Learn how to sleep like a baby

Newborn
A newborn will sleep approximately 16 to 20 hours per day. The length of each sleep session is affected by whether your baby breastfeeds or formula feeds. Breastfed babies wake up every 2-3 hours, while formula fed newborns wake every 3-4 hours. A newborn’s sleep cycle is very different from an adult’s. They have shorter cycles with more light sleep than deep sleep, which is why they spend most of their days drowsing way. Tip on getting baby to sleep: to ensure that your baby doesn’t wake up when put in bed after sleeping in your arms, wait until the baby enters deep sleep.

1 to 2 Months
Your newborn will start taking 1-3 hour naps during the day, and will sleep only about 15-16 hours per day. If your child sleeps for more than 3 or 4 hours during the day, it might be good to wake her up, as this will allow for more sleep during the night.

3 to 4 Months
The 15 hours your baby sleeps will break into 9 nighttime hours and 6 hours throughout the day (about 2-3 hours each). Almost 40% of the baby’s sleep is REM sleep.

6 Months
Your baby may be sleeping through the night for about 11 hours. She’ll still be taking one and a half to two and a half hour naps. After about 6 months, the baby’s sleep patterns won’t change much. Naps will get slightly shorter and parents and child will have restful sleep throughout the night.

1 Year
At one year, the baby’s REM sleep drops to 25%, which is almost equivalent to the percentage an adult experiences. It’s believed that REM sleep stimulates the brain and helps neural connection growth. That’s why your newborn’s sleep was dominated by REM sleep.

So that your baby can get the best night’s sleep possible, check out some of our ideas for nursery decor.

I am a neuroscientist, computer scientist and an entrepreneur, with a love for diversity! Currently finishing my PhD at Rutgers University – Newark.

Sleep like a baby. It’s what we all strive for, now that we know how important sleep is. It’s that feeling that you have just come out of the deepest, most pleasant, and refreshing moments of your life, and not a sound, a light, or care in the world could have disturbed you. One natural way to get that feeling is through the build-up of sleep pressure, or slow waves (brain rhythms), which involves maximal use of your brain when you are awake. This is something babies “learn” to do over the first year of life.

Learn how to sleep like a baby

Newborns sleep about 16 hours a day, but as they age they develop a homeostatic mechanism that balances their increasing ability to stay awake and their ongoing need for sleep. The circadian rhythm of sunlight and darkness helps to drive one part of this mechanism. There are specific neurons located in our eyes that uses the presence of blue light to inhibit the production of melatonin, a hormone, which helps to induce sleepiness. This fairly recent discovery, and supporting research, likely motivated Apple to implement the “Night Shift” feature on our devices, which filters blue light after sunset. The developing circadian rhythm is highly influenced by environment, and balanced by an internal system of neuronal activity. This involves a group of brain rhythms known as slow waves, or delta and theta (in infants) frequency waves, which are the other part of the mechanism, and are a measure of sleep pressure.

Learn how to sleep like a baby

Slow waves have gained much attention in our understanding of the role of sleep in our everyday lives. They may be a key component to understanding the development of brain-based disorders including schizophrenia, depression, ADHD, autism, and even some chronic pain disorders like fibromyalgia. In 1982, a link between schizophrenia and slow waves during developmental sleep, was made by Irwin Feinberg at UC Davis. This was related to his 1967 report that the magnitude of slow waves measured from the scalp using EEG, increases, peaks, and then decreases across development (an inverted U shape), which he proposed as a measure of synapse pruning in the developing brain. More recently (2003), this suggestion has been advanced into the Synaptic Homeostasis Hypothesis (SHY), by researchers Giulio Tononi and Chiara Cirelli (review article, Scientific American article). In support of this theory, researchers have been able to demonstrate that slow waves act at a local level in different parts of the brain, by recording them from the scalp using a high resolution technology (dense EEG).

