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Babies have an erratic sleeping cycle which consists of daytime naps and a nighttime slumber. It is often observed that the daytime naps are longer than the night sleep. Have you wondered why this happens? In this lies the answer to all the sleeping problems of a baby!
As per doctors’ research, it has been found that the two main problems affecting a baby’s sleep quality and duration are LIGHT and NOISE! Babies who get distracted by these two factors whether at home or from outside tend to have difficulties falling/staying asleep.
How LIGHT & NOISE Affect Your Baby’s Sleep
In their early years, babies are not able to distinguish between darkness and light. Scientifically speaking, darkness triggers melatonin, which is a very important hormone responsible for inducing sleep in humans. Experts suggest that light literally switches on a baby’s biological ‘go’ button (which means NO SLEEP!). It is therefore essential to make the distinction between days and nights extremely clear to your little one.
Likewise, for noise, until the time your baby is six weeks old, it has no sudden effect on his sleep. But when he starts noticing the environment, he can wake up with sudden noises like the doorbell or a phone ringing. While some babies can sleep in noise, some require an extremely silent room for sleeping.
So, how can you ensure your baby gets comfortable sleep? We need to help them build the association of darkness and peace with sleep. Basically, all we need to do is create minor changes around us to help the baby understand when it gets dark and quiet, it’s time to doze off!
How to Minimise The Effects of Light & Noise
During the infant stage, or when your baby is still a newborn, there is little effect of noise and light on your baby’s sleep. However, with passing months, your baby becomes more alert and can get distracted easily while sleeping. It becomes essential now to maintain a consistent noise and light level so that your baby gets adjusted to them comfortably. For your baby to sleep peacefully without getting up frequently, it is important to create a comfortable environment for him.
Follow these tips to minimise distractions for your baby and solve his nap-time problems both during the day and at night.
1. Dim the Lights for Bed-Time
When you start to prepare your baby for sleep, dim the lights to signal bedtime. The controlled light effect in the room will reduce stimulation in the little one. This will make him more settled and calm and he will start associating darkness with sleep
2. Close Curtains and Blinds for Daytime Nap
Use room darkening curtains made from natural fabrics (cotton, linen or silk) if your baby wakes up with the slightest of sunlight entering the room. For daytime nap, close the curtains and the blinds to create a darkened effect in the room. Extra light can stimulate the baby’s senses and make him reluctant to sleep
3. Don’t Do This When Baby Wakes Up At Night
If your baby wakes up at night, do not switch on the room lights or carry him/her to a brightly lit room. Instead, try to soothe him in the dark room itself. The shift from dark to light gives an indication wake up
4. Do This to Block Outside Noise
It is important to maintain a minimum noise level while your baby sleeps in the room. Early morning sunlight, the noise of household chores and sound of traffic can disturb baby’s sleep. In order to ensure that he gets good sleep, keep your windows closed and use thicker curtains to shield from the noise and light. While you put your baby to sleep, try and block any sudden noise from outside by keeping the doors and windows closed. You can even hang blankets or heavier curtains on the windows and use a draft blocker for doors to prevent any loud noise from entering the room, especially if you live in the noisy neighbourhood.
5. Play Soft and Soothing Music
Another means to block sudden noises is by maintaining a constant, low-noise level in the room. Play soft and soothing music while tucking your baby to sleep. If you do not want to make it a habit, turn the music on and off whenever you feel like
Understanding these basics of noise and light effects on your baby’s sleep will give you an insight into dealing with his nap-time problems better. You can now help your little one to take a sound nap without any disturbances so that he wakes up refreshed and happy!