How to Sleep Like a Baby: 5 Quick Tips you Can Try Today

5th Dec 2020


I’m pretty sure you’ve heard someone say happily, “I slept like a baby last night!” Perhaps you’ve even said it yourself.

But do you know what it really means to sleep like a baby, or how the saying originated?

Parents, you may be wondering why it’s even a saying, considering the little ones wake up so often!

But do you know the mechanics of babies’ sleep? It’s quite fascinating to learn, and gives some insight into why this saying is such a popular one!

What “Sleep Like a Baby” Means

When someone talks about sleeping like a baby, they mean they had a really great night’s rest.

In fact, the Urban Dictionary describes sleeping like a baby as “passing out, sleeping well and undisturbed until you woke up”.

They also mention that this is “the exact opposite of how babies sleep”. This isn’t necessarily accurate.

When we explore how babies really sleep, it’s much easier to understand why the expression came about! Let’s dive into the details.

How Babies Sleep

Did you know that sleep patterns develop even before we’re born? Yep!

At around the sixth month of pregnancy, the first evidence of REM sleep appears in an unborn baby. A month later, N-REM sleep comes along.

In unborn babies, these are known as active sleep and quiet sleep.

When babies are born, they spend 50% to 80% of their sleep in active sleep, or REM!

By the time the little tykes reach their 3rd birthday, that’s decreased to about 30%. By the time you’re an adult, 20% to 25% of your sleep is spent in REM.

How The Saying Originated

The saying “sleep like a baby” is actually quite convoluted. It sticks around because of a misunderstanding of what deep sleep really is!

There’s a misconception that “deep sleep” and REM sleep are the same thing. Deep sleep is actually the sleep stage right before we get to REM sleep, which is the most active sleeping stage.

During deep sleep, the body heals. The cells are rejuvenated, the body fights illness, and neural pathways are cemented.

It goes without saying that we need more of that rather than less!

“Sleep like a baby” mistakenly assumes that deep sleep is the same as REM sleep. When we wake up feeling refreshed and healthy, we’re feeling good because we got an adequate amount of deep sleep - perhaps more than the average 20 to 25%.

Babies get 80% REM sleep, which most equate to 80% of fantastic rest (because they assume it’s deep sleep).

Are you beginning to understand why “sleeping like a baby” is actually a good thing?


5 Quick Tips to Sleep Like a Baby Tonight

If you’re looking for ways to improve your sleep quality, relieve insomnia, and sleep like a baby, try these tips and tricks!

They won’t necessarily work for everyone, but you may find some value and get some better sleep using them.

#1 - Create a Sleep Schedule

Any parent knows that babies like a schedule, both for sleeping and for feeding! It’s a biological thing to crave routine.

Getting your body into the habit of going to sleep and waking up at the same time every day can help you get more deep sleep.

#2 - Cultivate a Quiet Environment

Have you ever put your baby down to sleep, only to have an unexpected noise wake them right up again as they were dozing off?

A quiet, peaceful environment is essential for restful sleep.

If you need to use a sleep mask to block out light, ear plugs, sleep earphones, or noise-cancelling headphones to deaden sound, or soundproof your room, you’ll rest much better in a quiet, calm environment.

#3 - Lie In the Right Position

You can’t put a baby down to sleep on their stomachs. As adults, we forget to pay attention to how we’re lying!

Lying in the wrong position can cause pain, discomfort, and cause you to wake up more often. Sleeping on your side is the best position for a baby-like sleep.

#4 - Wake Up As Naturally As Possible

Babies don’t use alarm clocks! Of course, many of us don’t have the luxury of waking up whenever we want to, but there are some ways to make the waking up process easier.

Our bodies work on light. We recommend setting a dimmer lamp to begin lighting up about 30 minutes to an hour before you need to wake.

You may still need an alarm. But if you can begin to wake up a little before, you wont have that jolting awake when it goes off.

#5 - Take a Nap If You Need To

Babies don’t try to push through when they’re tired (expect for a hilarious few which you can find on YouTube).

If you feel like you can’t keep your eyes open, take a nap. It’s your body’s way of taking the rest it needs.

Just make sure to set an alarm for 90 minutes maximum to avoid oversleeping!



So, now you know what it truly means to sleep like a baby, you can use the expression without wondering!

Sleeping like a baby is actually something we should all aspire to. Their sleep isn’t disrupted by distractions, worries, or deadlines.

Sleeping like an adult can be hazardous to our health! Follow these 5 tips to improve your sleep and you’ll find yourself getting back to a natural way of resting.

Happy sleeping (like a baby)!