Lights out: 10 tips to help your child sleep better


In an ideal world, there wouldn’t be any artificial light in an ideal world to disturb your child’s natural melatonin production and circadian rhythm. But in a practical world, you’ll be checking up on your little one frequently throughout the night. Also, your toddler’s vivid imagination will probably spin tales of monsters in the dark.

Since it might not be possible to do away with night lights completely, here are some ways in which you can limit your baby’s exposure to light in the hours leading up to bedtime:

  1. We know that your child sometimes winds down after a busy day with a quick episode of Sesame Street or CoComelon. But refrain from screen exposure at least two hours before they are supposed to sleep.
  1. Use red-based night lights. Keeping your child’s room pitch dark at night is good for their sleep cycle. But we understand that it might not always be possible. If you find that your little one prefers not to sleep in pitch black, a red-based one would be the best idea.
  1. Try other alternatives to night lights for your baby. We know how frequently you’ll be checking up on your little one. And you need to *see* what you’re doing. Dr. Norman Sheldo, O.D., from the Eyecare Center of Maryland, recommends putting a light outside the room and opening the door or shade slightly.
  1. You can also create a healthy sleep environment for your baby without night lights. Rachel Mitchell, Certified Sleep Specialist, and CEO of My Sweet Sleeper, suggests, “There are many steps to include in a nightly routine that can help prepare them for rest. Try singing, rocking, nursing, swaddling, or putting on a sleep sack and turning on white noise.”
  1. Although blackout blinds are great at night, avoid them for your tot’s naps in the daytime. Complete darkness during nap time confuses your babe’s circadian rhythm.
  1. It’s not just the light from TV and mobile screens that can disrupt your child’s sleep. Bathroom lighting can also have the same impact. Consider installing waterproof battery-operated red or orange lights to provide a warm glow without affecting their zzzs.
  1. Reduce the light levels in your home before bedtime. Dim any bright lights in the hall and near your child’s room, which will help support your child’s circadian rhythm.
  1. If your baby monitor has white, blue, or green lights, use tape to cover it. Please don’t manually cover them with an object as it may fall on your baby, creating a safety hazard. 
  1. Dim the lights in your baby’s room at the start of their nighttime routine. “This can help create a calming environment, and for older babies, it helps melatonin do its job,” Mitchell says.
  1. If your baby’s room doesn’t have a dimming function, turn on a light in another nearby room.

These tips will help you set up a serene sleeping environment for your kiddo. 💤

Plus, get more expert-backed advice on how lights affect your little one’s sleep here.


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