Is your baby scared of the dark? Does your baby have children’s sleep anxiety? Does your baby refuse to sleep in their room in the dark because of the monsters? Then your little one might need a night light. But are the effects of the baby night light suitable for your baby? You might even think keeping a regular baby’s night light in the room will help them sleep better.
Realistically, that might not be correct.
In a recent Journal of Pineal Research study, night lights can prevent your child from falling asleep or stop them from staying asleep.
But not all night lights are similar. Modern lights have been created to help support the increase of melatonin to ensure your baby stays asleep. Some lights can be customized to ensure that they brighten or dim as per the requirement.
Let us talk about night lights, their colours, and how they help your baby to sleep.
Does your baby need night light while sleeping?
There have been few studies that have suggested the positive benefits of using a baby’s night light in their room. However, there are contrary researches that focus more on their harm than good. As per medical research & paediatricians, while sleeping, infants should be refrained from exposure to bright lights.
Wondering why? As it may ruin their sleep cycle.
Some parents believe that babies can fall asleep even in any environment and light. However, at the 10-12-week mark, you may experience a change in your child’s sleeping pattern. It is this period when they start getting more aware of their surroundings and start recognizing shapes and faces. Bright baby sleeping lights at this time can stimulate the kids’ sleep.
What you must do?
Here is the process to put a baby to sleep in few seconds. Firstly, start by making your baby sleep in a dark room. This way, your infant gets the proper rest they need. In some cases, you can consider getting thicker blinds that reduce the entry of bright light into the nursery during day time. This ensures your baby gets a sound sleep.
Sometimes, parents might feel that their baby needs a night light. This may be due to the child waking up crying from their sleep or the parent’s anxiety about their child being alone. Researchers and pediatricians state that children do not understand the concept of fear until they turn 2.
This means most babies will be attuned to sleeping in the dark if the habit is made from infancy. However, research by the top institutes suggests that using a baby’s night light can disturb children’s sleep cycles. Not only that, using night lights can increase the frequency of their baby waking up at night.
Do babies like night lights?
According to research, babies sleep anywhere with or without lights. But children start evolving a sleep cycle at 10-12 weeks. Most babies prefer sleeping in a dark room as it means there is less stimulation surrounding your child. The calm, dark surroundings prepare the baby for good sleep. In some cases, you can train your child to get better sleep with a baby’s night light.
To do so, start putting on the night light before putting your child to bed. It will help create a habit for them to fall asleep when the night light is on. This exercise can help prepare your baby to sleep in any situation.
Related article: is your baby fighting sleep
When does a baby need a night light?
In most cases, babies sleep better in a dark, cozy room. However, many parents fear that their newborn may get afraid when the room is dark. It could be the worry of your baby getting scared, falling off the cot, or something going wrong.
But did you know fear only develops after the age of 2 in children? A night light can help calm those worried parents, especially when they want to go in for a night feed, diaper change, or just clean the room. Sometimes, a night light can benefit the parents when the baby is sick and needs medical attention.
Read more: baby sleeping position with stuffy nose
How can night lights affect babies sleep?
A baby’s night light can disturb the sleep cycle in both adults and babies. As adults, we have developed a proper circadian rhythm. When sight detects any light, our brain releases cortisol, the hormone that helps us stay alert and active. Again, when the sun goes down, without light, our brain releases melatonin – the sleep hormone.
But it is different for babies.
Babies cannot differentiate between night and day for the first three months post-birth. Their body does not produce cortisol or melatonin naturally. Instead, these hormones are received from breast milk. As your baby gets exposed to natural light or the dark, your baby will understand the difference between night and day.
Around four months, babies start producing melatonin, which ensures deep and longer sleep cycles at night. But it is essential to create a low stimulating environment for your child by dimming the lights, ensuring no exposure to blue lights, and using some sleep training tips.
Which is the best night light colour for a baby night light?
When choosing a night light colour for your baby, red or amber are the best for newborns or tiny babies. These colours do not have long wavelengths. This will not affect your child’s circadian rhythm. Amber and red night lights mimic the twilight sky for children, so that does not distract them when going to sleep.
Studies show that red night lights also lessen sleep inertia – the feeling of grogginess when you wake up. This means that your toddler will wake up feeling energized. When choosing a nightlight for a baby, find one that is small. Make sure that it is dim and does not overwhelm your baby’s room.
You should try and avoid colours like blue, white, and purple as they are highly stimulating for the eyes and will interfere with their sleep cycle.
These different colours of baby’s night lights will keep your baby asleep as you clean up the room or prepare for the next day. The dim lights will offer enough light so you can look around the room properly but also keep it dark enough so that it does not affect your baby.
