The Secrets of Sleep - Top Tips for Tired Parents | Scandibørn

The Secrets of Sleep - Top Tips for Tired Parents

7 min read

The Secrets of Sleep...

I’m sure most of us would admit to needing a little more sleep.
But, as a new parent and during those early years with little ones, that five letter word can certainly seem somewhat of an enigma. 
Luckily, for us sleep deprived parents, there are specialists on hand to help.
We sat down with sleep expert Jenna Wilson of Little Dreams Consulting, to help dispel some common myths.
Here she shares her top tips for a satisfying slumber, for grown ups and little ones alike.

Hush Little Baby...

Jenna set up Little Dreams Consulting 4 years ago, following ten years working in Childcare Law. She has trained with Sleep Sense and The Sleep Charity (UK) and has attended a multitude of courses with the NSPCC and The Lullaby Trust.



Jenna is also the baby and child sleep expert for the Beingwell family - a team of experts with the purpose of helping people to live better lives through scientifically proven wellbeing practices. You can find out more on their amazing work here.

Her articles have featured in The Telegraph, The Times, regional ITV News and she’s a regular guest on BBC radio Bristol.

With three young children of her own, she’s certainly no novice when it comes to baby and children's sleep, and knows just how hard it can be to not get enough of it.

Jenna is instantly warm and friendly with an empathic nature. She explains the whole ethos behind Little Dreams is to share her knowledge and expertise with other families, allowing them to get a better night’s sleep and to start enjoying the time they spend together.

So what makes Little Dreams different? She explains, “We help you to guide your child through his or her sleep journey,  teaching them how to fall asleep and also teaching you how to support them as they do it”.

Top Tips for a Silent Night


The following tips are ideal for anyone with babies and young children from around 4-36 months.

  • Children need to learn to sleep on their own without relying on anything ( ‘props’) so try and allow them to fall asleep without ‘doing something’ to help.
  • Be consistent with however you choose to help your little one to sleep. Changing things daily won’t help your little one learn anything and you may end up in more of a pickle as they are confused. Little body clocks need time to adjust to any changes.
  • Consider an early bedtime if your little one is not sleeping well – overtiredness can cause more night waking and early morning waking too.
  • Keep an eye on awake times between naps and bedtime. If your little one is awake too long, sleep will be even more difficult for them.
  • Have the same routine for bedtime and ensure it is not more than 20-30 minutes (although don’t cut short a feed to fit it in). This is to ensure your little one does not get overtired and also avoids them getting a ‘second wind’ right before bed. Try to include some quiet play time in a dim room for 10-15 minutes before starting the bedtime routine too.
  • Have a short nap time routine, literally a few minutes, and try to ensure a feed doesn’t form part of this routine. It should be done in ‘daytime’ to help your little one fall asleep independently.
  • Don’t skip naps, little ones who are overtired are more likely to wake in the night and early in the morning.

    For some further bedtime reading, head on over to the Little Dreams site where you can find a plethora of guides on specific areas of sleep for your mini dreamers, including advice on twins, school age kids and much more.

    It’s worth mentioning here that, though these tips are most definitely aimed at helping us all to enjoy a more peaceful night's slumber,  Jenna is very keen to point out that if whatever you are currently doing is working for your family, then don’t go changing. 

    If you have a newborn and are looking for advice, their sleep is somewhat different, so we would recommend the following article as an absolute must read: The importance of a good routine part 1 - newborn tips - Little Dreams Consulting.

    Dream a Little Dream.

    Now, time for some sleep myth busting for babies. We put Jenna to the test with some of the most common misconceptions that often crop up in parenting circles.

    Your baby will just sleep when they are tired.

    Oh if only this were true! Some babies may well find it easier to figure out how to sleep and may be well rested but, if your little one is tired and doesn’t know that, they are likely to be upset, grouchy and find it even harder to fall asleep.

    "My baby just doesn’t seem to need/like sleep".

    Although every little one is different, it is believed that less than 1% of the population need less sleep than the recommended levels, so, if your little one is upset when it comes to sleep it could be down to their sleep skills and also how tired they are. Naps in particular are based upon ‘sleep pressure’ (tiredness) so if your little one is not awake for long enough, or they have been awake too long, they really won’t want to go to sleep without some help.

    If you keep your baby up longer, or don’t let them nap much, they’ll sleep better at night.

    I’m afraid this one is a myth! Little ones who are overtired (from not enough daytime sleep or too long before bed) are more likely to wake in the night and early in the morning (early being before 6am). This is, at least in part, down to the hormones we secrete to wake us in the morning. If our little ones already have too many of these hormones, from being overtired, they won’t need as much to wake them in the morning and will wake early! To resolve this make sure you have the right awake times before their naps, and bedtime, and the correct amount of daytime sleep.

    Fill your baby up with formula/wean early and they will sleep much better.

    It’s a common misconception that what all babies need to sleep better is more food or some formula. If they are waking from true hunger and they are having solids then increasing them gently may help but (and it is a big but) if your little one is not sleeping independently in the first place and needs a breast/bottle feed to get back to sleep, it won't make much difference at all to how well they sleep.

    Don’t put your baby down in a dark room to nap so they can tell the difference between night and day.

    Newborns need to learn the difference between night and day, and they can learn this within the first few weeks of life. Once they’re a little older they will find lighter rooms very stimulating, so we would suggest popping little ones older than this down in a dark room (being mindful that they should be in the same room as you until the age of 6 months). Don’t worry - babies are not afraid of the dark. This is a learned fear which develops much later in toddlerhood so don’t worry that your little one is scared because it is dark.

     Never wake a sleeping baby.

    As a general rule we wouldn’t suggest waking your sleeping baby, especially to ‘encourage a longer lunchtime nap’ The tricky time can come when your little one is napping for too long in the day and/or making up for a bad night during their naps. So, if total naptime is starting to have a negative impact on overnight sleep, consider rousing your little one from their nap. The trick here is to do it gently. Try opening the blinds and curtains and removing blankets/opening Gro bags. This will allow them to rouse when they come into a lighter stage of sleep and will mean they wake in a much better mood too!Image courtesy of _mrs.villalpando

     Image courtesy of _mrs.villalpando

    A last thought for all those bleary eyed parents out there. The good news is that the sleepless nights really won’t last forever and even better, for more problematic sleepers and for specific sleep issues and concerns, help is on hand in the shape of amazing people like Jenna and her team. 

    Now you are now fully armed with these golden nuggets of advice, we really hope you can look forward to some better sleep for all the family. 

    For some nursery and kids room inspiration..
    And, you can shop our gorgeous interiors collections too. From space theme, safari prints and gender neutral spaces. 
    To speak to Jenna, you can book a free 15-minute consultation (or an appointment), by calling her on  07572 309404 or 01275 546919 or email
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