As with anything baby-related, there is always more than one way to do things.
There seems to be a lot of confusion about sleeping, and whether or not to put a baby/toddler in a dark room for both day naps and night sleeping, or whether it really matters.
I am often asked how a baby knows the difference between day and night if you always put your baby to sleep in a dark room.
I find that during the day when the house is active and busy, it has a completely different vibe to night-time when the house is serene, quiet and darker. These external influences are what help the baby’s body clock (circadian rhythm) to work.
The other question I am often asked is if you put a baby to sleep in a darkened room, will they ever learn to sleep elsewhere? The answer is yes. I have travelled the world with babies from different cultures, countries and families and they have slept well whether on plane, train, boat or in a car, and I have always used darkened rooms for both their day and night sleeps.
Some babies are light-sensitive and will find it hard to fall asleep easily in a brightly-lit room, or will wake up after only a short period of time.
To find out whether your baby is light-sensitive, I suggest blackening out their windows totally and all the little lights from the electrical equipment in their room and see if this helps. Total darkness does not mean your baby will not sleep elsewhere; at this stage we are just encouraging your baby to fall asleep and stay asleep.
Another thing to remember is that darkness triggers the brain to release melatonin.
Melatonin is a hormone that is released from your (and your baby’s) pineal gland, and is associated with your circadian clock and strengthening your immune system.
In short, I believe that having both daytime naps and night-time sleeping in a darkened room is the best option and one I would recommend.
Thanks so much to Dorothy Waide, who is a regular contributor to our page as an expert baby and child sleep consultant and endorses our Sleepytots and Baby Shushers as products which can help with your babies sleep. You can keep up to date with all of Dorothy’s Baby Sleep information, handy tips and competitions, by heading to her facebook page or website. There are a range of wonderful sleep packages available through Dorothy’s website so if you are struggling with your little ones sleep, don’t delay get some help now.
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