Three Key Points to Setting up The Perfect Sleep Environment for Baby
First of all, why does baby’s sleep environment matter? Well, I’m sure as an adult you have certain environments that you sleep well in and some that you don’t. A baby is the same way! Setting up an environment that is conducive to sleep will help support baby to fall asleep as the environment itself can act as a sleep association, signaling to baby that it’s time to wind down and sleep. Now doesn’t that sound nice? The environment itself is a natural sleep association and one that you as the parent can easily control.
Key Point #1: Light
The classic saying “up with the sun, down with the sun” clearly states that we wake when it is light and we sleep when it is dark. However, due to the artificial light that we are surrounded by every day, sometimes our natural melatonin production to help us sleep can stall a bit. I often dim the lights at the start of the bedtime routine to signal to baby that it’s time to wind down, thus allowing baby’s natural melatonin production to start.
Some babies can sleep with some light coming into the room, while others need the room to be pitch-black. Blackout blinds or simply attaching a dark sheet over the window to block out any distracting light that might be coming in are both great ways to control the lighting of baby’s sleep environment.
Key Point #2: Noise
Babies are used to a certain amount of noise in the womb, and just aren’t used to sleeping in complete silence. Enter the white noise machine which appears to seamlessly calm some babies. White noise can block out other noises in the baby’s environment as they sleep. But it’s important to not have it too loud otherwise it might distract baby rather than help lull baby into sleep. White noise should be around 50 decibels (similar to the sound of a running shower). Do all babies like white noise? No! So try out different sounds such as a fan, ocean sounds, forest sounds, etc to see what baby likes.
Key Point # 3: Temperature
I honestly find temperature to be baby dependent. Some prefer to be slightly warmer, while others prefer to be slightly cooler. However, most sleep experts say that the ideal sleep environment is between 18 and 22 degrees Celsius (64 and 72 Fahrenheit). Choose breathable fabrics for sheets and sleepwear, such as organic cotton or bamboo. Fleece fabrics are not ideal as they can cause babies to sweat. If you are unsure if baby is too hot or too cold, feel the back of their neck. Also keep in mind that a baby should be dressed in one more layer than what an adult is comfortable in.