Will a dark room help your baby to sleep better during the day?

Again, sooo many opinions! Some say your baby needs to nap in a room filled with light so they don’t get confused with day and night. Others say the room needs to be dark.

Just think for yourself, if you want a nice “Nanna Nap” on a Sunday afternoon, will my nap be nicer in a dark room or a room filled with light? Obviously the darker room. WHY?

As human beings, our brain (the pineal gland) naturally produces a hormone called Melatonin when it’s dark. When the sun goes down and darkness occurs, the pineal gland is “turned on” and begins to actively produce Melatonin. Melatonin makes you feel drowsy and get you ready for night time sleep.

Darker Room – More Melatonin – Better Quality Sleep

Bright lights inhibit the release of Melatonin.

Now, in regards to your baby’s nap during the day.

If your baby is having his nap in a bright room, the initially falling asleep might be a problem although I have found, once the room is dark this process happens a lot faster. We all have a normal sleep cycle which means you’ll have brief wake ups. A baby’s sleep cycle is 45 min which means he needs to learn to resettle back to sleep after 45 min. If he is having a brief wake up and the room is bright and filled with toys and things that can stimulate him, he will wake up more than he was meant to. They usually struggle to resettle back to sleep from this point.

If you baby is having a nap in a dark room, the pineal gland will be “turned on” and a little bit of Melatonin will be released into the bloodstream and he will have a much better quality sleep. When he has a brief wake up in a dark room, he will not see anything and will not be stimulated unnecessary. The resettling process back to sleep will happen a lot easier and quicker.

When my twins were little (0-4 months) they also had their naps in a bright room (I didn’t know better). They never slept for longer than 45 min. By 4 months I was exhausted and took them to sleep school. At sleep school they separated my twins and let them sleep in a room with no windows. It was pitch black in the room. That first day they slept for 3 hours!

To change your baby’s room from bright to dark is a small change to make to try and improve your baby’s nap time.

Why not try it out.​

Christine

How can I get my baby to nap longer during the day?

This is the one million dollar question for many parents. It can be very frustrating if you’ve been struggling for 30 min to get your baby to sleep and then he only sleeps for 30-45 min.

There is 2 parts to day naps:

  1. Falling asleep independently.
  2. Staying asleep independently by resettling back to sleep (learning to go back to sleep after waking up too early).

In order to improve both parts the following will help:

1.Your baby’s room needs to be dark.

One of many reasons why babies struggle to fall asleep and stay asleep during the day is because there is no Melatonin on board to help. Melatonin is a “sleepy” hormone your brain produces when it gets dark at night to prepare you for sleep. The darker it is, the more Melatonin is on board, the better you sleep. Because it’s not dark during the day, there is no Melatonin but if you make your baby’s room as dark as possible (even during the day), it will help getting some Melatonin on board.

2.Have a naptime routine.

Like with bedtime at night when you have bedtime routine, it’s also important to have a naptime routine. Your nap-time routine doesn’t have to be as long as your bedtime routine, but it’s just as important. Your baby needs to psychologically prepare himself for sleep; he needs that wind down time. You can’t just dump him in his cot and expect him to sleep. What happens in one sleep situation needs to happen in all sleep situations. For example: If you baby is sleeping in a sleeping bag at night, he needs to be sleeping in a sleeping bag during the day as well.

3.An example of a naptime routine.

  • Tell your baby it’s naptime

“Hannah, it’s naptime. Let’s go and have some sleep”

  • Pick her up and walk het to her cot in her room
  • Change her nappy
  • Close the curtains (Don’t do it before the time)
  • Put her in her sleeping bag
  • You can read her a short story or sing a song if you want to
  • Put her in her cot
  • Kiss good-bye
  • Walk out

4.Put your baby in her cot awake.

It’s very important not to feed your baby to sleep or rock her to sleep in your arms and then transfer her to her cot. Because she is in a sleep “state” and all of a sudden her body moves, her brain will wake her up immediately, because “why is the body moving?”. The brain thinks the body is in danger and brings the baby out of sleep instead deeper into sleep.

5.Eliminate nap time sleep associations.

Your baby needs to learn how to fall asleep independently. He needs to fall asleep without any help. That means:

  • No dummy
  • No rocking to sleep
  • No feeding to sleep

6.Put your baby down for a sleep before he is overtired.

Each age group has a max awake time. Put your baby down within this time frame and it will prevent over tiredness. When a baby is overtired, they work themselves up instead of down.

7.When your baby wakes from a nap.

Don’t go in straight away, he might resettle himself and go back to sleep. For newborns (0-12 weeks) wait 5 min before entering the room. From 12 weeks up, wait 10 min before entering the room. If your baby is not crying, don’t go in.

