Your Baby’s Sleep Environment Really Does Matter!

By Renee Wasserman, PT, MPH April 26, 2013
Your baby has been bathed, given her bottle, and has her blankie in hand. She is exhausted and ready for bed . . . so why won’t she sleep? It’s possible her sleep environment is the culprit. Your baby’s sleep environment is a critical piece of her learning to sleep through the night. Make sure to take these steps to help your baby sleep comfortably:

1. Darken the Room
  • Keep the room as dark as possible. Darkness cues the brain to produce melatonin, a hormone responsible for helping to induce and sustain sleep.Do not keep the closet light on or a light that shines onto the ceiling.
  • If you think a nightlight is necessary, use a very low wattage and have it plugged in low to the ground and behind a piece of furniture.
  • Consider using blackout shades to keep the sunlight out of the room.
  • If you don’t have blackout shades, you can tape black trash bags to the windows . . . a very cost-effective way of making your room dark!
2. Adjust the Temperature
  • The ideal temperature for your baby’s room is 68 degrees. Be sure your little one is dressed appropriately so that she is not too cold or too hot, which makes it harder to fall asleep and stay asleep.
3. Try White Noise
  • Whether it is the sound of the washing machine churning or the early morning birds, background noises may be keeping your child up at night or waking them too early in the morning. White noise helps to drown out these background sounds to help your child sleep longer and more soundly!
4. Keep the Crib Boring
  • The Safe to Sleep campaign recommends no toys, stuffed animals, sleep positioners, or loose bedding in the crib until your little one is 1 year of age.
  • Don't use mobiles, aquariums, dream lights, etc., as these distract your baby from putting herself to sleep. The crib is for sleeping and sleeping only!
Renee Wasserman, PT, MPH, founder of SleepyHead Solutions, is a Family Sleep Institute-certified Infant and Child Sleep Consultant. She offers many services including phone, email, Skype/FaceTime, and in-person consultations to solve your child’s sleep challenges. Feel free to email her with any questions. You can find out more information at her website and on her Facebook page.