This new sensor technology is actually much easier and more efficient to apply than the standard electrodes. It’s a stretchy cap, with wet sponges, that slips onto your head. Thanks to this new technology and clever research study design, there is now evidence in humans that slow waves during sleep occur at different locations in the brain and at different magnitudes, depending on how much you have used that part of the brain while awake prior to the sleep recording. In babies, and children, we can now use this harmless, noninvasive and high-resolution technology to understand how sleep slow waves relate to both brain and skill development, and how it is different in kids who have a brain-based disorder, or who may be at risk for developing such a disorder. For more information on this research, see my current crowdfunding campaign: http://experiment.com/sleep-development.

Tips for achieving more restful sleep and avoiding insomnia.

Learn how to sleep like a baby

I’m not one of those people who falls asleep as soon as her head hits the pillow. In fact, as my myotonic dystrophy has progressed, I’ve had more sleepless nights than I care to admit. After mentioning this to my doctor, he suggested I attend a month-long sleep education course offered by Kaiser Permanente to members. Intrigued by the concept, I eagerly signed up.

The first session was crowded, but over the month six of us remained, and we bonded like a support group. The facilitator, a licensed therapist who admitted to having her own sleep challenges, guided us through our workbooks and homework assignments.

The goal was to wean us off sleep medication and teach us good sleep hygiene as well as cognitive-behavioral techniques that counter insomnia. Although I haven’t had to take sleeping pills, I keep a prescription handy just in case. I also wanted to find out what else I could do to have fewer restless nights.

Over the years, I’ve modified my night-time routine. I no longer eat or drink within three hours of bedtime. I’ve moved all phones and computers out of my bedroom, and I turn down light and sound an hour or more before retiring. I also indulge in a hot bath with soothing essential oils just before slipping under the covers.

Of course, what works for me may not work for everyone. I admit to watching television in bed for 30 minutes before I drift off, and using my last ounce of energy to flick off the remote.

Tracking Sleep and Changing Thoughts

Throughout the course, we kept a daily sleep log, recording what time we got into bed, what time we fell asleep, how often we woke up, how long we were awake each time, and finally, how many hours we slept.

During the second class we learned how to turn negative sleep thoughts—my constants are I’m never going to be able to function at tomorrow’s meeting or I can’t believe what a loser I am not being able to sleep—into positive ones, such as Since I’ve survived nights of insomnia before, I can do it again or My sleep will improve as I learn these behavioral techniques.

Our positive thoughts were based on what we learned and experienced. I noted that my sleepless nights generally occur away from home. Recently I spent an anguished night worrying about a seminar I had the next morning. Surprisingly, my roughly five hours of sleep sufficed, and I was able to pay attention and even interact with strangers.

My own experience of managing on five hours of sleep was corroborated by the instructor saying that needing eight hours of sleep a night may be an exaggeration; in general, healthy adults between the ages of 26 and 64 sleep between six and 10 hours. Our sleep logs revealed to each of us that we were sleeping longer than we imagined.

Limiting the Bedroom to Sleeping

We learned to reserve our beds for sleeping, not ruminating. If we couldn’t fall asleep within 15 minutes, we were instructed to get out of bed and do something calming until we felt drowsy. We were encouraged to go to bed only when drowsy, so as not to associate our beds with trying to fall asleep.

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Rather than lying in bed relaxing and waiting to get drowsy, we learned to intersperse our day with relaxation time. By practicing a mind-body relaxation response during the day we relieved some of our mental and emotional stress and fine-tuned our bodies to respond to breathwork or meditation.

It was a terrific bonding experience to meet others with sleep difficulties. Our instructor reassured us that changing sleep patterns takes time, but most people eventually improve their sleep.

How many hours did you sleep last night? Eight? Six? Four? Two? None? Do you remember the last time you slept like you did when you were a small child and woke up in the morning completely refreshed and raring to go? Sleep is the secret to a healthy, fulfilling life. It is as important as food and drink. But too many people undervalue the importance of sleep and believe that they can “get by” on four or five hours.

People who don’t sleep enough are incapable of fulfilling their potential. Discovering the secrets to better sleep can act as a miraculous cure for so many physical and mental health issues that people suffer from. That’s right! Sleeping better can actually make you happier! Only 21 percent of Americans sleep for eight hours each night. Lifestyle choices are the number one reason why people don’t get enough sleep. By reordering your daily routine and learning healthy habits, you will find that your sleep improves.

