Expert Tips for Helping Your Baby Sleep Independently

Expert Tips for Helping Your Baby Sleep Independently

Babies who can fall asleep independently tend to be better sleepers. That’s one of the exciting things we learned at Nanit Lab’s 2024 Symposium. Hear more from the world’s top sleep experts.
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Several studies presented during Nanit Lab’s 2024 Symposium focused on one key principle: Babies who have the skills to fall asleep on their own sleep longer and better than babies who fall asleep with a lot of caregiver help. So how do you help your baby develop those skills? Read on for data-driven advice!

How Sleep Influences Emotions

Who: Dr. Maria Breda, Sapienza University of Rome, Italy 

Topic: Sleep and temperament: a relationship that starts in infancy

Gist: Dr. Breda’s study looked at the connection between a child’s temperament (whether they were more easygoing, cheery, extroverted or more irritable, anxious, upset) and the quality of their sleep. Nanit cameras were used to examine sleep behaviors and patterns. Parents also weighed in via questionnaires. The study included 600 infants and sleep data from over 4,000 nights.

Top 3 Takeaways:

  1. Lower sleep quality (less sleep, more active sleep cycles, and more wake-ups during the night) was associated with increased irritability and a decrease in the ability to self-regulate.
  2. More active physical bedtime and during-the-night comforting from caregivers (rocking, hand holding, breastfeeding or bottle feeding) appeared to be associated with lower quality sleep and more irritability.
  3. Infants with the ability to go to sleep on their own tended to sleep better and longer overall, which is associated with decreased irritability.

Creating an Independent Sleeper

Who: Dr. Aly Suh, Sungshin Women's University, South Korea

Topic: Insights from a psychological intervention to change the way you think about your child’s sleep to sleep more and better

Gist: Dr. Suh’s study explored the idea that how parents think and feel about their child’s sleep may influence how parents help their children at bedtime and during the night. These actions may also affect the quality of a child’s sleep. The research followed 38 children, aged 6 months to 24 months, and compared Nanit sleep data to parents’ feedback on a survey.

Top 3 Takeaways: 

  1. Parents in South Korea and some other Eastern countries are less likely to use Behavioral Sleep Interventions (methods that help a child learn how to self-soothe) than parents in Western countries.
  2. Worrying about how sleep interventions (or sleep training) might affect a child could cause parents to act in ways that inadvertently interfere with their child’s sleep. 
  3. Helping to educate parents about children and sleep can help children and their parents sleep longer and better.

An Ounce of Intervention

Who: Dr. Liat Tikotzky, Ben Gurion University, Israel

Topic: Employing the 'Nanit' system for studying the effectiveness of behavioral sleep intervention in infants

Gist: Dr. Tikotzky’s study examined the effects of parental involvement when infants have trouble going to sleep at bedtime and wake up during the night. Researchers used Nanit data and video footage to see how babies’ sleep behaviors changed in relation to parents’ visits and different types of interventions.

Top 3 Takeaways: 

  1. Babies learned to settle down and fall asleep on their own. 
  2. For parents who are trying to help their baby learn to self soothe, it helps to stay consistent with the level of interaction (for example, visiting the crib, but not taking the baby out of the crib).
  3. A video monitor can be a great resource and comfort in helping parents and researchers see a baby’s progress as they’re learning something new, like how to self soothe.

New Daily Mantra: It may take some time, but my child can learn to fall asleep on their own.

Falling asleep independently is a valuable skill, one that will help your baby sleep better and longer—which means you sleep better and longer too! There are many ways to help your little one learn how–choose what feels right to your family and remember that consistency is key. 

Nanit’s monitors and Insights app can also help; letting you track and understand your baby’s sleep patterns and behaviors and offering you personalized tips. Nanit can also help you pinpoint which sleep training methods may work best for your family. Be patient and open to different ideas, and eventually, you’ll all be sleeping soundly!

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Our primary objective is to furnish readers with the most current, trustworthy, and actionable information concerning a host of parenting topics. We strive to empower our readers to make informed decisions by offering comprehensive and respected insights.

In pursuit of transparency and credibility, our articles incorporate credible third-party sources, peer-reviewed studies, and abstracts. These sources are directly linked within the text or provided at the bottom of the articles to grant readers easy access to the source material.


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.