The Room Darkening Debate

One of the concerns that has come up over the past few years that relates to baby sleep has to do with whether or not you should darken your baby’s room at night. The fact of the matter is that both darkening and not darkening have their good points and bad points. On top of that, what works for one baby won’t necessarily work for another baby. Ultimately, you’ve got to decide for yourself what is best and what works for your own baby.

Some babies are much more able to sleep when their room is completely dark. This is the same, incidentally, as many adults. Darkening your baby’s room is relatively simple. You may need to add some room-darkening shades, of course, depending on where you live and whether or not a lot of light tends to get into your baby’s room at night.

Other babies do much better with some light in their room. A nightlight, for example, is often enough for some babies to feel more secure and to rest more easily. The light gives them just enough comfort and security to be able to rest effectively.

If you’re not sure how your baby would prefer it, you might try darkening your baby’s room for a week or so, and make a record of how long she sleeps at a time, as well as how long it takes her to go to sleep. The next week, put in a night light and turn it on at night. Record, again, how long she sleeps and how long it takes to fall asleep. If she sleeps better in one situation than the other, stick with the one that works.

Some experts do advice against using room-darkening shades for naptime. You want a little bit different environment during daytime naps than at night, because you need to be able to signal to baby that nighttime is the time for deeper, prolonged sleep patterns.