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Healthy sleep foundation

I. Why is it better to sleep in the dark?

In the upcoming blog posts, I will introduce you to healthy sleep foundation. These are all good habits, you can start to follow anytime to establish good sleep in the long term.

First and foremost, make the room completely dark, where your child sleeps. Of course, it can and will happen that your little one will rest on the go or in a place where it is not as dark as at home, and that is perfectly OK. The most important thing is to establish a good sleeping surface at home where your child sleeps most of the time.

Let’s see why!

During the newborn stage, sleeping in the dark is helping babies to solve day and night confusion. When being in Mom’s womb, babies did not see the light to recognize day and night. You can help them to differentiate daytime from nighttime right after birth. Try to have more activity and feedings during the day, being outside or in the light as much as you can, while keeping the lights and the activity level low at night. This can meaningfully help your newborn to get used to life outside the womb.

When babies turn 2-4 months old, the circadian rhythm is starting to develop which is basically their inner clock. Melatonin is also starting to be produced which is responsible for sleeping. This hormone is produced in the dark so in order for a more restful sleep it is better for everyone to sleep in a completely dark room.

Between 2-3 years old, children may start to develop a fear of the dark (usually when their imagination is also starting to become more active). When little one says, that it is scary to be in the dark, you can place a night light in their room, but try to use the red light on the lowest light level as research showed that this interrupts melatonin production the least. Before this age, I do not recommend using a night light, as complete darkness promotes sleep the best.

Based on the above, I strongly recommend making the room completely dark, where your child usually sleeps.

How to know if the room is dark enough?

Use blackout shades to cover windows and make sure no light is sneaking in the room either through the window or below the door. Don’t allow any light in the child’s room. This includes covering the pilot lights on the baby monitor, and/or the humidifier too. The best method to check the darkness of the room is: to enter the room and close the door; hold up your hand - if you cannot see it, you made a perfect job!

Cost-efficient ideas for covering the window:

  1. Block-out curtain: IKEA BENGTA - Link: IKEA (Not sponsored)

  2. Cover the windows with cardboard or a dark blanket

Sleeping in the dark is good for children and promotes restful sleep. You don’t have to be afraid that your little one will get used to it and will only be able to sleep in complete darkness from now on - they will be able to sleep anywhere else, where it is not that dark. While children sleep the most at home it is worth creating a sleeping surface that promotes quality sleep.

If you feel that you need help with getting your little one to sleep, and you are open to changing sleep habits I am happy to help. Check out my packages HERE. With your personalized plan, your child will learn how to fall asleep on their own and sleep all night long.


Light, melatonin and the sleep-wake cycle

Circadian Rhythms

Light and Sleep

Fear of the Dark

The Effects of Red and Blue Lights on Circadian Variations in Cortisol, Alpha Amylase, and Melatonin

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