The place that we always start when working on babies’ sleep is with their sleep environment; the room that they are sleeping in, or their sleep space if they are still sleeping in your bedroom. Parents often jump straight to the self-settling and classic sleep training steps before they’ve covered the basics. And, there is usually one or two things we can instantly adjust in the sleep environment that's going to hugely improve your little one’s sleep. Here are five things you can look at along with our favourite baby sleep products, all of which you can shop on The Sleep Chief’s Amazon Storefront.
1) Darkness 🌒
Light is the most important factor affecting sleep. It plays a central role in regulating our circadian rhythm, the body’s internal clock that signals when to be alert and when to rest. Melatonin, the sleepy hormone that our body produces is naturally aided by darkness. So, it’s really important to create a pitch black environment for your baby’s bedroom. Particularly in the summer months when it can remain light late into the evening and become light very early in the morning. Decent blackout blinds or curtains are the greatest investment you can make into your little one’s sleep.
Our favourite instant-fix products:
Cut-to-size Velcro blinds 2) Room temperature
The ideal temperature for your baby’s bedroom is between 16-20 degrees Celsius. ♨️ Keep an eye on this by using a room thermometer (or the temperature gauge on your baby monitor if it has one) and adjust your baby’s layers and sleeping bag tog accordingly if the room is warmer or cooler.
Expert tip: if you have the Gro egg thermometer, hide it at night. It kicks out too much light! Our favourite products:
3) Sleeping bag
Other than room temperature, this is your best tool for keeping your baby’s temperature regulated throughout the night when (a lot of the time) they are moving around lots. For babies under four months, a swaddle sleeping bag is my go-to every time for recreating that snug, tucked-up environment that they are used to from being inside the womb 🥰 Our favourite products:
4) White noise
Something like 80% of newborns sleep better with white noise. Or, if we’re getting really specific - try pink or brown noise. All of these are excellent at masking external noises (a sibling in the house, a dog, showering in the bathroom next to them, etc.) and creating a calm, soothing environment. The key thing if you’re using white noise is have it playing continuously, rather than a sleep aid toy that comes off after 20 minutes and can therefore disrupt your baby’s sleep. Our favourite products:
5) Night light💡
We want our baby’s sleep environment to be pitch black for sleep but invariably you’re going to need some light for their “winding down” or bedtime routine period and for any night feeds that need doing overnight. Having a little nightlight that you can easily pop on and off is really useful and means you can ideally avoid using your phone torch as a light! 😱 Definitely one to avoid so as not to disrupt sleep too much. Avoiding bright, electronic light is key and if you can find a low level amber or red night light, these are the best for not disrupting sleep. Our favourite products:
LED egg touch night light Once you’ve got your baby’s sleep environment all-singing, all-dancing and totally optimised for sleep it’s going to give you that extra piece of confidence that they are: -not waking due to the room being too light or dark -not waking due to them being too cold or hot -not waking because of external noises, etc. All of these five things are fairly quick and easy to address if you need to and can make a huge difference to your baby sleeping well 😴