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with Heather Gilmore, MSW, LLMSW, BCBA

5 Environmental Modifications & Activities to Help Baby Sleep Better

Young infants sleep a lot but they certainly don’t usually sleep on their parents’ sleep schedule. As babies grow they need less sleep but still may not always sleep at the times that are most ideal for the family. To help a baby sleep better, to help them adjust to the expectations of sleep that exist within their family and society, you can try the following modifications to the environment.

  1. Let in natural light during the day and make it dark at bedtime. Exposing the baby to natural light, such as by opening curtains, during daytime hours when you want your baby to be awake can help your baby’s circadian rhythm, their internal clock, to learn to sync with yours. This is also true for nighttime hours. If you make it darker in the baby’s environment a little bit before you want your baby to go to bed, this can help your baby’s internal clock begin to recognize when they are supposed to settle down for sleep.
  2. Turn off electronic devices for a period of time before bedtime. When babies (just like other children and adults) watch electronic devices like TV before bed, they don’t tend to sleep as well as people who don’t have this habit.
  3. Avoid making eye contact or even talking much to your baby during nighttime wakings. Speaking to your baby, even softly, and making eye contact with your baby can stimulate your baby to being more awake and having a greater difficulty with falling asleep.
  4. Have a consistent bedtime routine. When you establish a bedtime routine and arrange the routine with the same activities day after day, your baby associates this chain of events with becoming sleepy and falling asleep. For instance, you could read a book to your baby, change his diaper, listen to some soft music, and then feed your baby before putting him into bed.
  5. Give some level of skin-to-skin contact to your baby. Giving skin-to-skin contact just before bed can help make your baby feel more secure and comforted and can reduce stress in your baby which can support better sleep. This contact may be in the form of gently rubbing your infants arms or legs (like a light massage), putting your baby to your chest and rocking them for a short period of time, or you might just consider giving your baby some physical contact without direct skin-to-skin contact.

This article presented five activities that may help an infant sleep better, especially a newborn or young infant.

However, be sure to consider your own situation and consult with your doctor for recommendations that apply to your baby as this article is for informational purposes only and does not substitute for individual healthcare or medical guidance.

Reference: Dewar, G. (2018). 15 Evidence-Based Baby Sleep Tips. Retrieved 4/29/2020 from

5 Environmental Modifications & Activities to Help Baby Sleep Better

Heather Gilmore, MSW, BCBA

Heather is a freelance writer, Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA), and social worker. Heather takes interest in topics related to parenting, children, families, personal development, health and wellness, applied behavior analysis, as well as Autism, ADHD, Depression and Anxiety. Contact Heather if you would like to inquire about obtaining her freelance writing services. You can view more articles and resources from Heather at and email her at [email protected] You can also advertise your autism services at one of Heather's websites: Heather is the developer of the "One-Year ABA Parent Training Curriculum."


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APA Reference
Gilmore, H. (2020). 5 Environmental Modifications & Activities to Help Baby Sleep Better. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 18, 2020, from