5 Things To Remember When Creating The Perfect Sleep Environment
Having a perfect sleep environment is essential when you are trying to get your little one on a sleep schedule and also to help get them sleeping through the night. It is the number one piece of advice I give to parents that are seeking help for various sleep issues. Here is a list of things to remember for creating an optimal sleep environment.
1. Hit the Lights
I understand the desire to have a really cute lamp to add that perfect finishing touch to your child's room/nursery and you totally should have one. However, for bed time it is essential to have the room in complete darkness. Sunlight (and artificial light) suppresses melatonin which makes it hard to stay asleep in-between REM cycles. Even small amounts of light that you may think won't matter such as, from an illuminated alarm clock, cellphones, or from various toys and electronics all make a difference. Make sure everything is turned off and put away so that the room stays dark throughout the night.
2. Live like a Vampire
Just like I mentioned above, light is the evil villain when it comes to keeping your child asleep. Having proper blinds or drapes to cover windows and keep light from coming in during early morning hours will help little ones stay asleep past the crack of dawn. If you live in a place where it gets light very early or your child's bedroom faces sunrise then you may even want to consider blackout curtains.
3. Tempurature Matters
Keeping the room at a comfortable temperature is a key factor in creating an optimal sleep environment. Being either too warm or too cold can both cause unnecessary wakings during the night or shorter nap times during the day.' I personally don't like having the A/C or heater on over night. I find that they both dry me out and I wake up during the night coughing and feeling very thirsty. I know in some places you can't survive unless the heat or A/C is on. If you fall into one of those categories then be sure to adjust the settings of your thermostat to keep the room at about 68-72 degrees Fahrenheit. Using a fan and lighter blankets during warmer months and having thicker blankets and sleep sacks during cooler months are also ways to keep children comfortable throughout their sleep.
4. White Noise
There are a few reasons why white noise is so helpful when helping your baby get to sleep and stay asleep. The sound of white noise imitates the sounds baby heard in utero and so hearing it on the outside allows them to feel safe and comfortable just like they were in mommy's tummy. White noise also helps cancel out any startling noises (door closing, dishing clanking, doorbell ringing) during baby's sleep. Having white noise on also helps me while my children are napping so that I don't feel like I have to tip toe around the house in fear of making a loud startling sound.
5. Put the Distractions Away
Keeping a simple and clean room is the last rounding element in creating a perfect sleep space. Having an abundance of visual stimulation from wall decor, mobiles, or even a messy room will definitely put a strain on good sleep. Having visual stimulation inhibits the mind from relaxing and being able to drift asleep. The room should be painted in a soft color, have minimal physical items, and definitely should not have busy wall decor that can keep the baby interested and awake.