October 25, 2022

Should Babies Sleep in the Dark? Solutions to make it pitch black!

close u of sleeping newborn baby sleeping on mother

Sleeping soundly in their crib, your baby suddenly wakes up and begins to cry. Too much light makes it impossible for them to sleep! Sound familiar?

There are so many options out there! What should you do? How can you make sure your baby sleeps in the dark?

A lot of new parents ask themselves this question, but they don’t know where to start. Then read on to learn how to make your baby’s room dark while letting in just enough light. Let’s take a look at some of the common solutions that help make baby rooms pitch black and what benefits each one brings to the table.

young mother teaching her little toddler son
young single mother teaching her little son toddler

Why should babies sleep in the dark?

The process of falling asleep is more difficult when there’s light from nearby sources. When there’s a light nearby, your child will get mixed signals from their brain about whether or not it’s time to fall asleep; this can disrupt their natural sleep cycles and wake them up when they would’ve otherwise fallen asleep on their own.

Here are 5 reasons why you should let your baby nap in the dark:

1. Sleeping in the dark replicates the womb

The night light coming into a baby’s room, whether from TV, phone or sunrise, can interfere with sleep training.

Babies have been living in darkness for nine months, they don’t seem to be scared of it at first. Board-certified pediatrician Gina Posner, M.D., says that children sleep better in the dark because they’re used to it in the womb.

Ideally, babies should be sleeping in a completely dark space that resembles the womb.

“Some do well with night lights, while others may be affected by them,” Posner says.

“Sleep is incredibly important for a newborn’s cognitive and physical development, so as parents we need to find out what works best for our small bundles of joy.”

Blackout curtains on windows are one solution. Alternatively you can buy a sound machine that emits low noise while the baby sleeps or turn on your ceiling fan and close windows to create a peaceful sleep environment.

mother and child playing reading in bed

2. It helps newborns tell day and night apart

One of the main reasons is that newborns’ sleep cycle does not last longer than 12 hours, so it’s important for them to stay asleep during those 12 hours. Daytime light triggers hormones that keep you awake, and nighttime darkness helps your body produce melatonin-a hormone that helps keep you asleep.

To ensure your baby sleeps well at first, Dr. Jay Lovenheim suggests complete darkness until about 4 months.

“The darkness helps to train a baby to understand the difference between daytime and nighttime and helps to eliminate anything that may stimulate your newborn and keep them up,” he says.

Your baby may, however, prefer some light as they get older.

3. Pitch black rooms trigger the brain to produce melatonin.

Sleep is necessary for all of us. In newborns, it not only restores them after they have woken up, but it also helps stimulate growth and learning. The Baby’s sleep environment should be comfortable and conducive to a good night sleep. The hue of light or darkness in a baby’s room determines how their body produces melatonin.

When a your child is exposed to light, their natural production of melatonin is inhibited, therefore making it difficult for them to stay asleep at night.

Melatonin is a hormone that regulates sleep. It is secreted by a pea-sized structure called the pineal gland located deep inside our brain. Melatonin signals your body when it is time for bed, and when you are asleep, it starts switching off bodily functions one by one so you can rest well.

4. The light triggers your baby’s brain to wake up

The brighter and whiter your room is, the more sleep hormone (melatonin) your body will produce and release. This sleep hormone helps regulate not only your mood but also the length of time your sleep. When you expose a light-sensitive person or animal to light at night, their brain gets fooled into thinking it’s daytime, and it responds by producing lots of hormones like cortisol which makes you feel alert instead of sleepy. The light will even wake up babies that are happily asleep!

close u of sleeping newborn baby sleeping on mother
close u of sleeping newborn baby sleeping on mothers shoulder

5. Dark rooms help babies sleep in later in the morning

Parents always wonder what is best for their children. They want them to sleep when they want, wake up when they want, nap at any time of day and night and go to bed early.

They also want them to feel safe and secure, which is why parents should get a dark room for their child’s sleep environment.

A dark room does wonders for your child because it will give them a more comfortable place where they can nap without being disturbed by a bright light coming from outside or people talking nearby.

If your children are in a darker room, there will be less stimulation around them. This will calm them and help them settle down.

Limitless child and baby sleeping

Benefits of Sleeping in Pitch Black Rooms

Sleep Quality

Light can have a significant impact on sleep quality. Whether your baby sleeps in a light or dark room, there are several considerations to keep in mind:

Sleep Hormones

The light activates hormones that affect the circadian clock. This can affect sleep and wake patterns.

A person’s natural melatonin levels peak one hour before bedtime when the light is dim. A light room is disruptive to this process because it tricks your body into thinking it’s still daytime.

Sleep Quickly

Babies who sleep in complete darkness tend to fall asleep more quickly and easily than those who sleep with some ambient light.

Confident Boy waking up from sleep in the morning

Solutions To Make Your Room Dark Enough

Wall Covers:

Blackout curtains and blackout shades are great for darkening a room. Consider adding lights that can be switched off during sleep time. You can also purchase products that are designed specifically for blocking out any unwanted light from the baby’s bedroom, such as blackout shades or curtains made of a thicker fabric.

If you want your baby to nap during the day but don’t want them sleeping for too long, you might want to consider using blackout curtains with thicker material.

Dark Paint

Paint their room a relaxing dark color and play soft music before bedtime to help get them in the mood for sleep. Children will associate their bedroom with feelings of relaxation and fall asleep more easily when they feel safe.

Is Your Child Still Sleep Deprived?

Being a parent is not easy, but at least there are ways to make life easier for both parents and children. One thing all parents know is that they want their children to get enough sleep. After reading this blog post, hopefully, you will have some new tips on how best to help your baby sleep soundly at night.

It’s alright if you’re using electric light to check on the baby or feed them, but try not to use any other kind of light when they’re sleeping. You should cover up any window with a curtain or heavy drapes so that no sunlight comes in during daytime naps or nighttime sleep.

If you’re still finding it difficult to keep the room dark enough after taking these steps, then take advantage of blackout curtains or hanging a heavy blanket over the window.

Baby girl laughing

Conclusion

When it comes to whether or not babies should sleep in the dark, some say yes, and some say no. There are pros and cons for both sides of this argument. Some parents think that it is important for babies to sleep in a completely dark environment because this helps them maintain their natural circadian rhythm (circadian rhythm is the body’s 24-hour cycle of physical, mental, and behavioral changes). While many people believe that this can lead to things like more frequent nighttime waking, less deep sleep, and decreased appetite.

Babies need lots of sleep for their growth and development. The more you can give them, the better. Sleeping in total darkness makes sure that your child sleeps as well as possible, which is why it’s worth every little bit of effort.

Taryn Crimi

Taryn Crimi

Taryn is an international intuitive, focused on helping to empower you manifest your best life!

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