In Sleep Like a Baby, you will discover:

The perfect amount of time for you to sleep
Ways how sleeping better can make you a healthier person
The secrets of a sleep-friendly, daily routine
The four most important things to do when you wake up in the morning
The eight foods that will help you sleep like a baby
And much, much more…

You’ve tried everything to sleep. You’ve read several sleep guides. But when it is 2.30 am, you’re still lying there, counting sheep. Yet, sleep deprivation comes from the wrong lifestyle choices. All you need to do is incorporate some simple but magical habits and you fill fall asleep like a baby. So, if you want to discover the secrets to a good night’s sleep, then you should listen to this audiobook!

Learn how to sleep like a baby

I wrote this phrase in my Investment Journal last week.

It was eerily similar to how I felt 12 years ago right before Lehman Brothers went under.

I just wanted to capture that feeling for the next bear market.

Now I promise, I did not pop into your inboxes on a Sunday to tell you some trick about market timing. My personal investing (non) strategy is: Time in the market beats timing the market.

So I just buy on the first of every month. Since 1996. Never sold. 288 straight months. Spanning 3 bear markets.

When things feel scary, I try to boost the monthly amount – but I’m steadfast in never reducing it. But it’s damn hard, which is why I wrote myself the note.

I’ve spoken with so many RadReaders about staying the course (and god forbid, playing offense) during a bear market and here’s what they told me:

“I missed the 2009 rally and the COVID-sell off. Now I’m too scared to jump back in.”

“I know you’re not supposed to say “This time it’s different” – but it just feels different this time.”

“I can’t take these emotional swings. I need to up my cash.”

And then I ask them a question:

Do you know how much would you lose (in $ terms) if the market was down 50%?

It’s a total back of the envelope test. Just some algebra across your various holdings. And of course, all the usual disclaimers about past performance, etc, etc.

I think about that number across all of our assets all the time. Lisa and I discuss it. Not in percentage terms, but in dollar terms.

How would our behavior change, if this were to happen?

Would we regret having paid a premium to live so close to the beach?

Are other parts of our lives at risk, when this happens?

And when the COVID sell-off happened, yes we were still scared just like everybody else.

But we had already “talked through the scenario” and knew we’d probably be ok. Which enabled us to raise the monthly investing amount, when most were decreasing it (or even abandoning it).

Most RadReaders haven’t done this simple math. Let alone had the conversation with their partner.

Now you can do this calculation with:

  • A pen, paper and calculator
  • Any financial aggregator like Personal Capital
  • A spreadsheet

This one number can help you turn down the noise… and dial-up the signal.

For most adults, falling asleep is a simple thing to do. When they feel tired, they go to sleep and that’s that!

Well, the same easy task becomes a really difficult challenge for a baby. An infant must learn certain sleep patterns. I know that this might come as a surprise, but, for newborns, sleep must be learned just like any other skill. And, all new parents understand me when I say that sleep training a child is very frustrating. However, you should try to contain yourself because your little one is way too young to understand your behavior.

According to the author, the Baby Sleep Miracle method can help you offer relief to your little one in an effective and safe manner. Simply put, both you and your child will be able to sleep and rest. There is a wide range of opinions and myths on how to get your baby to sleep. Many people seem to believe that they cannot really control their infants’ sleep patterns but this is wrong.

Another misconception revolves around the fact that one should keep the baby awake during the day in order for the baby to become tired at night and sleep for a longer time. This is both wrong and totally unhealthy for the infant. As an example, you should know that a newborn needs to sleep between 16 and 20 hours every day. Once the baby is 3 months old, the sleeping time decreases to approximately 15 hours per day.

The Baby Sleep Miracle book tries to correct many of the aforementioned misconceptions. The material is based on comprehensive research but the language that the author uses is one that can be easily understood by everybody, without the use of medical or technical jargon.

