Do Children Sleep Better With a Night Light?


Parents of toddlers often wonder what will be better for their child. Some of the dilemmas concern mainly room darkening and noise. Does it have to be dark and quiet when the child is sleeping? 

So, do children sleep better with night lights or in complete darkness? When the child is young, it is good to get them to sleep in the dark. However, as the child grows up, he or she begins to fear the darkness because of their imagination. Then it’s good to invest in night lamps.

There are many myths about the conditions under which children should fall asleep for their night to be peaceful.

There is just as much doubt about whether to have a night lamp in the nursery room. Maybe it would be better to get him/her used to sleep in the dark. 

What rules should be applied to children to make the process of falling asleep pleasant for them and their parents? 

Sleeping in the dark

Circadian rhythm – An adult’s round-the-clock rhythm (the feeling of when it is day and when it is night) is mainly being regulated by a hormone called melatonin

Melatonin is produced in our bodies under the influence of darkness. 

Exposure to light, both sunny and artificial, disturbs its flow.

This is mostly because of the blue light, which is emitted through the screens of phones, laptops, and TVs. 

However, newborns do not produce melatonin. Only in the first years of life, its level in their bodies starts to reach the level characteristic for an adult. 

Therefore, during the first weeks of life, there is no need to darken the room where children sleep. 

Toddlers, regardless of the time of day, are sleepy and sleep around the clock only with breaks for feeding or changing diapers.

They usually don’t distinguish between day and night yet, nor do they have more extended standby periods than 40-50 minutes.

It is the lack of darkness in the sleeping area during the day and the frequent exposure of the child to the light of the day that allows the start of a circadian rhythm in the child. 

At 3-4 weeks of age, children start to differentiate night and day in their own way. 

They continue to eat often at night, but after feeding, they go to sleep, and they do not stay up. 

During the day, they wake up more often, they stay up longer, and do not always fall asleep after feeding. 

It is also the time when it becomes difficult for children to fall asleep, it becomes harder and harder for them to calm down, and nap time can be shortened from 20 to 45 minutes. 

It’s an excellent time to start blackening the nursery room where the baby sleeps. 

Then it will be much easier for the babies to fall asleep, and their naps may get longer. 

The habit of darkening the room for nap time and early summer mornings, when the sun rises even at 4 am, is worth maintaining throughout childhood. 

Usually, after 2-3 years of age, children are not so sensitive to light, and not covering the windows in the morning will not wake them up too early.

It is also important to remember that it is not possible to make your child dependent on sleeping in a dark room or on training him to fall asleep in the light. 

Some children will fall asleep regardless of the darkness, but this is not a learned skill, their nature and temperament determine it.

It is worth remembering that each child is different, and it is the parent’s task to follow his or her needs, regardless of the opinions of the environment. 

If a child sleeps better when there is a night light in the room, the whole family sleeps better, and this affects their mood and well-being.

Proper light management

Proper light management is crucial for children who have trouble sleeping. 

Appropriate, however, means compatible with nature.

A newborn baby doesn’t distinguish between day and night yet – they sleep as long at noon as they do at 11 p.m. 

Interestingly, breastfeeding helps the development of a proper round-the-clock rhythm, as female food contains different amounts of melatonin depending on the time of day. 

Through the milk composition, the mother informs the baby if it is: daytime, time for a short nap, or it’s the middle of the night.

It is worth knowing, however, that the circadian rhythm is not only influenced by physiological processes, but also by environmental stimuli sent by parents, which may make it easier or more difficult for babies to distinguish between night and day.

It is more important for a child to be able to sleep at hours that are consistent with his natural circadian rhythm.

Unfortunately, in this case, the progress of civilization is not our ally – including bright lights when it should be dark and darkening rooms when the sun is high above the horizon, we make quite a fuss in the brains of the little ones.

What can happen if we put the baby to sleep in a dark room during the day? 

Studies indicate that sleeping in a darkened room during the day results in a shift in the circadian rhythm – if you cover the window during your morning nap, the release of melatonin and the moment of evening sleep can be delayed by up to 40 minutes. 

In practice, it looks like this: the child is already whining because it is tired, the need for sleep reaches its maximum, but it can’t fall asleep calmly, because it hasn’t produced enough melatonin. 