To fall asleep independently, only takes about 2-3 days of consistency.

To stay asleep, be able to resettle and sleep for more that 45 min, can take 4-6 weeks.

Consistency is the key!

Be patient.

Hope your baby’s napping improves.

Christine

5 ways to turn “catnaps” into significant naps

Your child taking too short naps can be very frustrating. This is one of the biggest
problems parents experience besides getting their child to fall asleep
independently.
When baby isn’t napping enough during the day he/she get’s so over tired and
grumpy that the problem spills over in night time sleep too.
Here is how to create that ideal environment for good quality naps:
1) Your child should be awake when you lay him or her down for their nap.
He should fall asleep in the crib and will wake up in the crib not shocked
that he isn’t in your arms or the stroller where he started his nap.

2) Experiment with what awake time your child needs not to be over tired
when going down but also not too awake and not wanting to sleep.
Over-tiredness is a sleep killer; tired kids have difficulty falling asleep and
staying asleep. Overtired babies have short naps, night wake ups and
early morning risings!

3) Ideally your baby will be on an “eat, play, sleep” schedule so she “eats”
when she wakes up, play for a while and then go down for the nap. Be
sure that your baby isn’t going to wake up early into the nap and hungry
because it’s been too long since she fed and going down for the nap.
(Babies still needing 2- 3 hourly feeds shouldn’t be awake longer than
45min anyway.) A snack for bigger babies before your nap routine could
help prevent a very hungry early wake up.

4) Have a short nap routine: it signals to your child that it’s nap- time. Read a
story and change their nappy and then lay them down and say your key
phrase like: It’s sleepy time. The nap routine should be short: 5-10 min.

5) Be consistent. If your child is napping all over the place eg. car seat,
stroller, mum’s lap or some days on the sofa he’ll be so confused as to
what is expected of him/her. Babies learn through repetition. Putting
them down in the same place for naps and night- time sleep teaches them
that this is the place where I’m expected to sleep. There are obviously
exceptions when you just have to attend a doctor’s appointment and this
is the times when baby can have a sneaky nap in the car seat.

Once you helped your child by removing their sleep props and your child
is going into their crib awake but not over tired or hungry and you stay
consistent with your routines and the nap locations you could expect an
improvement within 2-4 weeks.

Happy Sleeping while on Holiday

When you’re planning a family holiday with a baby, an important thing to consider is how your travel plans are going to affect your child’s sleep routine. You’ll have a much more enjoyable vacation if you organize your trip in a way that allows for as little disruption as possible to your little one’s sleep schedule.
This will help ensure she gets the rest she needs to be happy, healthy, and alert during your trip—which is bound to make your holiday more enjoyable for everyone!
Here are some tips to help ensure sure your baby gets the sleep he needs during your travels:

Tip 1: Don’t over-schedule

One of the biggest mistakes parents make is to try to pack in all the fun and adventure they might have had back in their “child-free” days. The fact is, when you travel with a baby you can’t plan to go bungee-jumping in the morning, swim with dolphins in the early afternoon, go parasailing in the late afternoon, and go on a dinner cruise in the evening.
It’s better to slow down the pace and make sure you schedule regular naps and early bedtimes, just like you would at home.

Tip 2: Be consistent with naps and bedtime

An occasional nap in the car seat or a later-than-usual bedtime probably won’t do too much harm, but if your baby’s naps are all over the place and she goes to bed much later than usual several days in a row, your baby will become so overtired and cranky that a complete meltdown will be inevitable

Tip 3: Be patient as your baby acclimatizes to the new environment

Even if your baby is the best little sleeper in the world at home, when you’re in a strange environment things might be very different. It’s normal for babies and toddlers to test boundaries around sleep when they’re someone new.
Just because you have certain rules at home, they won’t automatically understand that the same rules apply at Grandma’s house.
In a strange place, your baby might cry for a while at bedtime or wake up at odd times during the night. The best way to handle this kind of behavior is to react the same way you would at home. Go into the room every five minutes or so to offer a bit of reassurance, but other than that, don’t bend your rules. If you hang on tight to your consistency, within the first night or two, your child will be used to the new environment and will be sleeping well again.

Tip 4. Make sure you bring your child’s sleeping toy and/or blanket

If your child has a treasured comfort item, it will go a long way to helping him feel safe and secure enough to fall asleep in a strange environment. Forget it at your peril!

Tip 5. If you’re not a co-sleeping family, don’t start now

Another big mistake parents make is to start sharing a bed with their baby or toddler while traveling. Even if it’s only for a few nights, if your baby decides this is her new preferred way to sleep, you could find yourself dealing with a big problem when you get home and put her back in her cot.
The good news is, most hotels have a cot you can use or rent. You could also take your portable playpen along and use that as a cot.