Being a trained child psychologist, Mary-Ann has a serious medical background and professional expertise. She knows the data and the facts involved in raising a happy and healthy child. Her pediatric psychology experience is longer than two decades so she knows exactly what she is talking about.

Moreover, Mary-Ann has two kids of her own so she also speaks from personal experience. In this guide, she provides instructions that are easy to follow and which will improve your parenting experience. In fact, Baby Sleep Miracle works for everyone but it mostly targets first-time parents.

From her personal experience, the author is familiar with what new moms are going through, especially when their babies don’t want to sleep and can’t stop crying. What’s even worse is that new parents are consumed with guilt out of a feeling of inadequacy because they think they aren’t good enough to take care of their little one. Through this book, Mary-Ann tries to help those parents to overcome these challenges and adjust to these sudden changes.

To create this material, the author has conducted a series of studies at two prestigious institutions: the Center for Sleep Science at Stanford and Harvard Medical School. The first chapter tells you how important is for a newborn to sleep well and how essential this healthy habit is if you want your child to develop properly. Later on, she reveals some proven and effective sleep training methods that will work from birth and up until your kid turns five. Each approach is tailored in such a way to suit the baby’s corresponding growth phase.

It might be called sleep 'training,' but you're really just giving your baby sleep skills they'll benefit from forever.

Learn how to sleep like a baby

Confession: I hate the phrase “sleep training.” Not because it’s a hot-button topic, or because I feel guilty for having done it with both of my daughters. I hate it because the word “training” sounds incredibly harsh compared to what it really is.

Additionally, just those two words, “sleep training,” can conjure up an argument in an online mom group that has over a hundred comments. When I was a brand new, first-time mom with postpartum anxiety, I used to internalize every little comment like this. As a more seasoned mom, I know what works for me, what works for my kids, and I feel utterly unapologetic about all of it.

At best, mommy-shamers are passive-aggressive about sleep training (“I couldn’t do it, I hate hearing my baby cry”—as if any mom enjoys it). At worst, they hurl awful names at you and accuse you of neglect. Those comments help no one. I was crumbling under a cloud of postpartum depression, anxiety, and sleep deprivation and knew something had to give.

By teaching my babies how to sleep for longer stretches (and all night long), I was better rested. They were better rested. We all responded to the routine very well, and my mental health improved because of it.

Here’s the thing we don’t talk about when we’re talking about sleep training: it’s really just teaching. It’s giving your child the gift of self-soothing and sleep skills that will benefit them physically and mentally for the rest of their lives. Sleep training is hard, yes. But parenting under extreme emotional and mental duress is harder—on everyone.

What sleep training is NOT

It’s not abandonment. It’s not neglect. It’s not cruel. For many moms, including myself, it’s necessary.

When you’re teaching your baby to sleep, you’re not letting them cry for hours on end. No matter what method of sleep training you choose (I combined the Ferber and “shush, shush, pat” methods) you don’t just toss your baby in the crib and let them cry all night. That being said, letting them fuss or wail for a few minutes before comforting them isn’t easy—no mom enjoys hearing their baby cry.

But like all things in babyhood, sleep training is temporary. They develop their own self-soothing skills quickly, and when my kids got it down in under a week, I knew those few days were a small price to pay for the gift of good sleep. I was never more than an inch away from their bedroom door, and I know they sensed that. Before I went down the road of sleep training with my second child, I invested in a pair of semi-noise-canceling headphones. I could still hear her, I was still outside her door, but Spotify’s Calm Acoustic playlist helped me remain calm—for my baby and myself. (I didn’t need them long, because she was sleeping from 7 p.m.-7 a.m. in no time. Yes, I know how lucky I am!)

The value of self-soothing

Here’s one way to think of self-soothing that really helped my own perspective. Ask yourself, “How do I fall asleep?” And the answer for many includes a variety of self-soothing tactics. We settle ourselves with a book, a podcast or a TV show. Some of us use sound machines.

The point is, we have a routine where we prepare our bodies to fall asleep. We don’t go and go and go all day until we collapse in a heap on the floor (well, most days, anyway). Why would I expect my baby (or child) to do that when I could teach them how to fall asleep on their own, safely in their own crib?

