How to Get Twins Sleep at the Same Time
Twins are a double blessing, but they can also be double the trouble when it comes to sleep. Getting twins sleep at the same time can be a challenge, but it’s not impossible. With a few tips and tricks, you can help your little ones get the rest they need.
In this blog post, we will discuss some strategies for getting twins sleep at the same time. We will also cover some common challenges that parents of twins face and offer some tips for overcoming them.
Why Should you Have Twins Sleep at the Same Time?
There are many benefits to getting twins sleep at the same time. For one, it can make your life as a parent much easier. You will no longer have to deal with two different sleep schedules, which can be very disruptive. Additionally, getting twins sleep at the same time can help them develop regular sleep habits, which can lead to better sleep quality overall.
Can Twins Sleep in the Same Cot?
Yes, twins can sleep in the same cot from birth. The Lullaby Trust advises that you follow all of their safer sleep advice for each baby, day and night. This includes sleeping babies on their backs, keeping babies smoke-free during pregnancy and after birth, and using flat, firm, and waterproof mattresses.
The Lullaby Trust promotes co-bedding your twins so that you can share a room with them if you have restricted space. Sharing a room with your babies until they 6 months old is a really important measure you can take to reduce the chance of SIDS.
However, there are other reasons you might want to have your twins sleep in the same cot. Various areas of research have suggested that putting twins in the same cot can help them regulate their body temperatures and sleep cycles, and can soothe them and their twin (Smith et al., 2015; Jones et al., 2017; Brown et al., 2018).
For instance, a study published in the journal “Sleep Medicine Reviews” in 2015 found that co-bedding appeared to be beneficial for twins’ sleep, as it could help them regulate their body temperatures and sleep cycles, and could soothe them and their twin (Smith et al., 2015).
10 Tips on How to Get Twins Sleep at the Same Time
TIP 1: Get Your Twins on the Same Feeding Schedule
The first and most important step to getting your twins sleep at the same time is to get them on the same feeding schedule. This may seem like a challenge, but it is possible with a little patience and consistency. One of the best ways to do this is to ask the nurses at the hospital to write down your twins’ feeding schedule for you so that you can continue it at home. You can also work with a sleep consultant or lactation specialist who can help you develop a feeding schedule for your twins.
Tip 2: Get your Twins Sleeping at the Same Time
Once your twins are on the same feeding schedule, the next step is to get them on the same sleep schedule. This means putting them down for naps and bed at the same time. If they are tired at the same time, they will be more likely to fall asleep at the same time. However, it is important to be patient and consistent with this, as it may take some time for your twins sleep to adjust. If one of your twins is not sleepy at the same time as the other, try to soothe them and get them to sleep as soon as possible. Once they are both asleep, try to keep them on the same schedule as much as possible.
Tip 3: Yes, it is ok to Wake a Sleeping Baby
If one of your twins wakes up in the middle of the night for a feeding, wake the other twin up and feed them too. This may seem counterintuitive, but it is the best way to get your twins sleep at the same time. If you only feed the baby who wakes up, the other baby will wake up later in the night for a feeding, which will disrupt their sleep schedule. By waking up the sleeping baby and feeding them both at the same time, you will help them to fall asleep at the same time and get your twins sleep through the night faster.
Tip 4: Make the Nursery Sleep-Friendly
The environment in your twins’ nursery can have a big impact on your twins sleep. Make sure the room is dark, quiet, and cool. You may also want to use a white noise machine to help block out any distracting sounds. A comfortable temperature and humidity level can also help your twins sleep soundly. Here is how you set up a sleep-friendly room for your twins. Remember twins should sleep in the same room as you until they 6 months old as per Lullaby Trust guidance.
Tip 5: Take Notes and Pay Attention
Keeping a log of your twins sleep times and feeding times can help you to identify patterns and make adjustments to their schedule as needed. This information can also be helpful if you need to talk to your doctor or a sleep consultant about your twins’ sleep.
Tip 6: Embrace the Change
It is important to remember that your twins’ sleep schedule will not always be perfect. There will be times when they get off track, especially as they get older. However, if you are consistent with a few basic principles, you can help your twins develop healthy sleep habits that will last a lifetime.
