You may be reading about all kinds of tricks and methods to get your baby sleeping through the night. Some work and some don’t and every baby is different. But one thing that will help any baby (or toddler, or child, or even adult!) sleep better is to create a relaxing and calming bedroom. Follow these 5 steps to help your baby fall asleep easily and stay asleep all night.
1. Keep it simple
Keep your baby’s room neat and clean with minimal decorations. Too much stimulation from too many pictures and mobiles and toys can be overstimulating and distracting for your baby which will make it harder for your baby to sleep.
Also to prevent SIDS and suffocation, “bare is best” for your baby’s crib. That means keeping the following items out of the crib:
- pillows, cushions and bassinet mattress
- quilts, comforters, and blankets
- stuffed toys
2. Keep it dark
Even the slightest bit of morning light can wake up your baby. And all babies should sleep until at least 6 am to get the 10-12 hours of sleep they need a night.
So blackout blinds or curtains are key to keeping the light out. I personally like Blackout EZwindow coverings. They’re easy to put up and they block out 100% of the light. But if you’re on a budget or in a pinch, you can always use garbage bags instead.
Don’t worry about your baby is afraid of the dark. That doesn’t happen until toddlerhood. And if your toddler is afraid of the dark, a dim nightlight is fine. Just make sure it’s a red light. Blue and bright lights will suppress melatonin, the hormone that helps us sleep.
3. Keep it cool
Babies (and adults, too) tend to sleep better when it’s cool. Our body temperature naturally drops right before bedtime to help us sleep. So if your baby is too hot, it’s going to be harder for her to fall asleep.
A room temperature of 68-72 degrees is ideal. You can tell if your baby is too hot by feeling her nose, ears, and back of her neck. If it’s too hot in the bedroom, dress her lightly in a onesie and a light sleep sack. You can even have a fan blowing directly on her if it’s really hot.
A sleep sack works great for keeping your baby warm but not too warm. It also keeps her from climbing out of the crib as she gets older. My favorite is this one from BittaKidda.
4. Keep it quiet
Once babies are around 3 months old, it becomes harder for them to sleep anywhere and through anything. A quiet environment is ideal for your baby for naps and nighttime sleep.
But, you don’t want it to be too quiet. You don’t want to be tiptoeing around the house the 12-15 hours a day that your baby is sleeping. Getting your child used to sleep through a little bit of background noise (like talking, TV, housework, etc.) from a young age is key.
Also, I love a white noise machine to muffle some of the louder noises that could otherwise wake up your baby. Try out my favorite portable white noise machine here. Or keep it simple and use a fan.
5. Keep it calm
It’s great to have lots of rowdy fun in your child’s bedroom during the day. But starting about an hour before bedtime, your baby’s bedroom should be calm and relaxing.
This calm environment makes sure that your baby doesn’t get overstimulated before bed. Remember, overstimulated babies have a hard time falling asleep.
Being calm also helps your baby wind down for the rest of the evening until bedtime. She’ll understand that fun time is over and that it’s time to go to sleep soon.
So cuddles, stories, and songs are great before bed! Just save the roughhousing, tickling and peek-a-boo for earlier in the day. Stay calm and sleep on.
Creating a simple, calm, dark, cool and quiet sleep environment for your baby will help set the stage for a good night’s sleep. But if your baby or toddler isn’t sleeping well, chances are a perfect bedroom isn’t going to solve the problem. If your baby needs your help to get back to sleep in the night, the solution is actually pretty simple. Sign up to get free 5 Secrets to Get Your Baby Sleeping Through the Night at www.happylittlecamperjh.com/freeguide.