Babies need sleep. A LOT of it.

Sleep deprivation doesn’t just harm parents. It negatively affects the cognitive and physical development of children and can lead to a range of behavioral issues. Guidelines from the National Sleep Foundation state that infants (4-11 months old) should get between 12 and 15 hours of sleep per day.

A pediatric study published by the American Academy of Pediatrics found that the persistence of infant sleep problems through the preschool years is associated with slightly higher child behavior problems and maternal depression. The study concluded that depressive symptoms are a result, not a cause, of sleep problems.

The study shows better sleep at night means less frequent meltdowns throughout the day, better naps, and better cognitive functioning.

Sleep skills are the gift that keeps on giving

Lack of sleep can cause chaos and destruction in the functionality of your family unit. I’ve been there. I get it. Listening to your baby cry is certainly not easy on any parent. But my husband and I did our research, made a plan, adjusted it to fit our babies’ needs and our own, and we stuck to it.

As Glennon Doyle says, we can do hard things. For us, it took just a few days before our babies were nailing the self-soothing thing. For others, it may take weeks. Is it easy? No. There isn’t much about parenthood that is easy, though. But by giving my babies the gift of learning how to sleep well, I also gave them the gift of the best version of myself. And that, to me, is invaluable.

I think it is fair to say that I am a productivity junkie. I’m always on the quest for the latest and greatest way to get more done, improve my focus, reach my goals, manage my time, master my life – and largely, to get more done and teach you what I learn along the way.

And no matter how many books I have read on the subject, Ted Talks and You Tube videos watched, lectures and workshops attended, tasks lists tried, apps downloaded, bullet journals created (you get the idea) – I can say with great certainty that nothing has more impact on your productivity then how much sleep you are getting.

It All Starts With Sleep.

The amount and quality of sleep that you get directly affects all aspects of your waking life, including your mental sharpness, productivity, emotional balance, creativity, physical vitality, and even your weight. No other activity delivers so many benefits with so little effort!

If you knew how important sleep is for your immune system, stress management, reducing inflammation (which is related to all sorts of health issues including cancer, heart disease and diabetes), weight control, safety (since you are more alert when rested), improved memory, mental health, healthier skin and of course, beauty, maybe you’d make it more of a priority!

You see, feeling good and having an abundance of energy is not something that happens in a vacuum, nor to those that are lucky. It is something that is a result of simple consistent habits that yield some pretty amazing gains. After all, being tired and feeling lousy really sucks. When you’re low on energy, everything feels harder than it should. Your mind feels like sludge, your body like mush and you wind up dragging yourself through the day and you can kiss productivity good-bye.

What is Zapping Your Zzzzs?

I believe that there are two main reasons we’re not getting enough sleep. The first has to do with not making sleep a priority, which in most cases boils down to time management. (It is amazing how easily things can get rearranged when you make getting 7 – 8 hours a night of sleep a priority.)

The second reason is a general ignorance of everyday things that can rob you of your beauty sleep. Take a moment to see if anything on the list below is robbing you of a good night’s sleep.

❒ Too Much Caffeine – especially late in the day (Coffee, Tea, Soda, Chocolate, etc.)

❒ Late Night Snacking

❒ Watching TV, using the computer or reading on devices before going to bed.

❒ Too much light (including alarm clocks, lights from gadgets and outside light)

❒ Pets (especially on the bed)

❒ Snoring partners (and snoring ourselves which could be a sign of sleep apnea. Ask you doctor about this)

Whatever the reason, there are some simple steps you can take to improve your sleep.

