We’re back once again with our favourite sleep experts over at the lovely ‘Little Dreams Consulting’, to uncover some top tips on how to create the perfect sleep environment for newborns and beyond. Let’s face it, as parents we could all use a little more shut eye, but it’s just as important to establish a good sleep routine for little ones too.
Here at Little Dreams Consulting, we work closely with families to give them the right tools to make sleep easier for everyone.
It’s vital that as parents, we create a calm and comfortable environment for our baby or child to sleep in. And, that when we bring them into their bedroom, they understand that this is where sleep should come easily and naturally to them.
Read on for our quick guide to making your space a positive place to induce sweet dreams.
- Safety first
We work closely with the Lullaby Trust who recommend that there should be nothing in your baby’s cot for the first 12 months, other than a firm waterproof mattress. Try to avoid loose bedding too where possible. Using a size/age-appropriate sleeping bag can keep little ones warm enough but also ensure they are safe.
After 12 months, one of the biggest mistakes we find parents make when it comes to their children’s bedroom is that they make it too exciting and stimulating. Once children get a little older It can be really tempting to have tents, mobiles, stuffed animals and bright murals on the wall but, when it comes to bedrooms, less is more.
If you have any of these things near where your little one sleeps, you may want to remove these or store them away when bedtime approaches;
- Mobiles over the cot at sleep times
- Glow in the dark stars or over-exciting bedroom wall designs
- More than 1-2 special stuffed toys
- Anything that could be stimulating and not encourage sleep
- Keep it dark
Contrary to what a lot of people believe, babies are not afraid of the dark. In fact, fear of the dark is a learned fear, and most babies would much prefer a completely dark sleep environment.
Once little ones have learned independent sleep skills, we find one of the main reasons babies wake up too early is because they are so sensitive to the slightest change in light levels. Even though we are coming into winter it would still be a good idea to consider blackout blinds and blackout curtains.
- Keep it quiet (but not too quiet)
Although children’s rooms should be completely dark, they can be a little too quiet. It can be easier for little ones to fall asleep when noise is kept to a minimum, but you could get your little one used to a bit of background noise for example conversation etc., so they’ll be able to sleep that through busy family life when they’re in bed.
If you have noisy neighbours/siblings, live on a busy road etc. a white or pink noise machine can work wonders. Ensure this is pure white/pink noise (rather than rainforest/washing machine etc.) and ensure it is on all night and for naptimes too.
- Keep it cool
We often find little ones can be overdressed for bed, especially when they are little. The recommended temperature for a baby’s room is between 16 to 20°. In fact, a 0.5% change in temperature can really impact our sleep. Make sure you check your little one’s temperature by feeling their back or chest and not relying on the temperature of their hands.
A sleeping bag can work well to maintain the best body temperature (link) but be aware that 4am is generally when our bodies (and our houses) are the coolest, so we want to try and avoid our little ones waking up because they are cold.
- Have a calming bedtime routine
Although this is not strictly about bedroom environment, having a good, calm bedtime routine can really help. An hour or so before bedtime, try to ensure that everything is quiet and calm. You could use this time to have a quiet play and a ‘sleepy snack’ but you want to try and set the tone for the night. By not engaging in active play the hour before bedtime, your little one will understand that fun time is over and that, whilst you can, of course, have cuddles, singing, laughter and storytelling, this will be nice and calm.
Often tweaks to a child’s bedroom can really help them sleep but if you’re the parent of a baby or child who isn’t sleeping well, chances are there is a little bit more work that needs to be done.
If you feel like you need a little extra help with your little one’s sleep, you can book a free 15-minute no obligation call with Jenna or a member of the team Jenna@littledreamsconsulting.com they would love to help. They are also a franchise, so it is likely there is a sleep consultant in your area (or perhaps even an exciting new career opportunity available to you.)
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For more expert sleep advice, be sure to have a read of our other sleep related blog posts, How to Manage the Springtime Clock Change with Little Ones and Top Sleep Tips for Little Travellers.
About Jenna and Little Dreams Consulting
Jenna Wilson set up the multi award winning Little Dreams Consulting 7 years ago, following ten years working in Childcare Law. She has trained with Sleep Sense™ and The Sleep Charity (UK) and has attended a multitude of courses with the NSPCC and The Lullaby Trust.
The little Dreams Consulting family is growing and is looking for franchisees across the UK to join their successful team of sleep experts. To find out more, pop them an email at firstname.lastname@example.org for a (no obligation) chat.