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Sleep Environment

This week we’re looking at how you can make sure your baby is in an environment that will help them to sleep well.

Before we go any further, it’s important for you to familiarise yourself with the safe sleeping guidelines from the Lullaby Trust. You should always follow these guidelines first and foremost when considering your baby’s sleep environment.

Here are our top tips:

Light – When babies go to sleep, it’s mainly down to a perfect balance of hormones. The stress hormone reduces, and the sleep hormone increases. How can we help this? Well we need to simulate night time to increase that sleepy hormone.. we essentially trick our kids! Our first port of call is blackout blinds. They are a great way to block out light (especially in the summer) and make sure babies know that it’s time to sleep and not party. We almost want to make their environment a bit boring, so they don’t want to stay awake! If you do need a night light, try to avoid bright or blue lights as they can be quite disruptive to sleep - pick a nice amber colour like a Himalayan salt lamp.

Noise – White noise can be a really useful tool to block out background noise and also simulates the noises a baby hears in the womb, which can be really comforting for them. Place the white noise machine about 3 feet away from your baby’s cot and don’t have it on too loud (max 50 decibels). It should drown out background noise, but not be the only thing you can hear. Make sure it’s kept consistent - it needs to be played all nap/night long and should not fade or stop. Don’t turn it off and on when you do a night feed! It should only be turned off when the nap has ended or you’re ready to start your day.

Temperature – Ideally you want the temperature in your baby’s room to be between 16 and 20 degrees. We recommend the use of a thermometer to check. A well-fitting sleep suit and sleeping bag will be enough to keep them warm. If it’s really hot, you might want to think about removing a layer.

Other Distractions – Ignore all those social media pictures of perfectly decorated nurseries with beautiful toys and cot mobiles - it’s not real life! It actually isn’t beneficial to have lots going on in your baby’s bedroom. Shelves and shelves of toys and games might end up being an unwelcome distraction for them in the middle of the night! Keep everything quite simple - no toys within reach of the cot, no mobiles or projectors above your baby’s bed and just generally keep distractions away from your little one’s reach. You want your baby to realise that when they are in their cot, they need to sleep, not play.

Make time to play with your little one in their room. The more familiar they are with their surroundings, the more comfortable they will be if they wake up in the night. Half an hour or so a day can be a real game changer, especially as your little one gets older and becomes more aware of where they are.

Your child’s sleep environment is a really important piece of the puzzle, so make sure it’s a nice, calm environment for them by using our tips and tricks.

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