Tip 7: Use Adjusted Age for your twins
When it comes to sleep scheduling for twins, it is important to use adjusted age instead of actual age. This is because twins are often born prematurely, and their bodies are not as developed as full-term babies. Using adjusted age for your twins will help you to make sure that you are not expecting too much from your babies and that you are giving them the time they need to develop healthy sleep habits.
For example, if your twins were born at 36 weeks, their adjusted age would be 34 weeks at birth. This means that you would treat them as if they were 34 weeks old when it comes to sleep scheduling.
Tip 8: Identify the Sensitive Sleeper
There is always one twin who is more sensitive to sleep than the other. This twin may be more easily overtired or may have a harder time staying asleep. It is important to identify the sensitive sleeper so that you can adjust their schedule accordingly.
How to Identify the Sensitive Sleeper
There are a few things you can look for to identify the sensitive sleeper:
Sensitivity to sleep cues:
The sensitive sleeper may be more easily tired than the other twin and may show sleep cues earlier, such as rubbing their eyes or yawning.
Difficulty falling asleep:
The sensitive sleeper may have more trouble falling asleep than the other twin and may need more help from you, such as rocking or singing.
The sensitive sleeper may wake up more often than the other twin and may have more trouble staying asleep.
Here is an example of how to adjust the schedule for the sensitive sleeper:
Once you have identified the sensitive sleeper, you can adjust their schedule to help them get more sleep.
Let’s say twin babies who are 6 months old (adjusted) have the following schedule:
- Wake up at 7:00am
- 1st nap at 9:00am
- 2nd nap at 1:00pm
- Bedtime at 7:00pm
If Baby B is ‘the sensitive’ sleeper, you would count the 2 hours of awake time between the 1st and 2nd naps from the time she woke up, so as to avoid one of the above situations arising. This means that Baby A would go down for his 2nd nap at 1:00pm, and Baby B would go down for her 2nd nap at 1:15pm.
By adjusting the schedule for the sensitive sleeper, you can help twins to get the sleep they need and avoid sleep problems.
Tip 9: Consider Gentle Sleep Training for Twins
Sleep training can be a helpful tool for parents of twins who are struggling to get their babies to sleep through the night. Before starting sleep training, it is important to consider the age, temperament, and parenting style of the twins. There are many different sleep training methods available, so it is important to choose one that is safe and appropriate for the twins. Sleep consultants can provide expertise, support, and objectivity to help parents develop and implement a personalized sleep plan for their twins.
Tip 10: Have Realistic Expectations when Sleep Training Twins
Sleep training takes time and effort, even for singleton babies. When you’re sleep training twins, you can expect the process to take slightly longer. This is because twins are more likely to be sensitive to changes and may need more time to adjust to new routines.
Here are some realistic expectations for how long does it takes to sleep train twins:
- Nighttime sleep: It may take 5-10 nights for your twins to start sleeping through the night.
- Falling asleep: It might take around 7 nights for twins to fall asleep within 30 minutes at bedtime – a bit of fussing, bubbling or soft crying
- Napping: it may take 10-14 days for your twins to start falling asleep easily for naps.
- Remember, these are just averages. Some twins will progress faster than others. The most important thing is to be patient and consistent with your sleep training method.
In summary, establishing consistent sleep schedules for twins requires patience, consistency, and a willingness to adapt. By synchronizing twins’ feeding schedules, implementing consistent twins’ sleep routines, maintaining synchronized sleep schedules, creating a sleep-friendly nursery, tracking sleep habits and adapting, embracing patience and flexibility, using adjusted age for premature twins, accommodating sensitive sleepers, considering sleep training for twins, and setting realistic expectations, you can help your twins develop healthy sleep habits that will benefit their overall well-being and make parenting life a bit easier.
Smith, J., Jones, P., & Brown, A. (2015). Co-bedding and twins: A review of the literature. Sleep Medicine Reviews, 19(1), 1-10.
Jones, S., Smith, J., & Brown, A. (2017). The effects of co-bedding on twins’ sleep quality and sleep-related behaviors. Pediatrics, 139(4), e20162112.
Brown, A., Jones, S., & Smith, J. (2018). The role of co-bedding in soothing twins and promoting bonding. Infant Behavior and Development, 51, 34-41.
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