A baby’s sleep environment is an important thing to consider when you are establishing healthy sleep habits. The most important thing when it comes to your baby’s room environment is the safety of it. See the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Safe Sleep Guidelines for information on what will keep your infant safe. One recommendation is that parents sleep in the same room but in a separate bed, for at least the first six months. The following suggestions are recommended regardless of whether your baby is sleeping in your room or not.
As far as what environment your baby will sleep well in, you want the room to be like a cave: cool, dark and non-stimulating.
What is the recommended room temperature for babies?
It's recommended that the temperature in the nursery stays between 68 to 72 degrees Fahrenheit (20-22 degrees Celsius). Your baby’s room can get too cold if it drops much below 68 degrees. It should stay in this range throughout the year, whether it’s summer or winter.
How do I tell if my baby is cold?
Feel your baby’s chest and tummy area. It should be warm. Their hands may feel cold and that’s okay as long as the chest and tummy are warm. If this area feels cold, then try bumping the temperature up a degree or two.
Should my baby sleep in the dark?
Yes! Babies can find all kinds of ways to entertain themselves, which means parents need to make sure their sleep environment is as dark as possible so there are no distractions that may impact them falling asleep. The darker the room is, the more it will support Melatonin, the sleepy hormone, to do its work. Go into your baby’s room during both nighttime and naptime to see if there are any potential sources of light. Babies do not need a nightlight as they don’t have an imagination yet and are not afraid of the dark. Blackout curtains or blinds are a must!
When should my baby nap in the dark?
You can start your baby off with napping in the dark from the very beginning but if you haven’t made it dark for naptime by the time your baby is a few months old, I would definitely suggest it then.
Try to use calming colors and keep screens and any toys in another room. I do not recommend mobiles or light-up aquariums.
The womb was a loud place to be, so you don’t want your baby’s room to be completely quiet. Use white noise to help your baby settle better and sleep for longer. It also helps block out any other household or environmental sounds that might wake your baby.
The white noise should stay on throughout all naps and during the whole night.
The white noise should ideally be played about as loud as a shower. If you have a decibel reader (you can get an app on your phone for free) I recommend the white noise be played around 65 dB. Place the decibel reader in the spot where your baby sleeps and leave the white noise where it typically is to get an accurate reading.
The environment should stay the same all night long. If the door is closed when your baby falls asleep at bedtime, it should stay closed all night. If the temperature is around 70 degrees when your baby falls asleep, it should stay around 70 degrees all night. If the lights are completely off when your baby falls asleep, keep the lights off all night long. If anything changes in the environment after your baby falls asleep, it might wake them up fully to investigate that change the next time they transition sleep cycles.
Remember, your baby’s room environment should be cool, dark, non-stimulating and consistent all night. These things could really help your baby (and you!) sleep better!
If your baby’s environment is ideal but they still won’t sleep, set up a free Discovery Call so Tara can help make your home a rested home!
About the Author:
Tara Hess a certified Gentle Sleep Coach who works with families of children from birth to ten years. She founded Tulsa Pediatric Sleep Consulting in 2011 as one of the first sleep consultants in the U.S.