Help Your Child Sleep by Controlling Light

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Help Your Child Sleep by Controlling Light

This content was created by the National Sleep Foundation

As you think about crafting a sleep-friendly bedroom environment, remember that our little ones’ bodies are also very sensitive to light cues. Use your knowledge of light and dark to help your kids sleep better too.

Screen time may activate the brain, so limit it in the hours before bed and keep technology out of your child’s room. Instead, arrange comfy pillows in a clutter-free, calming space (although never in the crib, for safety reasons) so she can read and relax. When you start your bedtime routine, keep the lights low to help your child wind down, and after lights-out, use a nightlight in the bathroom for late evening or nighttime potty trips. Scan the room for any additional sources of light, such as those from electronics, and if your child likes to sleep with a nightlight, use one that is quite dim. Room darkening shades and curtains can be very helpful for blocking evening light during the summer, streetlights, as well as morning rays (especially handy if you have an early riser). These can also be useful to darken the room for daytime naps.

If you have a baby, managing her exposure to light and dark is key in the early months while the circadian rhythm is maturing. In the morning, raise the shades and take her outside for a dose of indirect sunlight. As bedtime approaches, make the lights dim and keep them low during the night for feedings.