If you answered no light, I’m impressed! I don’t even do that in my own kids’ rooms. Most parents use some sort of light in their child’s room and that is ok but let’s talk about what type and color of light is the best if you are choosing to use it.
To understand why I would recommend one certain light over another, let’s briefly discuss the science around it.
During daylight our adrenal glands secrete cortisol in response to many things (the most common is fight or flight). However, cortisol levels are at their highest at the beginning of the day when we are first exposed to daylight which gets us moving in the morning. They begin to drop as the day continues. As evening closes in, melatonin production begins.
Now this is where the color of light becomes important. As technology has advanced and the use of lightbulbs and eventually TV’s, computer monitors, smart phones and tablets were introduced, our brain began to get confused on what time of day it was and continued to secrete cortisol. We found that there was a sudden jump in sleeping issues when all these technologies were introduced in adults but also in children. (For a great article on blue light, click here.)
Is technology the primary reason why kids have trouble sleeping? No, but it can contribute to issues falling asleep. With this in mind, consider the amount and type of light that is in your child’s room at night. If you are using a light source in your child’s room, consider using a soft yellow or red but never a blue or white light. The wavelengths of different colors of light (blue or white is short and red or yellow is long) is important as it mimics daylight (blue/white) and evening (red/yellow). Bottom line, we want more red/yellow light in the evening.
What to do to help your little one sleep better:
- Turn the lights down in the house 2 hours prior to bedtime.
- Turn off all tablets, phones, TV’s, etc.… 2 hours prior to bedtime.
- Don’t allow the use of electronic devices in their bed at any time of the day.
- Put a piece of tape over any lights emitted by devices (wipe warmers, humidifiers, monitors) in your baby’s room.
- Use red or yellow light during baby’s bedtime routine and then dim the light even further for sleep.
As a side note, keeping the room dark with the use of blackout curtains is equally as important for a restful night sleep as is the type and amount of light that is given off from electronics in their room. If you are in search for some great black out curtains, check out SLEEPOUT! (Use code NEWLEAF for a discount.)
I hope you found this helpful in optimizing your baby’s sleep at night.