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How will a red light for sleep help? You may ask.
Children can start being afraid of the dark as early as 18 months old, although for some they won’t become scared until they’re much older. Every child is unique in their own perfect way.
This fear can add up to frequent night waking or even stop them from falling asleep in the first place, and I think you’ll all agree, this is horrible for the entire family!
One way to help reduce this fear is to add a night light to your child’s room and create a calm, safe space for them to sleep through the night.
But it doesn’t stop there, your child’s night light needs to have a red led light source. I know a lot of nursery and children’s night lights are blue and purple because these are thought to be calming colours, but in reality, it’s quite the opposite.
Katie from the Baby Sleep Company explains why – red is the only colour that does not have a negative effect on the secretion of Melatonin, the sleepy hormone. In fact, she recommends our Aloka Sleepy Lights to her clients because they have the option of a red light source.
Well we thought we’d look a little deeper into light colours at night and the effect they have on our children because let’s face it, no one wants a grumpy, sleep-deprived child (or even worse, a grumpy parent!)
Our bodies have an internal clock or circadian rhythm which exists from birth and tells us when it’s time to sleep. When it starts to get dark outside our bodies start to create Melatonin which helps to control sleep-wake cycles. It can also lower body temperatures and help to relax your muscles, which helps you to sleep.
Now a red light doesn’t improve your sleep as such, it just doesn’t interfere with the production of Melatonin. This means that your body can do what its designed to do and get sleepy when it turns dark, not only that but you will sleep longer through the night.
It’s worth noting that red lights aren’t just used to help with sleep, there have been thousands of medical studies published about red light therapy. Click here to read more about it.
White and blue lights, including lights that are emitted from TV screens, fluorescent lights and portable devices can delay the release of Melatonin and reset your body’s circadian rhythm. This means it will take longer to fall asleep, you’ll have less REM (dreaming) sleep and ultimately, you’ll wake up feeling sleepier.
The Harvard Medical School has a really good article about the dark side of blue light. You can read it here.
It's important to note that green light and white light sources also emit the same type of light waves and that even though your eyes are closed you can still recognise the colour of the light.
Now when you bring your beautiful new baby home from the hospital, you may decide to have a completely pitch black room, that’s totally up to you. It’s a good idea, however, to introduce a red night light soon after bubs turns 4 months. At this age, they can start to develop a fear of the dark when they wake in the night.
A red night light won’t interfere with their circadian rhythm and melatonin production and they will see it as a calming, soothing, familiar environment. The added bonus is, it will make those night time feeds and nappy changes a little easier.
So, the bottom line is, having a night light is perfect for night time feeds and to help scare away the monsters that sometimes raise their pesky little heads in the night, but make sure you chose one that has the option of a red light, so that bubs can get to sleep and sleep well.
After all, no one enjoys the morning after a disturbed night!
Have you noticed a difference in your child/babies sleeping pattern?
What colour light have you been using?
Want more sleep tips? See our blogs below