As a new mom or dad, nothing is more important than getting a good night's sleep. But as many first-time parents quickly discover, this is often easier said than done. In the first few months of my baby's life, I tried everything from swaddling to rocking, but nothing seemed to help her sleep through the night. That is, until I discovered the secret to helping my baby sleep more soundly: a weighted sleep sack.
From the first night I tried it, I knew I had stumbled upon something truly special. My baby seemed to calm down more quickly and fall asleep faster than before. She slept more soundly throughout the night and cried much less. As I learned more about the science behind weighted sleep sacks, it became clear that this was no coincidence. Now, I can't imagine life without our trusty weighted sleep sack, and I'm excited to share its benefits with other parents who are struggling to help their babies sleep better.
The Science Behind Baby Sleep
Newborn sleep patterns are often erratic and can be difficult to predict, leaving many parents feeling sleep-deprived and overwhelmed. However, understanding how and why babies sleep can help parents better guide their infants towards a healthier sleep routine. The National Sleep Foundation advises that newborns sleep for a total of 14 to 17 hours per day, waking often to feed, while infants aged 3 to 11 months require 12 to 15 hours of sleep each day, with more consolidated sleep at night.
During sleep, a baby's body and brain undergo crucial developmental changes, including the promotion of memory formation and the release of growth hormones. Therefore, ensuring that infants get enough quality sleep is crucial for their overall growth and development.
However, a baby's sleep pattern can be influenced by various factors, such as temperature, noise levels, and physical activity. Newborns in particular may struggle to fall asleep without the constant movement and consolation that they experienced in the womb.
The first few months of an infant's life is often marked by sudden awakenings throughout the night, which can make it challenging for new parents to get the rest they need (believe me, I know!).
As parents, we all know the importance of good sleep for our little ones. But why is sleep so crucial for babies? During sleep, a baby's body and brain undergo crucial developmental changes, such as the promotion of memory formation and the release of growth hormones. Ensuring that infants get enough quality sleep is therefore essential for their overall growth and development.
There are many factors that can affect a baby's sleep pattern, including temperature, noise levels, and physical activity, and newborns in particular may struggle to fall asleep without the constant movement and consolation that they experienced in the womb.
As well as these factors, babies and parents can also suffer with common sleep issues, such as difficulty falling asleep, frequent waking at night, and napping during the day rather than at night. These issues can be stressful for parents and can impact the overall quality of family life.
Enter weighted sleep sacks. Weighted sleep sacks are designed to mimic the sensation of a comforting hug, applying gentle pressure across a baby's body to provide a sense of security and calmness that can help them sleep more soundly. By providing a deep touch pressure, a weighted sleep sack can help reduce cortisol levels in the baby's blood, a hormone that can cause anxiety and stress. This can create an environment that's better suited for falling and staying asleep, leading to longer and deeper sleep cycles for both babies and parents alike.
What are Weighted Sleep Sacks?
Weighted sleep sacks are a relatively new concept that have become increasingly popular among new parents. These are sleep sacks that are designed to mimic the feeling of a warm, safe, and comforting hug for the baby using the principle of touch pressure.
These sacks are like a wearable blanket and usually contain small weights evenly spread across the fabric, which provide just enough pressure on the baby's body while they are sleeping. This touch can activate the same natural response in the baby's brain that they would have received through a human touch, a concept called Deep Touch Pressure.
Weighted sleep sacks can be helpful for babies who might have difficulty calming themselves down to sleep or even staying asleep. The pressure applied by the sacks stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, which helps regulate breathing and heart rate. It also causes the release of serotonin - a mood stabilizer and precursor of the sleep hormone melatonin. This can help your little one relax into a deeper, more restful sleep.
Additionally, the sensation of a weighted sleep sack can offer a familiar environment that simulates the feeling of being back in the womb. This can help newborns and younger infants sleep more comfortably without feeling insecure or exposed while they are in the crib.
The addition of a weighted sleep sack to your baby's sleep routine can be an effective way to help babies fall and stay asleep longer. The touch pressure they offer has been proven to have calming effects on the body, thus reducing the baby's stress levels, and in turn helping them sleep better.
The Benefits of Weighted Sleep Sacks
Weighted sleep sacks can offer numerous benefits for babies, including helping them sleep more soundly, cry less, and calm down more quickly. These benefits can also contribute to an overall improvement in the quality of life for parents as their baby gets the rest they need. A sleeping baby is a happy parent!
Several studies have shown that the use of weighted sleep sacks can help calm babies and promote longer and more restful sleep. In one study conducted in 2018, researchers found that infants slept for longer periods in the night when they used a weighted sleep sack than when they used a regular sleep sack or swaddling. The pressure applied by the weighted sleep sacks helped reduce disruptive movements and promote a calmer, more peaceful sleep environment for babies. This, in turn, allowed parents to sleep more restfully and for longer periods of time.
Another study published in 2020 found that babies who slept with weighted blankets had reduced levels of cortisol, the hormone responsible for stress, which led to more relaxed sleep. The study suggested that this reduction in cortisol and deeper sleep can lead to a more positive mood and less irritability in infants.
Weighted sleep sacks can also be helpful in reducing the frequency of night-time wakings and crying intensity. Babies who have difficulty getting to sleep or calming themselves at bedtime may benefit from the sense of security and comfort provided by a weighted sleep sack.
