A baby’s sleep environment is vital for a good night’s sleep. As they are learning these new sleep skills, you can help them by making it as easy as possible for them to drift off into slumber land.
This is how you can help:
- Keep their room as dark as possible. Blackout shades are a great idea, but often light gets in behind the shades. To keep the room as dark as possible, you can cut out foam board and insert it into the window opening. If you prefer to use blackout shades or drapes, shades tend to block out more light than the blackout drapes do. Avoid nightlights, especially those with white or blue light. These are short-wavelength lights that actually suppress the production of melatonin (aka magic sleep hormone). (1)
- Less stimulation = more sleep. While cute and decorative, mobiles can overstimulate your baby just when you want them to feel sleepy. Moving shapes and colors floating by their head is very exciting for a baby and can prompt them to fight drifting off into a restful state. Aquariums, too many toys in bed, and very stimulating and busy patterns on the walls can also have the same effect. To foster an easier transition into sleepyland, save anything exciting for your baby’s awake windows and keep their sleep environment stimulation-free.
- Soothing Sounds. Babies come from a very loud place. Inside their mother’s womb, they hear her constant heartbeat rhythmically pumping very close to their ears. Silence is a new experience for them. Many babies find white noise comforting as it reminds them of that peaceful time when they were one with their mother and everything was provided for them. A fan or a white noise machine can provide the background noise needed to help your baby soothe herself. Babies respond well to a 6 or 7 out of 10 volume (but under 85 decibels – most sounds machines on the market will be in a “safe” threshold).
- Consistent Sleep Place. Babies thrive on consistency and feel safe and secure in their world when they know what to expect. It can be very confusing for a baby when their sleep place changes constantly from the swing, to the car, to their crib, to mommy’s lap, to mommy’s bed. Choosing one place for them to sleep and designating this as their sacred sleep space helps them to understand that when they are in this place, it is time for sleep.
- You know how cozy you feel when you snuggle under the covers in a cool room? Your baby does well in that environment also. The ideal room temperature is between 18 and 21 degrees celcius.
What have you done to create a peaceful sleep environment for your little one? If you would like more help with your baby’s sleep or sleep environment, I would be happy to help!
(2) The sleep lady’s good night, sleep tight: gentle proven solutions to help your child sleep well and wake up happy.
By: West, Kim, and Joanne Kenen.