Back to Africa Check

No, putting onion near baby’s nose will not help them sleep better

Advice from “The Professor” on helping your baby sleep at night has been making the rounds on Facebook.

“YOUR CHILD HAS COLD AND HAVING TROUBLE SLEEPING @ NIGHT?” the post asks. “Place a fresh onion close to his head not far from the nose. The child will sleep better ... The onions decongest the nose. Very much effective strong and powerful.”

It then gives a phone number for “The Professor”, with the Nigeria country code.

Will a baby sleep better with an onion near their head?

No scientific evidence – and could be dangerous

Africa Check asked the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) about the claim.

“We are not aware of any scientific studies that support this claim that placing an onion near a child’s head will help them sleep,” the organisation told us.

And they warned that “placing loose objects in an infant’s crib can increase the risk of sudden infant death syndrome, so it is not recommended”.

The syndrome, known as Sids, is the unexplained death of a seemingly healthy child of less than one year old, usually while they are sleeping.

How can you help your baby sleep better?

The AASM referred us to an article on, a site run by the American Academy of Paediatrics. It’s titled “Healthy Sleep Habits: How Many Hours Does Your Child Need?

The article’s tips include making adequate sleep a family priority, having a daily routine for your child, keeping your child active throughout the day, preventing sleep disruption by monitoring screen time, avoiding overscheduling and learning to recognise sleep problems.

It adds that “creating a sleep supportive environment would also allow your child to sleep better”. For example, you could “dim the lights prior to bedtime, control temperature in the home and allow your child to go to bed with their favourite doll or blanket – this can help with the separation anxiety”. – Grace Gichuhi


Republish our content for free

We believe that everyone needs the facts.

You can republish the text of this article free of charge, both online and in print. However, we ask that you pay attention to these simple guidelines. In a nutshell:

1. Do not include images, as in most cases we do not own the copyright.

2. Please do not edit the article.

3. Make sure you credit "Africa Check" in the byline and don't forget to mention that the article was originally published on

For publishers: what to do if your post is rated false

A fact-checker has rated your Facebook or Instagram post as “false”, “altered”, “partly false” or “missing context”. This could have serious consequences. What do you do?

Click on our guide for the steps you should follow.

Publishers guide

Africa Check teams up with Facebook

Africa Check is a partner in Meta's third-party fact-checking programme to help stop the spread of false information on social media.

The content we rate as “false” will be downgraded on Facebook and Instagram. This means fewer people will see it.

You can also help identify false information on Facebook. This guide explains how.

Add new comment

Restricted HTML

  • Allowed HTML tags: <a href hreflang> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote cite> <code> <ul type> <ol start type> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <h2 id> <h3 id> <h4 id> <h5 id> <h6 id>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Web page addresses and email addresses turn into links automatically.
limit: 600 characters

Want to keep reading our fact-checks?

We will never charge you for verified, reliable information. Help us keep it that way by supporting our work.

Become a newsletter subscriber

Support independent fact-checking in Africa.