A good sleep environment sets the stage for healthy sleep habits. A wise parent considers room temperature, sound, and light. Or anything else that could wake up and stimulate the child’s brain. 

Consider room sharing for at least the first six months of a baby’s life.

 

Here are some tips to help setup bedrooms that encourage sleep.

 

Sleep Environments for Babies

Dark, Dark, Dark.  Pay attention to any sources of light that can come into the room.  This can range from LED lights coming off baby monitors, sunlight coming through curtains, or hall light coming under the door.  Light sensitivity affects many babies.
 
Keep all screens out of the baby’s room.  This means no iPads, TV’s, or smart phones.  The light emitted from these screens stimulate the baby’s brain.
 

Comfortable. Keep room temperature between 68 and 72 degrees.

 

Quiet please.  If you find that sudden noises wake babies, then do consider a sound machine.  These machines work well at a low volume, or loud.  Make them loud enough to dampen any noises that can come from the environment.

 

Safe. Keep cribs free from all toys and blankets. Babies sleep surfaces need to be firm. I recommend taking mobiles away from cribs. These can inspire play. American Academy of Pediatrics recommends for fans in the room to help lower the SIDS risk.  Also the fan can double as a sound machine.
American Academy of Pediatrics recommends room sharing for babies. Consider room sharing for at least the first six months of a baby’s life. Twelve months is the best.
 

Sleep Environment for Toddlers

Dark, Dark, Dark. Keep the room dark until about 2.5yrs.  Around two and a half to three years old a child’s imagination develops.  A low watt nightlight can help calm the imagination down in the middle of the night.

 

Quiet please. As with babies, toddlers can be sensitive to noise as well.  This can be true even for adults.

 

Comfortable and Safe. The toddler’s room should be calm environment.  A child’s desire to play and roam around the room increases as a child’s mobility and curiosity increases.  Be mindful of this if your toddler gets up in the middle of the night to play.

Once a child has transitioned to a toddler (or larger) bed, do look around the room to toddler proof.  For the curious child, you may want to consider a baby gate.  Wise parents prevent a child from getting hurt due to climbing up shelves or roaming around the house at night.
 
Keep in mind that at 12 months you can introduce a toddler pillow and blanket into the crib.
To learn more about Dr. Hartman’s work with infants and sleep visit her website.