Does darkness matter?

Infant Sleep · Toddler Sleep

Sleep matters for your kids, and that’s why creating an ideal sleep environment is an important priority. If your child is waking too early in the morning or taking abbreviated naps, it could very well be that light is the culprit.

Darkness is a key factor in quality sleep for babies.

If you wake up early and realize that you have more time before you need to be out of bed, you roll over and go back to sleep. But a baby? They don’t know how to do that.

They see sunlight and think, “Time to rise and shine!” (even if they haven’t had enough sleep to actually shine).

Light Is The Enemy Of Sleep (& Darkness Is Your Friend)

Your body was made to see light and wake up. Light inhibits the production of melatonin and tells the body it’s time to start the day. This is known as a natural circadian rhythm.

So when the sun comes up in the morning, your baby is going to think it’s time to get out of his crib because that’s what his body was made to think. While that will be great in about ten years when he learns how to roll over until an appropriate time of morning, today it isn’t.

Today it’s probably way too early for both of you and you need a solution.

And mid-morning or afternoon when they are napping? It’s the same thing.

Light in the room when they are moving between sleep cycles may disrupt that and shorten their needed sleep time.

Babies need more sleep than just the hours at night provide, though, so it’s up to you to find a solution for them.

Simple Solutions

So what can you do about it? The simple answer is create a dark room for them to sleep in.

Blackout shades are an excellent way to provide this and probably the most effective. The ones I like best are EZ Blackout Blinds but you can try any that are easily available to you.

Some people buy room darkening shades and pair them with blackout curtains, too.

When you’re traveling, you can even cobble something together with a flattened cardboard box in front of the window and behind curtains. You get the idea, I’m sure.

Resetting Your Baby’s Internal Clock

But there’s one thing to remember. If this has become the routine, you’ll need to patiently work on re-training your child’s sleep rhythms.

Ten minutes a day to stretch them out and you’ll be back where you both belong in no time at all!


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