We want your baby’s room to be DARK at night. In fact, we want it so dark that you can’t see your hand in front of your face.
Babies are just like us; they sleep best in the dark. Why? Light is stimulating to your baby’s brain, while darkness promotes sleep. That means light is perfect for awake time, but darkness is best for nights and naps.
Even though darkness is best for sleep, you don’t have to lock yourself in the house every time your baby needs to nap. Just know that when you’re out and about, baby naps may not be perfect. And that’s okay! My goal is for you to have a great little napper but ALSO the flexibility to thrive.
If your current sleeping setup is working for your family – it’s not super dark, and your baby is sleeping well – there is no need to change anything. But if you are dealing with short naps or early morning wakings, having a dark room can make a huge difference for sleep.
If you have concerns or questions about napping, dark rooms, and how this plays out at daycare, look at Daycare & Baby Sleep.
If you have a great sleeper who is sleeping through the night and can nap for over an hour, try adding some light into the room gradually. Think light that seeps under the door from the hallway or a bit of sunlight shining in around the curtains. If your baby or toddler continues napping well, you can try adding a bit more light. If short naps or early mornings creep in, you might need a dark room for a little longer.
But please know, you don’t HAVE to add in any light for sleep. Light truly stimulates the brain, and there’s no need to mess up a good thing if you don’t want to!
Let me tell you about the hand test. Close the curtains and blinds in the room, turn off the lights, and close the door. You want the room to be just like you have it when your baby sleeps. Give yourself a moment or two to let your eyes adjust. Next, put your hand in front of your face. Can you see your hand? If you can, your baby’s room may not be dark enough, and this could be the reason your baby is taking short naps or waking early in the morning.
There are several ways to make your baby’s room dark enough to pass the hand test. I’ve got a great video for you where I show you several products you can use to do this.