No matter the age of your child a dark room can make all the difference.
Want to know if your room is dark enough? When you walk in, can you see your hand in front of you? It should be hard! Eventually your eyes will adjust, but you want it THAT dark!
Light of any kind tricks your brain into thinking it is daytime. An early morning sunrise, the evening light before the sun sets, bright overhead lights, glowing night lights, and yes, those tablets, tvs and phone screens are all culprits. Natural and artificial light send a message to your brain that says, “Wake up! It’s daytime!” The early sunrise light that creeps into your room wakes us prematurely. Too much light exposure before bed can make it harder to fall asleep, but it can also interrupt your sleep patterns enough to cause you to wake overnight!
Our bodies need darkness to get our best sleep. Cave-like rooms are the most conducive environments for sleep. I recommend a dark room, from birth, for both daytime and nighttime sleep. This helps your child to be comfortable with the dark and will help her brain understand that it is time to sleep. It will also help prevent extra early rising or fighting bedtime during those spring and summer months.
Room darkening shades and curtains are the best to help block outside light. However, if you do not have them, there are other easy solutions to make the room as dark as possible. Try hanging garbage bags, towels, or paper shades to keep out the light. (This is not an ad) I happen to think the Redi Shades from Amazon are the best! I often travel with them. Bring along some painters’ tape to ensure you keep the walls safe.
Dim your home lights one hour before bedtime.
Turn off all screens at least one hour before bedtime.
If your older child insists on a nightlight or you need a nightlight for overnight feeding, make sure the bulb is a soft color such as red or pink. Be sure to plug it in away from your child’s face.