Sleep is the one thing all parents wish they’d get more of. The minute you bring your little bundle of joy home, the luxurious eight hours of sleep you once enjoyed feels like a world away. In fact, getting a decent amount of sleep feels like it’s as rare as finding gold dust once baby comes along.
Getting a decent night’s sleep has been a problem that parents have experienced for decades. However, there’s one advantage to being a parent in the 21st century and that’s technology!
Thanks to the wonders of smartphones and tablets, there’s excellent apps parents can use to help with all kinds of baby issues. One type of app which is proving especially popular is sleep tracking.
So how do these sleep tracking apps work and what benefits can they provide?
What Are Sleep Tracking Apps?
Sleep tracking apps are designed to help you measure how much sleep your little one is getting, along with how often they sleep. This allows you to establish any patterns and issues which may need addressing.
When you’re half asleep and dealing with baby wailing in the middle of the night, it’s difficult to remember what time it was or why they woke in the first place by the time you wake up. So, being able to easily track this information on your phone can be a great help.
There are literally hundreds of different apps out there. Some are even free to use, though they may not come with as many features as the paid ones.
The Benefits Of Infant Sleep Tracking
So, you know what sleep tracking is, but why is it useful? Well, when used correctly, these apps can help you to:
- Detect patterns of behavior
- Optimize sleep routines
- Ensure both you and baby get enough sleep
- Take action right away to reduce sleep issues
By detecting how often baby wakes up, when and why they wake up, it can really help you to establish a better routine. If for example, they are waking up hungry shortly after you’ve put them to bed, it could be that you need to start introducing pre-bed feeds. Or, if they are waking up frequently throughout the night, it could be a sign they are sleeping too much during the day.
Once you know what is causing the frequent wake-ups, you can then make necessary changes to reduce sleep disruption. This in turn ensures you and baby are getting enough sleep. When baby is getting enough sleep, you’ll also notice a huge change in behavior during the day. They won’t be as tired, so they’ll be less likely to make a fuss, which as you know makes a huge difference to the day!
Sleep tracking apps allow you to not only detect potential issues, but address them straight away. This helps you to stop potentially bad habits before they become a problem. As you gain a better understanding of your little one’s sleeping pattern, you’ll also feel a lot more reassured and less likely to worry during the night, helping to regulate your own sleep pattern.
How To Choose The Best App
So, now you know the benefits of sleep tracking, the question is how do you know which app is right for you? With so many different ones to choose from, it can be difficult making the best decision.
The main things you need to consider are:
- Who will be using the app
- Which device and platform you’re using
The cost is obviously one of the main things to consider. Should you pay for one or are the free apps just as good? The answer is it depends on what you’re looking for.
If all you need is a simple basic sleep app, which allows you to schedule naps along with useful advice on infant sleep, a free app will fit you just fine. However, if you’re looking for an app which offers numerous extra features such as tools to help get baby to sleep, in-depth sleep analysis and baby monitoring, a paid app is going to be much more beneficial. The cost varies, but even the best sleep tracking apps cost less than $5 so you won’t have to spend a fortune to benefit from these additional features.
Another useful thing to consider is who will be accessing the app. Do you want to be able to sync it with your partner’s phone so they also have access to the information? Not all apps allow you to do this, so you’ll need to shop around if this is a feature you need.
You’re also going to need to consider the device and platform you’d prefer to use the app on. Some apps are designed specifically for certain platforms such as Android or iOS. There’s also parenting smart watches you can invest in, rather than phone apps. So, it’s important to look for apps which fit your specific technical requirements.
Finally, it’s really helpful to read reviews from actual parents. Some sites which list the “top infant sleep tracking apps” are a little biased. So, always pay attention to customer reviews.
Using The Apps To Create A Sleep Log
Once you’ve chosen a good infant sleep tracking app, to get the most benefits, it helps to create a sleep log. This can comprise of a sleep patterns chart which highlights information such as:
- What times baby wakes up
- How many naps they have and how long they nap for
- Whether baby was happy or upset when they woke up
Sleep apps can tell you how long baby sleeps for, and some even provide you with space to write personalized notes such as:
“Put baby down for a nap at 1:45pm until 2:20pm. Went to sleep quickly, woke up grumpy”.
If the app doesn’t allow you to keep notes, you can always create an old fashioned written sleep log.
After you have a few days’ worth of sleep notes, you’ll start to see whether there’s a pattern. You’ll easily see from your own notes whether anything needs to be changed. For example, does there seem to be a time where your baby naps for longer and wakes up happier? You can use the sleep log to experiment with different nap and bedtimes to see which one works best.
Overall, infant sleep tracking is a fantastic idea and there are so many great apps out there which can help. By making changes to baby’s routine as early as possible, it really helps you to stamp out any potential bad habits before they begin.