Overcoming Sleep Deprivation (Doubled!)

Written by: Kelly Baron

As a psychologist who treats sleep disorders, I think about sleep every day. But when I became a parent of twins, my interest in sleep took a new direction.

Now what? When and how to get started with good sleep habits

By the time the twins were about eight weeks old (adjusted age, since they were preemies), we were exhausted from the chaos and ready to set up good sleep habits. I knew the basics (bath, bottle, book, then kiss goodnight) but I didn’t know how and when to start. I decided that bedtime would be between 7 and 8 p.m., since fussiness is often a sign of sleepiness.

Night 1: Bath, bottle, snuggle and a few pages of a book. I put the twins down drowsy but awake, kissed them goodnight and walked out. To my surprise, they both fell asleep (but my son woke after 30 minutes).

Night 2: They both fell asleep and stayed asleep.

Night 3: My son slept, but my daughter took a while to fall asleep. And that’s how it went—better but far from consistent. It was a good start though!

The key points to starting a bedtime routine:

  • Set a bedtime when you see signs of sleepiness (fussiness, yawning, etc.).
  • Develop a simple routine.
  • Put the infant in the crib drowsy but awake.
  • Try not to get frustrated if it doesn’t work immediately.

Special considerations for multiples

  • Don’t tiptoe around to avoid waking the other twin. It’s better to get them used to crying now.
  • Synchronize their sleep and feeding schedules by waking the other twin to eat when one wakes up to eat.

The next frontier: sleep training (around four or five months). Stay tuned!

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Posted on December 16, 2011 at 10:11 AM