10 Ways to Get a Good Night’s Sleep

  • Make sleep a priority . Just as you schedule time for work and other commitments, you should schedule enough time for sleep. Instead of cutting back on sleep in order to tackle the rest of your daily tasks, put sleep at the top of your to-do list and re-order how you spend your waking hours.
  • Aim for at least 7-8 hours every night. Make sure to block off enough time for sleep each night. Consistency is the key. Set a regular bedtime as well as a regular time to wake up.
  • Create a Bedtime Ritual (and stick to a schedule). This could include listening to soft soothing music, a warm bath, reading, lowering the lights and setting the mood for quiet relaxation. Your body and mind will benefit from winding down at the end of the day.
  • Make Your Bed and Bedroom Comfortable. This includes sleeping on a good mattress and comfortable pillows. Create a comfortable and soothing environment conducive to rest and sleep. This means creating a quiet, cool and dark space. You may want to reconsider inviting pets to sleep in your bed!
  • Turn Off Your TV and Computer Devices. Did you know that watching TV, playing games and reading on backlit devices can actually stimulate your mind, rather than relaxing it. Try listening to music or audio books instead, or practicing relaxation exercises such as deep breathing or meditating.
  • Keep a Sleep Diary. Record when you go to bed, when you get up, your total hours of sleep, and how you feel during the day. As you keep track of your sleep, you’ll discover your natural patterns and get to know your sleep needs.
  • Exercise During the Day. Exercise helps promote a good night’s sleep. Try exercising during the day or late afternoon. Exercising too close to bedtime can actually stimulate your system, which can interfere with your sleep.
  • Limit Daytime Naps. Naps are nothing short of delicious. But taking too long of a nap during the day, or naps too close to bedtime can leave you wide away at 2AM! If you are a napper, limit your naps to be between 10 and 30 minutes and try not to nap later than mid afternoon.
  • Manage Stress. When your mind races and worries about everything on your to-do list, personal matters or anything else that keeps you awake at night, it’s a great idea to write it down (whatever is on your mind) before going to bed and tucking that list away until the morning.

Discuss Sleep With Your Doctor. If you are struggling with insomnia, talk with your doctor to investigate what’s at the root of your sleeplessness. It is important to rule out any underlying medical disorders and come up with a strategy to get you back on track.

Learn how to sleep like a baby

As parents we sometimes feel that at the birth of our first child we say “Sayonara” to sleep for the next 20 or so years. While lack of sleep at certain points of parenthood is inevitable and unavoidable –like me right now, for instance. 7 month old teething baby wants to be soothed all hours of the night!–proper sleep is vital to both our long term and short term health.

In his work as a Psychologist, The Husband often has to council people how to get more sleep. Unfortunately, simply wanting to sleep and wishing to sleep sometimes isn’t enough to convince our bodies to give in and just give it a rest!

So, to help you get the best sleep possible, here are 5 ideas to help improve your quantity and quality of sleep:

Learn how to sleep like a baby

  1. Make sure you have the right mattress for your body. Some people sleep better on soft mattresses, some on firm mattresses. Because good sleep is so vital to our proper functioning during our wakeful hours a high quality mattress is a worthwhile investment.
  2. Limit cell phone and tablet use before bed. A study done by the Lighting Research Center found that 2 or more hours of cell phone or tablet use before bed can suppress melatonin production by 23% making it difficult to fall asleep (and stay asleep).
  3. Leave your cell phone outside the bedroom! There are cases where you may need to have your phone near you at all times like if you are on-call at work. But, generally speaking, there is nothing so urgent on our phones that cannot wait until tomorrow. The point being to avoid the temptation to just “check Facebook really quick” or do other tasks should you wake up for a bit in the middle of the nigh. If you absolutely need your phone in your bedroom just resist the urge to turn it on when you hop into bed or when you wake up at night.
  4. While on the subject of technology, if you’re currently having sleep troubles or just can’t seem to get to bed early enough, make sure that you do not have a television in your bedroom. Not only does watching tv in bed keep us up later, it can also disturb our sleep cycles.
  5. Avoid taking long naps during the day. While this may seem counter intuitive, taking long naps during the day can make it difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep at night. Even if your dead tired a nap of 30 minutes or less is your best bet.

And because they know how important a good night’s sleep is, The Mattress Experts at Havertys are giving away 1 Tempur-Pedic pillow each week to a lucky winner! The Mattress Expert Sweepstakes is going on now and runs through 9/2. So hurry over and ENTER THE SWEEPSTAKES now!