On top of these benefits, using a weighted sleep sack like the halo sleep sack can help optimize a healthy sleep routine for your baby. Providing a consistent and comfortable sleep environment can help your baby fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer while promoting the healthy growth and development they need in their first critical months of life.
Sleep Sacks and SIDS
Weighted sleep sacks have become popular among parents to help their babies sleep better and longer. But did you know that they may also have a positive impact on reducing the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)?
SIDS is the unexplained death of an otherwise healthy infant under one year of age, usually during sleep. While the exact cause of SIDS is still unknown, researchers suggest that certain sleep factors may increase the risk of SIDS, such as sleeping on the stomach or with loose bedding.
Weighted sleep sacks offer a safer sleep option for babies. The snug fit of a weighted sleep sack can prevent babies from rolling onto their stomachs and can also reduce the chance of suffocation. In addition, the gentle pressure applied by the weighted sleep sack can have a calming effect on a baby's nervous system, helping them sleep more peacefully and reducing the risk of SIDS.
Research has also shown that the use of a weighted sleep sack can help regulate a baby's body temperature, another factor that may play a role in SIDS. Babies who are too hot or too cold during sleep are at a higher risk for SIDS, and a weighted sleep sack can help maintain a comfortable body temperature throughout the night.
Furthermore, some studies have suggested that using a weighted sleep sack may decrease the risk of SIDS by up to 50%. This is a significant finding that highlights the importance of safe sleep practices, including the use of weighted sleep sacks.
In conclusion, not only do weighted sleep sacks offer numerous benefits for babies, such as better sleep and less crying, they may also lower the risk of SIDS. By providing a comforting and safe sleep environment, weighted sleep sacks can give parents peace of mind knowing that their baby is sleeping soundly and safely.
Choosing the Right Weighted Sleep Sack for Your Baby
For an in-depth guide to finding the best weighted sleep sack for you and your baby, check out my guide below:
When it comes to choosing a weighted sleep sack for your baby, there are several factors that you should consider. These include the weight of the sleep bag, the size and material used, as well as any additional features such as removable weights or adjustable sizes. Here is an overview of each factor:
When shopping for a weighted sleep sack, it's important to consider the weight itself. The weight should be evenly distributed throughout the sack to promote safe sleeping habits and prevent overheating. Look for sacks with smaller weight increments for more precise sizing and a better fit.
The weight of the weighted sleep sack will vary depending on what is recommended for your baby’s age and weight range. Generally speaking, other sleep sacks come in weights ranging from 2 lbs to 12 lbs and up to 30 lbs (for toddlers).
It is important to choose a weighted sleep sack that will fit your baby comfortably without being too tight or loose. Different sizes are available to accommodate different heights and body types so make sure to measure your baby before purchasing.
Preemie/Newborn: for babies up to 17 inches long and 6-7 pounds
- 0–6 Months: for babies 17–24 inches long, 7–13.5 pounds
- 6–12 Months: for babies 24–29 inches long, 13.5−18 pounds
- 12+ Months: for toddlers over 29 inches in length and 18+ pounds
Most weighted sleep sacks are made of breathable materials like organic cotton or bamboo for comfort and air circulation. Some models also come with a warm fleece liner for extra insulation during colder months. You can consider whether the temperature where you live requires sleeveless sleep sacks (or arms out sleep sack) or more cosy ones with removeable sleeves such as halo sleep sacks to keep baby's arms and baby warm.
If you are looking for more flexibility, some weighted sleep sacks come with removable weights or adjustable sizes so you can customize the pressure applied by the sack according to your baby’s needs. Additionally, some models come with extra features like sound machines or aromatherapy diffusers which can help promote better comfort and relaxation while sleeping.
Other Tips for Helping Your Baby Sleep
In addition to using a weighted sleep sack, there are other tips that you can use to create an optimal sleep environment for your baby and promote better rest. These include:
Establishing a consistent bedtime routine
Creating a consistent bedtime routine is one of the best ways to signal your baby’s body that it’s time to sleep. A simple but effective routine could include taking a warm bath, reading stories together, or placing them in their weighted sleep sack and playing soft music or white noise in the background.
Using white noise machines
White noise machines can provide essential background sound to block out distracting or disruptive noises from outside the room. You can even choose from different types of sounds like nature noises, soothing lullabies, and more.
Making sure the room is conducive to sleep
When getting ready for bedtime, make sure that the temperature in the bedroom is just right (not too hot or cold) and that there is minimal light and no screens present (this includes TVs and mobile devices). Additionally, you may want to sprinkle some lavender oil onto your baby’s pillowcase as its scent has been known to promote relaxation and better sleep.
Weighted sleep sacks provide a safe and comfortable way to help your baby sleep more soundly throughout the night. The best sleep sacks are designed to mimic the feeling of being held and can help promote deeper and longer sleep. If you think that a weighted sleep sack may be beneficial for your baby, we encourage you to try it out and see if it helps improve their sleeping patterns.
If you are still unsure about using the best sleep sack, be sure to check out our other blog posts on this topic such as “Choosing the Best Weighted Sleep Sack for Your Baby”, “The Science Behind Weighted Blankets”, and “Tips for Establishing a Bedtime Routine”.