​What is the Ideal Sleep Environment?

by Tiani Needham

Coming from a sleep consultant and a Mum, setting up an ideal sleep environment is my number one recommendation for clients and my main priority in my home. 

Making some gentle changes to your child’s bedroom such as creating a dark room, using white, brown or rain noise and adjusting the temperature can help create healthy sleep habits for your child with also the added benefit of helping your child feel a sense of calm.

A Dark Room:

Placing black out blinds in your child’s room (or a dark sheet if the blinds aren’t possible) can help achieve a dark room. The darker the room, the better your child will sleep.

Did you know, a dark room can help your child to feel a sense of comfort and safety? This will help your child to calmly settle to sleep and stay asleep.

You may be curious, if your child is going to sleep in a dark room during the day won’t that cause night and day confusion?

The answer is no. This is because when a sleep routine is in place, your baby’s circadian rhythm (your child’s natural sleep-wake cycle) will naturally recognise that it is daytime and only a nap is needed. I know, it sounds like magic!

I recommend giving your child a lot of natural light exposure throughout the day as they play. Start from birth. This will help ensure there is no night/day confusion. When your child is awake in the morning, simply going for a walk outside or opening the blinds to bring in the natural sunlight can help achieve this.

What about a Night Light?

A night light with a soft red-light focus has many benefits for you and your child in the night. The dim red light is soothing and helps to produce melatonin (the sleep hormone). With the added benefit of dim lighting to see your child in the dark when giving night feeds or assisting their needs.

I use and recommend the Hush Vaporiser I personally love the ability to have the cover on for a dull red light or you can take the cover off if you or your child prefer the room to be brighter.

White Noise, Brown Noise, or Rain Noise:

White noise, brown noise, and rain noise is recommended to be used for babies to replicate the sounds heard in the womb. This is a calming experience for when your baby is adjusting to the outside world. It has many other benefits and is helpful even when your baby evolves to a toddler and eventually to preschool age and into adulthood.

Noise machines:

- Help calm your child

- Block out any noises that may disturb your child’s sleep.

- Act as a helpful sleep cue, turning on the sound therapy machine before bed can assist your child to recognise it is time to sleep.

- It is consistent, ensuring your child is hearing the same sound when they fall asleep and between sleep cycles, helping them to dive into a deep sleep.

I recommend using a sound therapy machine for all ages and the Hush Vaporiser has all three options for you to choose. For my children they personally prefer the brown noise, and so do I.

Temperature:

Did you know, the cooler the room for your child i.e., 20-22 degrees, the better-quality sleep your child (and hopefully you) will have. If it is too cold or hot for your child, they are less likely to enter a deep sleep, causing sleep disturbances.

*Fun Fact* One of the most common causes for early rising- the 4am-5am wake up, is a low body temperature.

But don’t overthink it, the temperature in your child’s room cannot always be adjusted, and that is okay too! 

Dressing your child appropriately at night will help. I suggest dressing them according to the tog rating on their sleep suit/bag. Ideally, if the room is 20 degrees, a 1 tog pouch paired with a long sleeve onesie and a short sleeve body suit will be the achievable warmth for your child to maintain throughout the night.

We don’t want your child to overheat though so gently placing the back of your fingers on your child’s chest to make sure they are not hot (or cold). If your child is feeling too warm or sweating drop down a layer.

Letting the cool mist vaporiser run during your child’s sleep is the perfect addition for a cool sleep environment.

I recommend using a sleep bag through the night for your child. There are many added benefits to using a sleep bag, but my favourite is knowing my child is at the right temperature all night long. My personal recommendation is the Love to Dream sleep suits, I have used the Love to Dream sleep suits for both my children.

Safe Sleeping:

Following the safe sleeping guidelines, I recommend that your child’s cot or bassinet mattress is firm, clean, flat and the right size to fit the cot or bassinet.

I suggest not having any of the following:

  • Pillows
  • Cot bumpers
  • Sheep skin
  • Soft toys (prior to 7 months)
  • Blankets

Always sleep your baby on their back and keep their head and face uncovered. Every bedroom is unique, but simply making a few gentle and comforting changes to your child's bedroom can help your little one and yourself get the sleep you need. 

For more sleep tips, check out my instagram and website.

With love, Tiani from Compassionate Sleep Consultant xx