Creating a Happy and Healthy Sleep Environment

Baby nurseryWhen you first bring home your little one home from the hospital, there may be a moment or two of doubt; “Do I have everything I need?” “Did I set everything up right?”

Here are some quick and easy tips to make sure the baby nursery is set up for sleep success!

Avoid Distractions
Keeping the baby’s crib free from distractions lets them focus on sleep. Having toys or other novelties around can confuse them and make them think it’s playtime.

One of the biggest distractions in a baby’s sleep environment is the mobile that spins around and plays music right above their crib. When we lay our child down after a calming soothing routine and then turn on this loud, light up, spinning toy that captures their attention and increases their alertness, it is counterproductive when a child is learning to put themselves to sleep.

In regards to the nursery décor, bright colors and the color red should be avoided, as well as busy or loud patterns.   These can be very distracting to a baby’s sleep.

Why is it so dark in here?
This question cracks me up. So your child will sleep! A child needs complete darkness in order to fall asleep and stay asleep. Darkness will help start the child’s melatonin production to help them sleep. When a child is very young; their brains are not mature enough to know when the right time to produce melatonin is.

Black out curtains are a must have! Especially during those summer nights when it is still light outside until late into the evening. The room should be just as dark at nap time.  Blackout EZ Window Covers are a great way to keep your child’s room dark.

However, when it is not nighttime or naptime, a child’s room should be full of light when they are playing. It is important to distinguish night from day, sleep from wake in a child’s mind. The best way to do this is through sunlight and darkness. The same way that darkness will influence melatonin production, sunlight will kick-start your child’s circadian rhythm which is their internal drive that tells them to stay awake. With a young child we need to help their brains decipher night from day.

I remember one of the first things I put in my baby’s room was the cutest little night light that I found, I was so excited about it! Unfortunately, nightlights are not conducive to an infant’s sleep environment. That includes the cute stuffed animal whose shell lights up when you squeeze it that your best friend got your baby. But don’t worry; they can use it when they get a little bit older!

Keep it “Room Temperature”
It is important to keep a baby at comfortable temperature throughout the night. The nursery should always remain between 68-70 degrees. A younger child will prefer the temperature in the room to be on the cooler side.

For obvious safety reasons, do not leave loose blankets in the crib, instead dress baby warmly, but not with too many layers that they will be too hot in the middle of the night. If using a swaddle, which I recommend until about 4 months, take that layer into account when getting baby in their sleepwear. A sleep sac is another great thing to have once baby has outgrown the swaddle.

White Noise
Although there has been some controversy over white noise, I do recommend a white noise machine be placed in a baby’s room. It is best to keep it at a medium volume and place it across the room. I however am not a fan or the “rain” or “jungle” sounds or whichever one they come up with next. Stick to the standard white noise. I find that an air purifier or small fan also work just fine. They serve the obvious purpose, while also giving off a slight humming sound. Stay clear of any white noise sounds that are a high pitched “static.” But you will know by listening to it if it is a good fit for your child’s room.

A baby’s nursery can have a significant influence on their sleeping pattern.   Being mindful of the distractions, temperature, and the amount of light in the nursery can help ensure a peaceful atmosphere conducive to healthy sleep.