Should I have a night light in my child's room?
We are so thrilled to have guest Blogger and "Baby Whisperer" Katie Forsythe write about her views on Night Lights.
Check out our sleepy lights HERE
As a Certified Child Sleep consultant, a question I often get asked is “should I have a night light in the room?” The answer is not just a simple yes or no, it is influenced by a couple of factors, the main one being the child’s age.
I generally advise that children don’t need a night lights until about two or three years of age as that is when cognitive development has advanced to the point where they understand fear and are able to imagine monsters and unknown scaries hiding in their room in the dark! Until that happens, your toddler is physiologically better off sleeping in a dark room. That said, when an infant requires multiple feeds overnight it can be useful for the parents to have a very low night light in the room to save them stumbling around in the dark. Switching on brighter overhead lights in other rooms is more likely to interfere with melatonin (our sleepy hormone) production and could make it more difficult for parents to get back to sleep once baby is down again.
Melatonin is the hormone that regulates our body clock rhythms, essentially it is responsible for telling the brain when it is night and when it is day. Melatonin is produced in the pineal gland within the brain and the production of the hormone is stimulated by darkness and inhibited by light. Photosensitive cells in the retina detect light and set off a chain reaction of nerves ending in the pineal gland being notified that it is light. When humans are exposed to artificial light when it is naturally dark their melatonin secretion is suppressed which means their sleeping cycles are likely to be disrupted.
But not all night lights were created equal! The most important thing to consider when looking at night lights for your child this; colour. The colour of the light will have a dramatic influence on how much the secretion of melatonin is affected. It has been well established through scientific research that blue light is the most melatonin suppressive (blue light, interestingly, is the type of light emitted by televisions, computer screens, tablets and smartphones). In contrast to this, red light has been shown to have the least effect on melatonin secretion and is therefore why I recommend people buy a nightlight that is either red, orange or pink.
This is the main reason why I LOVE the Sleepy Light range – parents have the option to choose the light’s colour and can therefore stick to the range of hues that will have the least effect on their child’s sleep. The ‘dimming’ function is fantastic as well because it means that the room is not bathed in light. Other features that really impressed me were the fact that the LED lights generate very little heat and that the whole light is made of low weight and shatterproof material thus making it safe for curious little hands.
Katie Forsythe is the owner of The Baby Sleep Company Brisbane’s leading baby whisperers. She is a Certified Child Sleep Consultant and is the Regional Director (Asia Pacific) of the Association of Professional Sleep Consultants. When she’s not helping families overcome their nocturnal dramas she enjoys spending time with her three beautiful children (who all obviously sleep like proverbial babies). You can follow The Baby Sleep Company on Facebook.
Thank you so much Katie for your insightful review on the benefits of Night Lights.
Thanks for reading,