As I mentioned, our internal clock is sensitive not only to light but also to signals coming from the environment – activity imposed by parents, sounds, movement, etc. 

A way for child’s peaceful sleep

Some babies are unable to progress to the sleeping phase on their own and need parental help to sleep, for example, after 20 minutes of nap time. 

What’s more, it has been proven that the fewer time babies spend during the day in bright sunlight, the longer they fall asleep, and the more times they wake up during the night. 

That’s why they should make maximum use of natural daylight, instead of blocking it for every nap. 

By the way, this is a real argument for taking daily walks with the little one, especially in the morning. 

It’s not just about the fresh air but to use the natural brightness of the light outside. 

For this reason, a walk lasting half an hour in the morning is more valuable for the child’s peaceful sleep than a two-hour walk just before nightfall.

If you are wondering if the conditions in which an infant sleeps are important because it is sleeping with its eyes closed, then know that specialized cells in the retina of the eye receive light stimuli and transmit them to the brain even when the eyelids are closed. 

How to apply this knowledge in practice? During daytime naps, do not cover the windows as long as the sun doesn’t hit the child in the eyes.

If your toddler has always been sleeping in a darkened nursery room and you don’t think you can do anything about it, you can: 

  • stop black outing it (many parents are positively surprised that it does make a difference to their child) 
  • gradually black out the room every day to a lesser extent.
  • do nothing if your toddler still sleeps fantastic at night.
  • start by using night lamps. 

I’ve written a complete review of the best night lamps according to parents here 

Spend as much time as possible during the day outdoors, especially in the mornings.

Think about the arrangement of windows in your home – don’t your curtains block the access of natural light to the room? 

During the day, are all the blinds in the child’s room raised? 

Give yourself time to evaluate the results – if you used to go to shift work or travel across the ocean, you know it takes from a few days to even two weeks for the internal clock to adjust. 

Night lights for nursery – for a good night’s sleep

How to choose the best one? Children’s night lights usually resemble toys, so the kids love them. However, their main task is to ensure good sleep. 

So, what should parents do when choosing a bedside lamp for the nursery room? 

Night lights for nursery – to not be scared of the dark.

Many small children are afraid of the dark. For this reason, they have trouble falling asleep and sleeping well. 

It’s a big worry for parents that should never be underestimated. 

To ensure that your child has a good night’s sleep, it is worth investing in a unique bedside lamp for children. 

Night lights for children are usually very colorful and have little weight. 

They often have the form of children’s favorite fairy tale heroes. You could even say that they are more like toys than typical lamps. 

They can certainly make a child’s room look more attractive.

Currently, the offer is extensive, so it is worth looking for a lamp that is not only visually attractive but also provides a peaceful sleep for your child. 

Night lights for nursery with projector

Although the choice of a bedside lamp for children does not seem to be a complicated one, it is worthwhile to think carefully about this purchase. 

There are many models currently on offer. 

Night lights for children with a projector are trendy. Many toddlers dream of such equipment because it has a function of displaying various images on the ceiling, e.g., stars. 

Parents, on the other hand, are often fans of LED lights, which do not heat up during long periods of use. 

Such equipment usually serves a very long time. 

Star projector (click to check current price on Amazon)

It is also worth mentioning models with motion sensors. It is the right solution for children who often wake up at night. 

Night lights for children facilitate a peaceful and good sleep. 

Kids lamps – what power? 

When choosing, pay attention to the type of equipment power supply. 

  • Battery-powered night lights for children – It is a good option; however, it is essential to remember the appropriate protection so that the child cannot take out the batteries by himself. 

It is worth choosing a model that has the most comfortable power supply for us and will be entirely safe for the child. 

Kids night lights – Ikea

The lamps from Ikea are trendy among parents and children. As the manufacturer says on his website, children not only feel but are simply more secure thanks to the bedside lamps. 

"All our children's lamps are rigorously tested and are safe for little fingers."

The advantage of Ikea night lights for children is their attractive price. We can buy beautiful models there for a low price.

Night lights for children – Amazon

The Amazon website offers an extensive range of night lamps for nursery. 

You will find here both cheap lamps and more expensive equipment for the best brands. 

We can also get special occasions here. It often happens that used lamps get sold at low prices.

Before you go, check this out! I have lots more on the site to show you. You’ve only seen one page. Check out these posts which are awesome.

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