Type of baby night light
You can choose from different types of baby night lights based on your requirements. You can pick amid simple dim night lights, projectors, or tailored baby sleeping lights. These include:
1. Soft and comforting baby night lights:
These are soft lights that are comforting for sleeping babies. Try two variants of soothing and comforting night lights in amber and red night light shades to reduce any green or blue lights. You can use these nursery lighting ideas a few hours before your baby goes to sleep to get them used to proper sleeping patterns.
2. Red Night Light Baby Room Projection:
These projection lamps are perfect to divert your baby’s attention, especially when going to sleep. The infant sleep light from these projectors is dim enough to give your baby undisturbed sleep. Today, the market is filled with different night lights for the nursery.
3. Interactive and customizable night lights:
If you want to keep your toddler engaged before they go to sleep, use interactive and customizable newborn night lights. These lights can be brightened or dimmed as per the person’s requirement. Customizable night lights are suitable for babies’ rooms as they can be adjusted to suit your child’s mood. You can brighten the light if they are happy and want to play. But, if the light makes them sleepy or cranky, it is best to dim the lights and let them have a peaceful sleep.
Reason to sleep with a night light
1. Improving kid’s sleep routine and pattern:
When you use baby sleeping lights, you are trying to implement a sleep pattern or routine for your child. Otherwise, it becomes difficult for parents to cope. With a light amber or red night light, you can slowly adjust your child to sleeping with a light on. However, let your child sleep in a dark room if comfortable. That way, your child’s sleep cycle gets regulated, and enough melatonin is produced so that they sleep peacefully through the night.
2. Reducing nighttime anxiety:
When you use a night light, you can reduce the anxiety that you may suffer as new parents. With diseases such as SIDS or SUDI, parents can feel apprehensive about leaving them alone at night in the dark. This is why a night light can help reduce the anxiety of new mothers. The toddler night light can be used for night feedings or diaper changes. These night lights for toddlers can also help reduce the stress on a child with a vivid imagination of monsters under the bed.
3. Making nighttime feedings and diaper changes easier:
Using a soft night light for a baby can help parents with feeding and diaper changes in the night. Who wants to roam in the dark looking for diapers or burping clothes? A dim night light will assist you see well and find things quickly. But make sure that the light you use is a dim one. A strong or bright light can impact your child’s sleep patterns.
Some Popular Baby Night Light Brands
Hatch Rest Baby Night Light
Little Hippo Mella
G Keni Nursery Night Light
More dig Night Light Projector
LOHAS Plug in Night Light
One Fire Night Light
DORESshop LED Night Light
1) Are night lights bad for babies and toddlers?
As per research conducted, young children should sleep in darkness as it helps produce melatonin, the sleep hormone. But if your child is afraid of the dark or if you are not sure about leaving your child alone, try using a dim red light or other baby sleep aids.
2. Should babies sleep with a night light?
There are multiple reasons to use a toddler night light, but most studies suggest they do not help as much. Some even recommend not using night lights as they reduce melatonin production, the hormone that helps people fall asleep.
3. Can I use a regular night light for babies?
Using a regular infant night light in your baby’s room can harm your baby’s health. It may impact their sleep schedule or reduce their sleep time. Try to use red or amber night lights for your baby to induce sleep. Using regular blue-toned lights will harm them more than help.
4. Should I leave a light on for my baby?
Letting your baby learn to sleep in the dark with the lights turned off is best. This can help your baby develop a proper sleep cycle and help form melatonin – the sleep hormone. But, if you feel anxious about leaving your baby in the dark, you can have a dim red or amber-coloured light switched on in the room.
5. Is it wrong for a child to sleep with a light on?
As per research by the University of Colorado, children, when exposed to light, can have a disrupted sleep cycle. This leads to a reduction in melatonin, which again reduces the amount of sleep your child gets. So, having a child with less sleep means they will be cranky and tired. If you feel that getting a dim light might help, try an amber or red one rather than the standard blues or greens.
6. Do red lights help babies sleep?
Red lights are known for their soothing nature and calming effect for any age. So, getting a dim red light for your child’s room is a perfect way to get them to build their sleep cycle. The red hew created by the light mimics that of the sunset. And our bodies are naturally attuned to sleep during the dark. So, a red light can help your baby sleep better.
We all know the excellent effects sleeping in the dark can have on babies. Majorly, it can create and maintain a healthy sleep cycle and ensure your child gets the best sleep.
But if you do feel anxious about them sleeping in the dark. Or if you have stubbed your toe enough times in their room due to the darkness. Then, it is time to get a toddler night light.
Again, more than getting a regular night light is required. You need to choose a red or amber one so that it does not affect your child’s sleeping pattern. With these two-colour variants, your child will be tuned to the evening dusk effect and sleep soundly.
So, get that night light if you want to reduce the stress on yourselves at night. Especially when getting up for a feed or a diaper change. And slowly and gradually, your baby will adjust to it and start sleeping soundly.