For more information and sweepstakes rules visit the Havertys Mattress Expert page.

Did you know Havertys carries top brands like; Sealy, Tempur-Pedic, Stearns & Foster and Serta? Visit havertys.com to find a store near you!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Havertys. The opinions and text are all mine.

A more laissez-faire nighttime philosophy could help you and your baby sleep.

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Learn how to sleep like a baby

The French don’t necessarily sleep train their kids, but that doesn’t mean they can’t teach American parents a thing or two about getting a baby to sleep. After all, Pamela Druckerman, author of the very popular 2012 parenting book Bringing Up Bebe: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting learned plenty about helping her kid sleep from the French using a method similar in some ways to extinction sleep training. In lieu of popular American sleep training methods, Druckerman asked French parents, who seemed to be getting plenty of sleep, to share their wisdom. All it takes, she found, is a bit of a pause.

The Le pause French sleep training method differs from extinction sleep training (cry it out) in the sense that the latter involves blatantly ignoring the child’s cries after they have been put to bed until they eventually fall asleep. French parents don’t race into the baby’s room at the sound of every grunt and whine during the night, according to Druckerman. (But they don’t engage in cry-it-out sleep training either.) Instead, they wait a few minutes to see whether babies will settle on their own, a technique Druckerman calls “the pause.” French parents don’t just ignore their babies when they cry. They tend to listen closely to the sounds their babies make, which helps inform them about when they really need attention, and when babies are just making noises in their sleep.

In other words, “Sometimes you intervene if the baby is persisting, but you’re not forcing your help on the baby at the slightest sound,” says Janet Kennedy, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist, founder of NYC Sleep Doctor, a sleep-consultation service and author of The Good Sleeper: The Essential Guide to Sleep for Your Baby (and You).

Babies unable to self-soothe by 6 months old are unusual in France; in fact, some babies are sleeping through the night — known as “doing their nights” in France — as early as 2 months old, Druckerman wrote. This is practically unheard of in the U.S., where parents are told that generally, babies aren’t capable of self-soothing until they’re at least three months old. But even at four months and beyond — the stage many experts say is fine to start sleep-training if parents want to do it — many American parents are still terrified they’ll inflict emotional damage on their kids if they fail to comfort them immediately at the first signs of distress or discomfort during the night.

One of the studies that stoked this fear, published in 2012, found higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol in both babies and parents of children left to “cry it out” overnight. For every study concluding that letting healthy babies cry it out (also called the extinction method, which means not entering the baby’s room for the duration of the night even if he or she cries repeatedly) is damaging, however, there’s another study countering that it’s not, says Sharon Somekh, MD, a pediatrician in Long Island, New York. And “the pause” isn’t as extreme a sleep-training method as crying it out is anyway. In fact, it has more similarities to “graduated extinction,” a sleep training method that involves waiting longer and longer intervals before going in to comfort babies when they cry.

It’s considered easier on parents, emotionally, so it’s easier to be consistent with, and consistency is important when sleep training babies. Like every other sleep-training method, it has its critics, but there’s research to support it as healthy and effective. In their study published in Pediatrics, researchers who followed up with parents when their babies were 1 year old didn’t see significant differences in parent-child bonding or more behavioral or emotional problems between babies sleep-trained with the graduated extinction method and babies whose parents used “bedtime fading,” a more attachment-style sleep training approach.

In addition to its apparent effectiveness, another appealing aspect of the French method of sleep training is that it’s easy to remember how to do it: Basically, you interfere as little as possible with your baby’s sleep and trust your instincts. With the French method or graduated extinction, babies learn how to self-soothe, which is essential for longer stretches of sleep, she says.

But the reality is that there’s no one sleep-training method that will work for every kid. “The method I recommend parents use largely depends on what they’re capable of doing,” Somekh. “If I see that parents can’t even let their baby cry for a second in my office, they’re not going to be able to let their baby cry for an hour at home. That’s why there are so many sleep-training methods — because parents are all different, and what they can emotionally handle is different.”

In the end, the best sleep training method is going to be the one that is the best match for both parent and child.