Turning baby’s room into a sleep sanctuary
Have you considered how you can make your baby’s room into a sleep sanctuary? No seriously, a baby’s bedroom should be much more than just a nursery. And I have to admit that when I fell pregnant, the baby’s room was not the first thing on my mind. There were whole lot of other emotions and thoughts I had to leap through first. And while decorating the nursery was a project I could get into (because who doesn’t like interior decorating, right?), knowing what else I really needed for the room was a bit hit and miss. And then when baby was here, there was even more to think about; and while lacking sleep too.
There’s actually a lot more to consider about the environment your baby will sleep in than just the theme or colour of the room. Things like comfort, need and safety. Who knew!?
The advice I have for new or expecting parents is that functionality definitely beats fashion when it comes to your baby’s bedroom. The primary function of the room should be to help your child sleep. So you can go ahead and decorate to your hearts content, but please keep these things in mind as well. Here are my top tips for turning your baby’s room into a sleep sanctuary.
- DARK IS GOOD
Keep the room dark; really dark. I recommend some decent blackout blinds for keeping the outside light away. You should also consider turning the lights off in the area outside the room as well. Darkness tells the brain that it’s time to go to sleep. In contrast to light which wakes us up and can inhibit our melatonin production (the sleepy hormone). This is especially noteworthy for light near the blue end of the spectrum, typically associated with screens and sunlight.
- CONTROL THE TEMPERATURE
While it’s not always possible to keep a bedroom a consistent temperature, it’s best to regulate it as much as you can. Children sleep best in a room that’s somewhere between 18 and 22 degrees Celsius, typically on the warmer side for newborns and slightly cooler for older babies. But feel free to adjust it as you see fit. Some children like to be bundled up in a cool room, and some prefer sleeping in next to nothing in a warmer one. So see what works best for your baby. Once you know what your child prefers, stick with it.
- WHITE NOISE
White noise machines can be a great addition to a baby room. Initially they’re there to recreate the sound of the womb, and later on they help mask loud intrusive noises that can wake your little one up. Just be sure to keep any machine or loud app at a reasonable distance from the cot. Some white noise devices have been measured at a hearing loss level of over 85 decibels, (which is about as loud as a blender by the way).
- NO DISTRACTIONS
Cot mobiles, light shows and cot toys are definitely cute, but they’re more likely to keep your little one awake than help her fall asleep. Babies sleep best in a cot with a sleep sack or safe blanket, and maybe a soft cuddly toy (if age appropriate). It really is best to leave the entertainment outside the bedroom.
- COLOURS THAT SOOTHE
I couldn’t wait to decorate my firstborn’s bedroom. It was gender neutral with a Winnie the Pooh theme. But you should note that the colour you choose could make a difference to sleep. A British study from 2013 suggested that blue, yellow and green are the most sleep-conducive wall colours, while purple, grey and brown scored the lowest.
- GO WITH A GREAT MATTRESS
If you’ve done some research into where your baby will sleep, you’ll know that a new cot mattress is recommended. But it really is worth getting the best new mattress you can. Its worth all that research because your little one really does have a sensitive body that will be spending a lot of time on this mattress.
- KEEP EVERYTHING IN ITS PLACE
Keep it organised. Everyone tends to sleep better in a clean, organised bedroom, but that’s not the only reason to keep your child’s room organised. Remember that the less light you have on when going in to feed or change a nappy during the night, the better. If you’ve got a place for everything and everything in its place, you can hopefully get more done without turning on a lamp or tripping over something.
Really, baby’s room should be about sleep, and sleep only. If they start thinking that it’s a play area, then eventually that’s what they’re going to want to do when they get in their room. But if they know that the bedroom is a place to sleep, and that’s what happens there, they’ll be much more comfortable falling asleep and staying asleep.
So how’s that sleep sanctuary looking Mum and Dad?
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Because everyone needs a good night’s sleep!
“I think we dream so we don’t have to be apart so long.
If we’re in each other’s dreams we can be together all the time.”
Winnie the Pooh