep environment more quickly. “Bring things that are familiar to create consistency and predictability,” she says. “Maybe don’t wash everything when you’re going on vacation or moving because many babies are very sensitive to the smell that they recognize.”

  1. Use your voice

Thanks to all those Adele songs you directed at the baby bump during pregnancy, your baby likely has a soft spot for your voice. Don’t be afraid to belt out a few tunes during the bedtime routine or in the middle of a midnight crying sesh to calm baby down. “Your baby loves your voice and feels connected to your way of singing, regardless of whether you sound like Mariah Carey or like 75% of first-round American Idol contestants,” says Psychology Today. “A fetus begins to process auditory signals at about 25 weeks. This is one of the reasons why newborns prefer to hear the voice of their mother–it’s the most familiar voice to them!”

  1. Be smart about light

Getting in and out of the nursery without disrupting your baby’s sleep can make you feel like you’re re-enacting a scene from Mission: Impossible. That’s why we built a night light right into Nanit’s camera. You can turn it on and off from the Nanit app. It faces the ceiling, not the crib, and can be turned on and off from the Nanit app. So you can get in and out in a flash.

  1. Keep calm…and hold on

If your little one is crying like nobody’s business in the middle of the night, give this simple maneuver from Dr. Robert Hamilton a whirl. It’s called “The Hold” and can work wonders for fussy newborns two to three months of age.


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Natalie Barnett, PhD serves as VP of Clinical Research at Nanit. Natalie initiated sleep research collaborations at Nanit and in her current role, Natalie oversees collaborations with researchers at hospitals and universities around the world who use the Nanit camera to better understand pediatric sleep and leads the internal sleep and development research programs at Nanit. Natalie holds a Ph.D. in Genetics from the University of New England in Australia and a Postgraduate Certificate in Pediatric Sleep Science from the University of Western Australia. Natalie was an Assistant Professor in the Neurogenetics Unit at NYU School of Medicine prior to joining Nanit. Natalie is also the voice of Nanit's science-backed, personalized sleep tips delivered to users throughout their baby's first few years.

Kristy Ojala is Nanit’s Digital Content Director. She spends way too much time looking at maps and weather forecasts and pictures of Devon Rex cats and no-cook dinners. A former sleep champion, she strives to share trustworthy somnabulism tips with other parents—praying for that one fine day when no tiny humans wake her up while it’s still dark out. Her kids highly recommend 3 books, approximately 600 stuffies, Chopin’s “Nocturnes,” and the Nanit Sound + Light for bedtime success.

Mackenzie Sangster is on the Brand and Community team at Nanit. She supports content development and editing for Nanit’s Parent Confidently blog as well as other marketing initiatives. Outside of work, she enjoys spending time with her friends, cooking, being active, and using the Pro + Flex Duo to keep an eye on her fur-baby, Poppy!

Holly Hays is a contributor and writer for Nanit, channeling her years as a mama and former magazine editor to create fun, useful content for fellow busy, trying-to-do-their-best parents and caregivers. Holly has written for a wide range of brands and media outlets (Ergobaby, HGTV, Manhattan Toy Company, OXO), loves to cook and read mystery novels, and leans heavily on her two daughters to keep her up to date on all the latest slang.