Some newborns (not all – no two babies are exactly the same) can often sleep in the most surprising conditions; light, dark, loud, quiet, on the floor or on your chest or even a loud and busy restaurant!
However, at around 6 weeks of age, babies start to produce their own melatonin (the sleepy hormone) which can make sleep cycles very pronounced, so this is when it would be handy for your love affair with a dark room for baby sleep to start.
So – why are darkness and sleep BFFs?
Firstly, the technical stuff; a dark room increases the natural release of melatonin, so it helps your baby to feel tired and ultimately fall asleep. A dark room can also be a handy cue for baby – like, ‘oh, it’s dark, that must mean it’s sleep time! I’ll have a lovely long sleep and mum can perhaps finish a cup of tea or even (gasp!) eat her dinner.’
The other thing, that we’ve all discovered at 3am at some stage of our lives, is that the dark is oh-so-BORING. Nothing to do; may as well sleep! It’s boring for babies too; darkness decreases any stimulation that may interfere with sleeping (like shadows on wall, light peeping through, staring at toys/books etc.), particularly if they wake up between cycles. And if you’re worried about it being scary for your little one – don’t be! Babies find the dark comforting.
Trust us when we say babies sleep better, deeper and longer in dark rooms. Wondering how dark is dark enough? We recommend to aim for 8 out of 10, if 10 is pitch black (where you can’t see your hand in front of your face). Make sure you have some sort of soft light like a low lamp or nightlight you can turn on night feeds or changes, to keep the stimulation low for baby.
If you’re struggling to get your baby’s room dark enough, check out our Sleepy Blind! It’s an amazing portable blackout blind, which is perfect for home, travel and holidays. Designed and developed by us, it provides 100% blackout of light to your window – it is so worth it.
Good luck mamas – remember, if you need help with baby or toddler sleep, we’re here for you and we have lots of ways we can help.
image via: @in_fotodesign_photography