New Baby Sleep Optimization

So I’ve recently begun bouncing around a project idea in my mind ever since I read Brain Rules for Baby, which spent quite some time explaining how important the relationship of the parents is to the progress of the baby’s mind.

They cited ceveral common factors for stress in the marriage following a newborn, but I saw one that I thought was the easiest to resolve and possibly one of the biggest factors: lack of sleep.

The problem is simple. When parents have a newborn crying every few hours during the night, they have reduced sleep and end up irritable and stressed, which in turn affects the relationship, in turn affecting the baby.

I believe that home automation can substantially reduce this problem.

First, the ideal is to distribute the sleep loss between the parents. A simple solution would be to trade each night who is going to get up to calm down the baby. The problem with this solution is that both parents now have to become trained to waking up when the baby begins crying, when normally one parent(unforunately it’s often the dad) becomes trained to continue sleeping, even with crying. This will result in less total sleep for both, even if the sharing of the load perhaps reduces the tension.

So here’s where my proposal comes in: Place the child in a room out of earshot(or yourselves in a soundproofed room, also good to improve sex life ;P) and then use home automation to alert the correct parent when the baby is crying, based on whose turn it is.

A futuristic application could involve two health bands with vibration to alert the correct parent, a tempurpedic mattress(3rd paragraph) to avoid awaking the second parent, and a mic in the baby’s room for detecting the baby’s cries for comfort.

A backup system would likely be intelligent, of course, it would be horrible to leave the baby without help should your internet cut out, for example.


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It’s a neat idea. Reliability is absolutely critical. Not something I would trust most systems with at this point.

Awesome idea!! I odn’t wake up to my smart watch ATM because the vibration is too weak, but would be something awesome to work on!!

I think the idea has merit. I think though that it might be better to combine the health band with a vibrating pillow or something similar. I do not see a Health Band vibration waking me up.

Plus if the chosen parent doesn;t wake up, then it needs to have the logic to wake the other parent in that case. That could pose so many problems.

Hmmm why not use sensors to detect if the baby needs to be chanced, if not auto rock the cradle. If that doesn;t help add some music and pretty lights, and if all else fails… Then wake the parents :smile:

This system will be used for about 2 nights and then disabled/unplugged. Being a new parent is an involved, life-shattering experience that will be all about supporting your partner and being there for the child. There is zero time or room for this level of automation. Each day is different, each hour is different, each baby is different, etc.

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@virucyde, let me guess, 1st time dad-to-be?

The best “automation” for all things marriage is open, honest and respectful communication. It doesn’t remove the lack of sleep, of course, but it does reduce the frustration considerably. Tech (especially one that claims to be “smart”) will most probably just add more frustration.

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D: Party poopers are invading!

Very fine points, and are definitely items to be considered in the implementation of such a project, I was interested to know whether or not the vibration was very effective,so thanks @tslagle13.

Hmmm why not use sensors to detect if the baby needs to be chanced, if not auto rock the cradle. If that doesn;t help add some music and pretty lights, and if all else fails… Then wake the parents smile

Maybe I’m a bit too idealistic, but these ideas honestly got me excited, the baby needing to be changed may be a bit over the top, but you might actually manage to calm a child down by auto-rocking the cradle in response to crying.

I certainly think the system would have to detect if the baby continues crying for 2-3 minutes it would probably just pipe the crying sound directly into the parent’s room for them to respond naturally.

But c´mon guys, obviously these ideas don’t make up for good communication and empathy, but we’re pushing the limits here :smiley:

Hey, I’ll be the first one to admit that technology is sweet! I have many kid-specific HA rules myself (auto Nap Time mode, notification when kids are on the loose in the middle of the night, etc.) But the first two-three months after the birth of your first child is a very special time. It brings you down to your knees and then rebuilds you a new person. It is a transformative and extremely demanding process; emotionally and mentally. There’s very little room for anything else. It is also fleeting, you won’t want to miss a single moment.

@Virucyde Agreed… Like we need to be even more distant from our children (SMILE). But, I am glad that you like the ideas, they are still reasonably relistic. Although I think it would be best to make a rocker with an Arduino. that self rocks after a period of crying. You could use some sort of flat (waterproof) transmitter (z-wave or Zigbee) to detect moisture in the proper areas. Pipe some music or Mom’s singing to the cradle. And it could make parenting a bit easier. Of course, we all know that you still should check on the baby and just give him/her the loving attention that the child needs as it grows.

I like your idea of piping the audio to the parents room, that could work better along with maybe a light slowly coming back to make the waking up less dramatic?

Lucky man I see. I have not had children myself. But, I have helped some good friends with figuring out similar things such as this. I have a friend (4th child just 2 months ago. Named Robin btw) who relies heavily on a self rocking cradle that I built using an old laptop and motor controllers that I had repurposed from an old Robotics build.

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Best HA I’ve come up with for our kids (3 and 1 years old) is a multisensor on the door and a Hue bulb in the room. Then when we have to go into a kid’s room at night, the acceleration on the door turns the Hue on a 2% red dim, so you have enough light to see but not enough to wake anyone or ruin your night vision.

I used a customized Notify with Hue app (customized to offer a 2% dim option). During Night mode, it triggers on acceleration on the sensor, then stays on for 5 minutes before going off. I also made a virtual switch so I can fire the same smart app either via a MiniMote or a quick click in Launch Center Pro on my phone. I keep the Minimote by my bedside. With it I can fire the app for either kids’ room, or the Hue in my room, or a master Big Switch to turn everything off if something goes haywire.

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You leave the switch on? I really hate it that Hue turns to Soft White 100%, I wish it was possible to go to the desired hue and intensity directly.

My Hues are in lamps with pull chains or floor step switches, so I just leave them on and control them with ST. I’ve got most of the people in the house trained to not turn them off manually :smile: I did have to set some hard rules to help, though. At 7:30, when Sonos yells it’s time to get ready for bath/bed, the lights in the kids room go 100% pink. At 8PM for book reading, they go 10% red as a reminder it’s time to settle down. And at 8:30 they turn off. It’s a nice pace-setter for the bedtime routine.

@bmoffett nice use of Hues. I think I am planning to get some, but am waiting for those who re-sale them on Amazon for whatever reason they have (SMILE). The price is just a little too high for entry.