Basics Sleep

Should Newborn Daytime Naps Be In The Dark?

When your little prince or princess has a long daytime nap it feels like a real blessing.

Those valuable minutes or hours enable you to tackle that never-ending to-do list, or even get a little shut-eye yourself.

Given the importance of napping, you’ll no doubt be eager to do everything you can to help your baby to settle and have the best possible sleep their bassinet or crib.

You may know that babies should sleep in a dark room at night time, but what about during the day?

For optimal sleep it is recommended that you put your baby down in a dark room for day time naps, because this environment should help your little one fall asleep more easily and once down, stay asleep for longer.

Should Newborn Daytime Naps Be In The Dark?

As you’ve probably already discovered, newborns sleep a lot during the day! For the first few months, most young babies sleep for up to 16 hours per day.

Even when they reach toddler age daytime naps are still common, with most babies dropping the daytime nap anywhere between the ages of 3 and 5.

So with all this daytime sleep, it’s important to prep their environment to give them the best possible chance of having a long rest rather than fighting sleep.

And creating the ideal environment means that babies should nap in the dark if possible, with little to no daylight creeping into their room.

This is because your baby finds the dark comforting, because if we think about it, that’s what they were used to in the womb.

Newborns therefore find it a lot easier to settle down and fall asleep in a room that is dark.

So this means the darker you can make your baby’s room when sleeping, the better – and this applies to both daytime naps and night time.

For more information on prepping your child’s room for sleep, check out our Ultimate Guide To Baby & Toddler Sleep.

Mom and baby in dark room

Why Should Newborns Sleep In A Dark Room?

A dark room will also encourage your newborn to produce melatonin, a naturally-produced hormone that helps encourage sleep.

Melatonin is produced by our brains in response to darkness, and this is one of the most important reasons why babies should nap during the day in a dark room.

Another advantage is that it makes the environment boring for your little one, which reduces the urge to flight sleep and become overtired.

Most babies are not overly enthusiastic about being put to sleep, especially because they’d much rather explore the world around them or spend time with mom or dad.

So a room without any daylight will stop your baby from being able to see any distractions, especially fun ones like loveys, books or toys.

How Dark Should My Baby’s Room Be For A Daytime Nap?

Baby Lying on Bed

You might understandably be worried about your newborn being afraid of the dark.

This is a popular misconception among parents, because a fear of the dark doesn’t develop until a baby is old enough to have an imagination (if it develops at all), which is usually at around 2-3 years of age.

You might also be wondering exactly how dark your baby’s room should be during for a daytime nap.

The answer is very day, because this is the optimal environment for a newborn baby to sleep in.

While it’s difficult to quantify the exact level you should opt for, many sleep experts advise going for an 8 or 9 out of 10, which is virtually pitch black.

How To Darken You Baby’s Room?

A lot of people find that the bedrooms in their house naturally let light in when there’s daylight outside, which can be frustrating if you’re trying to create darkness for your baby’s nap.

When my daughter was first born her room was pretty light, so I ended up doing a lot of research into how I could make her room darker.

Here are some great ways to block out light in your child’s room:

  • Blackout blinds
  • Curtains lined with black out material
  • Place blackout window film on all windows (this is what I did and it worked a treat)
  • Place towels or blankets across the window

In Conclusion:

  • Newborn babies, older infants and toddlers should all sleep in a dark room during the day.
  • This is because a room without daylight will help your child produce melatonin and eliminate distractions, thereby leading to better and longer sleep.
  • The darker you can make your baby’s room for napping, the better.
  • There is no need to worry about your baby being afraid of the dark, because darkness is actually comforting and familiar to infants. If your child cries when you put them down it’s probably their way of telling you that they miss mom or dad, not because they are afraid of the environment.

Tori is mama to 3 year old Isabella and co-founder of Rockinbaby. She has a BSc in Psychology, is a certified yoga teacher and is a working mom. In her free time Tori loves cooking delicious foods and baked treats, entertaining and working out. Learn more about Tori here.

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