Sleep is an incredibly important part of every child's development, and a great way of promoting it is by creating a positive sleep environment. But what exactly is a positive sleep environment, and how can we go about creating one?
We've teamed up with Lucy, founder of early years consultancy NEST, to share some helpful tips and advice on creating a positive sleep environment in your own home.
So, what exactly is a positive sleep environment?
A sleep environment refers to the room your little one sleeps in, and their nighttime surroundings in general. As the name suggests, a positive sleep environment is one which actively promotes sleep through easy design choices.
By creating a positive sleep environment, you can help your little one to build a positive association with sleep, ensuring they finish off the day in as calm and relaxed manner and promoting a better quality of sleep.
How can I create a positive sleep environment for my little one?
Creating a positive sleep environment for your baby is easy, once you know how. It's all about building positive associations within their sleep space, ensuring their surroundings are as sleep-inducive as possible. Here are just a few ways you can create a positive sleep environment, starting with some basic decor suggestions.
1. Try to avoid bright colours
Babies are easily overstimulated, so when choosing paint for your little one's room it's a good idea to go for softer, more muted colours instead of bright, stimulating colours. This muted backdrop can be brightened up with feature decorations such as pictures and wall art.
We recommend Edward Bulmer's range of natural paint for your child's sleep space, which use plant-based and natural ingredients for a chemical-free finish.
2. Keep their room free of clutter
Try to ensure your little one's bedroom feels like a consistently safe and cosy space - for example, avoid hanging clothes on the outside of their wardrobe and be aware of introducing new things into their room which could cause strange shaped shadows. We know all too well that their imaginations can run wild!
3. Ensure they have a comfortable sleep space
When designing a sleep space for our baby, we put a lot of thought into the decoration and accessories, but their mattress is often overlooked. Most standard nursery mattresses are made from foam, which causes children to overheat easily and is full of harmful VOCs.
At Naturalmat Baby we handmake natural & organic baby and children's mattresses which are not only temperature regulating and comfortable - for a long night's sleep - but also 100% chemical-free. We also have specially-designed natural mattresses for moses baskets, cots, and travel cots.
4. Opt for softer lighting
It's better to use lamps to light their sleep space than to use the standard overhead light. This is because many overhead lampshades don't shade directly below, meaning the light might be shining directly into your little one's eyes. This can overwhelm their senses, making it difficult for them to go to sleep.
Instead, opt for softer lighting via lamps or string lights. This will create a warmer and more comfortable feel in the room, which in turn will help to signal to your little one that it's time to go to sleep.
5. Keep the room dark with the help of blackout blinds or curtains
This one is a simple yet effective parenting win, especially when the clocks are changing and when the days are longer. Using blackout window treatments will help to reinforce the idea of nighttime and daytime, making for a less tricky bedtime routine.
6. Avoid screens before bed
At NEST HQ we have a no-screen rule in the bedroom - that goes for both adults and little ones! Ideally, you want to completely avoid screens for an hour before bedtime, as the blue light they give off is stimulating and makes sleep more difficult.
7. Have a consistent bedtime routine
Perhaps most importantly of all, once you've found a bedtime routine that works, be as consistent as possible. Stick to your routine, keeping it as calm as possible and avoiding overstimulation. With time and patience, you'll find it gets easier.
NEST is an Early Years Consultancy supporting you and your family from pregnancy right through to when your little one starts school. With a team of highly qualified consultants, NEST can support you from packing a hospital bag and preparing for the arrival of your baby, to infant feeding, weaning, sleep, toilet training, managing emotions, and so much more - either as a 1:1 consultation or through one of our workshops.
With a passionate team who ensure that you feel heard, supported and empowered, we work alongside you to offer advice and support which works for you and your little one.