Should Newborns Sleep In The Dark?

The answer to the question of whether babies should sleep in the dark is YES!

It’s essential when training a baby to sleep at night to use light and darkness strategically. Babies have no problem sleeping in the darkness, but you should be careful when you utilize it.

A dark atmosphere is responsible for how our brains release melatonin, one of the most significant hormones when it comes to sleep.

Conversely, light causes alertness in the human brain, which is why most people thrive in a well-lit workplace. Newborn babies have a lot of trouble telling the difference between night and day.

To get them to sleep through the night, then, it’s important to use strategic lighting methods to make sure they can learn the distinction quickly.

Babies need to nap during the day, even when they sleep all through the night, and this can be very confusing when it comes to distinguishing the time of day.

The best solution is to vary light sources so that the child knows the difference between ‘naptime’ and ‘sleep time.’

A baby, even a newborn, should take naps in a well-lit room unless they have significant difficulty falling asleep for naps over a prolonged period.

Only the nighttime sleep should happen in complete or near-complete darkness. If you feel more comfortable with a nightlight, there is no harm, but you must ensure it is dim and not the kind of bright that could confuse your baby’s light receptors.

Light dimming is a crucial tool for inducing sleepiness at the right time, too.

Around one or two hours before your baby’s bedtime, you should start making the light sources duller.

Doing this will trigger melatonin production and lead them towards eventual sleep. There are various methods for this; if your lights have dimmer switches, it’s as easy as turning a knob or pressing a button. There are still simple solutions without a dimmer.

You can also change from the overhead light to lamps with a lower wattage.

You can also close curtains or blinds, turn off decorative lights, or do other such things to introduce darkness and nighttime inside the house slowly but surely.

Consider also having blinds or blackout curtains in the room where your baby sleeps.

You want to train your baby to sleep when it is dark and be awake when it is light, but that doesn’t mean you wish to wake up at four every summer morning!

Control when and how sunlight wakes your baby, which will help you control their overall sleep pattern.

These window shades are also beneficial if your baby does have difficulty with afternoon naps and cannot sleep with any light.

Newborn babies also have no concept of fear of the dark.

If you encourage them to sleep in low or no light, they are unlikely to develop such fear and hinder their sleep progress!

Darkness, then, is perfect for the sleep hygiene of a baby right from birth. Making use of it is the best way to ensure that everyone in the house can have a great night of sleep.

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Our Expert

Jane Cooke - Baby Sleep Expert