Night lights and Summer nights!!
Updated: Aug 2
Throughout the year we are faced with seasonal light changes and I have written another blog about that here, which is a useful guide around the time of clock changes in March and October. BUT there are some additional tips here to help you throughout the year whatever the time of year you’re facing. Light during the night time isn’t just relevant in the Summer months … sometimes a night light can be a comfort all year round, and helps children settle to sleep. I’ve got some tips about night lights, as in theory, the best sleep environment is total blackout. And I’ll explain a bit more about that below. Let’s start with the use of night lights… Can a night light help your little one sleep better? Well, the answer is, maybe!
The ‘ideal’ setting for sleep is a completely dark environment for the whole night so generally for smaller ones, a black out is usually the best option for optimal sleep. This is because, when darkness falls, our bodies naturally produce the sleep hormone, melatonin, which induces sleep.
It is worth also knowing that light coming into the room in the early hours will likely wake your child much earlier than they really need to get up, as any light entering the eye through the retina, signals to the brain that it is time to wake. Therefore, cortisol production is considerably increased, to allow us to wake and be alert and ready to face the day. Ensuring complete darkness at this time helps with early morning wakes,
It’s not always that straight forward though! Some older toddlers or children may prefer some kind of light for reassurance if they wake during the night (which is normal), especially if they are transitioning from being in your room to their own, or they get easily scared in the dark. If this is your scenario, a night light could be a game changer. BUT it is key to get the right kind of night light to help induce and maintain sleep. Certain light is not beneficial in this process, so it’s important to use the right sort (so as not to be counter-productive) – Who knew!?! Here are my top tips for night light use:
Red/orange light works best if you do need a night light. Stay cool rechargeable touch lamps and salt lamps are good options, depending on the age of your child,
Switch off all bright lights and electronic devices at least an hour before bed. (eg. Phones, TV, Tablets, and dim overhead lights if possible)
Avoid bright/white/blue light as a night light (including a certain brand of sleep training clock!), as it dampens melatonin production, that wonderful sleep hormone!
Ideally, complete darkness for sleep is optimal
Numerous dimmable night lights are available – searches online will yield many options
SUMMER NIGHTS – BLOCK OUT THE LIGHTS!
As mentioned earlier, I’ve shared some great advice in my other blog that gives key information, but just to recap here: The perfect sleep environment for little ones to get to sleep is a quiet, dark, and cool space. TOP TIP: If you’re struggling to keep a room cool and don’t have the luxury of air con, then pop a container of ice in front of a fan – homemade air-con! It really helps! Darkness naturally induces that magic sleep hormone, melatonin, which is key. As we enter Summer Days and longer hours of light, it can be difficult to settle little ones without a dark environment. Blackout blinds or curtains, and many other innovations, are readily available on the market. These also help to keep rooms cool. In addition, there are some great hacks in creating that environment to help you! Check these out: Cost-saving hacks include the following:
Aluminium Foil: Dampen the window with a spray bottle and apply the tin foil to the bedroom windows in the evening. Be mindful of this method in extreme heat where the foil may need to be placed on the exterior of the window.
Paper Roll or Cardboard: Apply the cardboard or paper over the inside of the windows to block out the light. Tape it to the edge to block out all light. Thick bin bags also work well.
If you’d like to chat further, or would like some tailored advice, please book a free call with me to discuss here