Babies are known to sleep better when their rooms are dark, so many parents have questions about how much lighting should be on in the nursery when it’s time to nap and go to bed at night. The answer depends on your baby’s age, but most infants and toddlers are sensitive to the brightness of light, making them more likely to wake up if the lights are too bright or left on all night long. Here’s how much light your baby should be exposed to during naps and nighttime sleep so they can get the good night’s sleep without being startled by harsh lights in the bedroom.
The Science behind Baby sleep
In this post, I’ll use circadian rhythm to refer to sleep-wake cycles; the circadian rhythm impacts many different body functions.
The circadian rhythm of your newborn begins to develop around two months of age, and they begin learning the difference between days and nights. They begin sleeping a 4-6 hour stretch at night. Until then, your newborn may appear to be a rock star, i.e. (Sleeping all day, Up all night).
In addition, it takes babies around 9-12 weeks to fully produce the sleep hormone called melatonin, as the pineal gland matures around this time and production increases.
Light regulates melatonin production, while melatonin controls sleep/wake cycles. Thus, when babies and toddlers are in brightly lit environments, they produce a lower amount of melatonin which means irregular sleep patterns.
Tips to Make Baby’s Room Darker
Stopping sunlight, moonlight, or streetlights from streaming through windows is the most crucial step. Luckily, there are a few ways;
You can tape the privacy film to your window, but I don’t recommend this since you want the light coming back into the room easily when your baby awakens in the morning. Light during the day is just as important as darkness at night.
I suggest combining a good black-out roller blind with lined black-out curtains that completely cover the top and sides of the window to prevent light from entering. Ensure that your child’s room is not completely dark.
Turn the Light off
You should also consider shutting off all of the lights in the room before laying your child down to sleep for a nap. Be sure to keep screens (iPad, TV, or computer) out of the bedroom, as the bright blue light these screens produce can keep the baby awake for a prolonged period.
Pros of Sleeping in the darkroom
Sleep experts advise having darkness in your baby’s bedroom to help produce melatonin, a sleep hormone that lets your baby fall asleep quicker and stay asleep longer. Furthermore, darkness promotes relaxation, which helps your baby sleep fast.
Cons of Sleeping In Bright Room
Some infants may be able to sleep in a brightly lit room, but for many children, there are following side effects; they wake up more often at night, have trouble falling asleep, and have trouble concentrating during the day. On top of that, if your baby sleeps in a bright room for too long, he or she may start to associate light with sleep. It’ll be harder for your baby to fall asleep when it’s dark out!
Test to check your Baby’s Room’s Dark
As babies tend to entertain themselves, parents should ensure their sleep environment is dark and distraction-free, making it easier for them to fall asleep. As they get older, they grow more social and more curious. For this reason, it’s a good idea to darken your child’s bedroom to a 9/10 or 10. It should be darker enough so you can’t see your hand in front of your face!
Should you use a night light in a baby’s room?
In my experience, babies sleep best in really dark rooms. Some parents worry that their babies will be afraid of the dark, but these fears typically do not develop until their child is two or three years old. Having night lights in the nursery is unnecessary for your baby.
When should I introduce a night light to my baby?
A nightlight can be used in the room if your toddler or preschooler tells you they are afraid of the dark. However, I usually recommend waiting until at least two years old before using one.
What is the best night light?
My favorite is Dimmable lights in which you can choose the color of the light. But they don’t have to be fancy. Red lights are less disruptive to sleep than other colors. You can use a red bulb when you need a little light. However, avoid white light as it is the most disruptive to your baby’s sleep.
Do babies fear the darkness?
A newborn isn’t frightened by the dark; there’s nothing from which to develop that fear since imagination doesn’t manifest until around two years of age. Babies find darkness comfortable, safe, and soothing like other mammals in the womb.
Can a baby fall asleep with the light on at night?
Lights at night can be disruptive to sleep, but that doesn’t mean you should unplug your little one’s nightlight if they’re snoozing well. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, it is best to be aware of one’s child and what helps him or her sleep best — with darkness or dim light. Some babies sleep in a light room, while others prefer a dark room.
Should the baby’s room be completely dark?
Your baby’s dark room depends on the baby’s age, as newborns sleep better in the dark. However, older babies may develop a fear of darkness, and In that case, night lights can be used.
Does a Dark Room make your Baby Fall Asleep Quickly?
A dark environment stimulates melatonin production (Sleep hormone). Thus, babies fall asleep quickly in a dark room, but Some babies may still prefer light rooms.