Parents everywhere all have the same question in mind – “Should I make my baby’s nursery dark when they sleep?”. For this question, there is no straight forward answer and opinions are very split.
Some parents feel that making the nursery dark will make their baby oversleep. Others feel that leaving a light on will make it difficult for their baby to sleep soundly.
In this article, we will be clearing all these opinions up and showing you how you should be preparing your baby for sleep.
Should A Nursery Be Dark When A Baby's Sleeping?
When we go to sleep, we will generally turn the lights off and shut the curtains as doing so provides us with comfort. When we are napping, we are usually able to nap anywhere even with the sun shining through.
For babies, however, it becomes a lot more complicated. Many parents are torn when it comes to the environment our babies should sleep in.
Whilst some believe the nursery should be completely dark even during the day, others think that it is best to have the light shining through. Well, the answer all depends on the age of your baby.
When it comes to sleep, babies do not have the capability to distinguish night from day until they are around 2-4 months old (hence why babies are usually up all through the night and sleep all day).
Because of this, a pitch-black nursery during the day can confuse a baby. Making them think that it is time for bed when you are really just putting them down for a scheduled nap.
They still need to set their internal clocks, allowing them to know when it is night and day. The amount of light shining through or darkness in the nursery will influence this a lot. This is where the baby’s age plays its role.
Creating a regular Bedtime Routine will help babies distinguish their night from day.
When babies are in the womb, they are more likely to be asleep during the day. This is due to the mother’s rocking movements. And awake during the night, but of course, this is not how it should be. Because of this, a baby needs to be trained to reverse this sleeping pattern.
As newborns, it is wise to have the curtains either open or drawn with the natural light creeping into the nursery whilst your baby is asleep. By doing this, you are allowing your baby to understand that this is daytime. At night is the only time the nursery should be dark.
With time, you will notice that your baby will have adjusted, understanding the difference between night and day. Once they can distinguish the difference, you can then darken the nursery during the day for your baby’s nap.
Doing this will do wonders for your baby’s sleep and you are setting up a cozy environment that will help them to sleep soundly.
A typical newborn requires more sleep than you may think. Find out just how much sleep your newborn should be getting by week.
What Will Happen If You Darken the Nursery During The Day?
Darkening your baby’s nursery during the day for them to sleep has many benefits. The main one is that they are able to sleep comfortably and soundly. But this will do no good for their internal clock.
Babies naturally cannot tell the difference between day and night and darkening the room they sleep in during the day will not help them to adapt.
Although it may be difficult for them to settle, it is better to get them used to sleeping with natural light to adapt them to their environment.
Don’t Use A Nightlight
Nightlights are great tools for toddlers who may be afraid of the dark, as they will find comfort in a light source. But for a newborn or a baby, this is not necessary to use throughout the night.
Babies, especially as they enter their early months, are easily distracted by the things around them. They are wanting to explore different items and will easily lose focus. It is important for babies to sleep for their own sake and having a nightlight will be a big distraction.
It is best to leave the nightlights for toddlers and instead keep your baby in a dark room during the night. Without light, they will not be distracted by the toy in the room or the bright glowing light.
Making Sure Your Baby’s Nursery Is Dark Enough
At night, you want to make sure that your baby’s nursery is dark enough for them to feel comfortable and safe. To do this is very easy to achieve.
Darken The Entire House
Around 30-60 minutes before taking your baby to bed, it is a good idea to darken the entire house by lowering the lights and turning off electronic devices. By doing this, you will relax your baby, allowing for a calm sleep.
Use Blackout Curtains
Blackout curtains are a great investment if you are wanting to block out all light sources.
Blackout curtains work just as expected – they do not let any light through, blacking out the entire room. These curtains will ensure that your baby gets the sleep they need.
Don’t Turn The Main Light On
When you are attending to your baby in the middle of the night, make sure not to turn the main light on as this will only mess with their sleeping schedule. You should instead use a nightlight as it only gives off a subtle light that won’t interrupt their sleep.
When it comes to darkening the nursery or letting in natural light for when your baby sleeps, there is really no right or wrong.
Every parent does it differently and it always depends on the baby too. Whatever you decide to do, you should always consider the impact on their internal clock.
When babies can tell their day from night, they will begin to sleep better.
For additional tips, read our post on How to Get Your Baby Sleeping Through the Night.